Performing balance exercises can help a person maintain or increase their coordination and strength. There are various types of balance exercises to suit the needs of people of different ages and abilities.
Balance exercises may help a person improve their stability, mobility, endurance, and more.
This article discusses the different types of balance exercises for different groups of people, the benefits of balance exercises, and more.
There are several broad categories of exercises, which
- Strength: Examples include lifting weights and resistance training.
- Flexibility: Stretching and yoga can help improve flexibility.
- Endurance: People can build endurance through cardiovascular exercises, such as walking, running, and biking.
- Balance: People can perform balance exercises while walking, standing, or doing other activities
People often focus on strength, endurance, and flexibility training, but all four types are important for a person’s overall health and well-being.
Balance exercises can help a person in a few different ways.
- reaction time
- general quality of life
Additionally, a person needs to focus on improving their core strength to improve balance, which can benefit sports and other physical activities.
A person should talk with a doctor about which exercises are best for them and take safety precautions while undertaking any balance exercises.
As with other types of fitness, a person can choose from a range of balance exercises. However, they all typically focus on improving a person’s core and lower body strength.
As with any exercise, a person should talk with a doctor about their overall health and fitness goals. The doctor may be able to provide guidance on exercises to include or avoid based on the individual’s overall health.
Anyone new to this type of exercise should start with a simple routine and modify the exercises as necessary. As they build more confidence and strength, they can increase the difficulty, length, and frequency of their sessions.
For older adults, the following balance exercises can help prevent falls and improve body equilibrium.
These exercises are beginner-friendly, but people at more advanced levels can also benefit from them.
To perform the tightrope walk, a person should follow these steps:
- Place a piece of string or ribbon on the floor.
- Hold the arms out to the sides.
- Walk along the string, placing the feet directly on it.
- Walk at least 15 steps.
- Repeat the exercise as desired.
The flamingo stand involves standing on one foot for a short duration.
It involves this series of movements:
- Stand up straight, close to a wall, chair, or another sturdy object.
- Shift the weight onto the right foot and lift the left foot off the floor, bending the knee to bring the heel close to the buttock.
- If necessary, place the right hand on the wall or chair for support.
- To make the exercise more challenging, reach for the left foot with the left hand.
- Hold the foot for up to 15 seconds.
- Place the left foot back on the ground and repeat with the right foot.
Rock the boat
For this balance exercise, a person will need to follow these steps:
- Stand with the feet hip-width apart, pressing the weight evenly and firmly onto both feet.
- Place all the weight into the right foot and lift the left foot off the floor, holding it to the front or side of the body.
- Hold this position for up to 30 seconds.
- Slowly lower the foot and repeat on the other side.
- Repeat 5–10 times.
Children can benefit from balance exercises, too.
In addition to improving balance, these exercises can be a good way to help children release some extra energy and engage them in fitness activities.
The following activities should help engage younger children while also improving their balance.
Bean bag exercise
The bean bag exercise can double as a game for children to play.
It involves these steps:
- Place a bean bag or similar lightweight item on the head.
- Holding the head up straight, walk forward in a straight line, being careful not to let the bean bag drop.
- For an added challenge, walk backward, zig-zag, or move to the side.
They can do it as follows:
- Place a length of string or a similarly thin object on the ground.
- Lift the arms out to the sides until they are parallel with the floor.
- Place the left foot down on the string.
- Place the right foot so that the right heel touches the end of the left foot’s toes.
- Walk forward, following the line and concentrating on ensuring that the heel touches the toe with each step.
Musical statues involves a lot of movement and dancing in addition to balancing, so it can be fun for kids.
An adult can run the activity as follows:
- Start playing music and have the children dance and move around.
- Stop the music and have the children freeze in place.
- The facilitator should encourage the children to freeze in awkward positions that require them to maintain balance.
Balance plays an important role in sports.
When an athlete has good balance, they can improve their coordination, ease of movement, and stability when participating in their chosen sport.
Banded toe taps
Banded toe taps require a fitness band to complete. However, people can modify the exercise by skipping the bands if necessary.
A person should follow these steps:
- Place an exercise band around the lower thighs, above the knees.
- Move into a quarter squat position on a single leg.
- Engaging the core and hip muscles, tap the other leg to the side, behind the body, and then straight out in front.
- Aim for 10–20 repetitions on each leg.
Pallof press with rotation
To do the Pallof press with rotation, a person will need access to a cable machine, which will be present in many training gyms.
The exercise involves these moves:
- Stand up straight with the side to the cable machine.
- Use both hands to take the handle and step an arm’s length away from the tower to create tension in the cable.
- Press the cable away from the chest, keeping the core tight and engaged.
- Turn the body away from the pulley, and then keep the arms extended while returning to the starting position.
- Bring the hands back toward the chest.
- Aim for 10–20 repetitions.
- Repeat on the other side.
Single leg cross-body punches
A person will need two dumbbells or heavy objects for this exercise.
They should follow these steps:
- Hold two dumbbells at chest height.
- Place the weight onto one foot and move into a quarter-squat.
- With the legs in place, punch the weights across the body, one at a time.
- Aim to do 1–3 sets of about 10–20 repetitions.
Parkinson’s disease is a neurological condition that causes uncontrolled shaking and movement. It can also affect a person’s balance and coordination.
Chair leg raises
Chair leg raises target the legs and core in a way that allows a person with Parkinson’s to stay safely seated.
A person will need to perform this series of movements:
- Sit in a chair, keeping the spine straight and both feet under the knees.
- Slowly straighten one leg.
- Hold the leg straight for a few seconds before returning to the starting position.
- Repeat on the other side.
- Do up to 3 sets of 10–20 repetitions.
- To make the exercise more challenging, wear light ankle weights.
People can perform side-stepping exercises as follows:
- Begin in a standing position.
- Step sideways to one side of the room, lifting the knees as high as possible as though stepping over something.
- Repeat for 10 steps or until reaching the side of the room.
- Switch sides and repeat the exercise, returning to the starting side of the room.
Stability balls not only provide balance training but also allow a person to work the core and trunk in almost every exercise.
Plank with elbows
A stability ball adds an extra challenge to the plank pose.
To do a plank with elbows on a stability ball, a person will need to follow these steps:
- Get into a plank position with the toes or knees on the floor and the elbows and forearms on the ball.
- Activate the core to keep the back flat and the buttocks down while keeping the shoulders and hips square.
- Hold this position.
- For an added challenge, make small circles with the ball while maintaining good form.
Partner ball balance
This dynamic balance exercise requires two people, a balance ball, and a medicine ball.
Here are the steps to follow:
- Stand on one leg, holding a medicine ball, and find balance.
- The partner should then throw a stability ball toward them.
- While maintaining balance, the person should use the medicine ball to bounce the stability ball back at their partner.
- Repeat 10–20 times.
Balance exercises can help improve balance, increase coordination, and prevent falls.
They can play an important role in everyone’s fitness routine.
The wide variety of balance exercises means that it should be straightforward for a person to incorporate this training into their regular fitness program.