Balance is a key part of your bodys equilibrium. by Lady Emma Lyon-Wilson BA, BSc (Phys)
Without a good level of stability, otherwise known as proprioception, your body is at greater risk of injury. Improving your balance is improving the foundations of injury free exercise as well as activities of day to day life. Just walking requires balance as every step requires you to alternate your weight from one leg to the other in a forward motion – at approximately 1700 steps per mile. Improving your balance is easy to do and hugely rewarding.
Here is a test to see how good your balance is. All you need is a flat surface, running shoes and a stop watch.
With your trainers on, your right leg standing straight, knee ever so slightly bent and your left knee about 90 degrees bent from the floor, start your stop watch. If you get up to 60 seconds without your foot or knee twitching or either arms or shoulders flinching to counter balance you then you have done well. Now change legs and test the other side.
Next take your shoes off and retest – are the results different?
Any challenge to your balance will help to improve it. You can simply stand on one leg – when you are cleaning your teeth, boiling the kettle, talking on the phone. You can then make this harder by doing slow controlled knee dips maintaining good balance. Or stand on a pillow. Or even shut your eyes, but make sure you are clear of any dangerous items or sharp corners!
If you do this consistently and retest your baseline balance every few weeks you will notice a definite improvement in your balance and will be improving your chances of injury free exercise.