Fitness instructor Katie Austin previously told Well+Good, “Having balance is so important—not just in fitness, but in our everyday lives. “Balance is a huge aspect of any of our movements—even when we stand on our own two feet, we’re balancing whether we’re aware of it or not.”
If you’re struggling to balance in 2022, this list is for you! For a more fit, steady 2023, read on to discover our favorite balance tips from last year.
6 Best Balance Tips We’ve Learned in 2022
1. How to check your balance in 30 seconds
To get a clear idea of where your balance level currently stands, try this simple, 30-second balance check. While standing on one leg, close your eyes, cross your arms over your chest and try to stay in this position as long as possible.
If you can last the full 30 seconds, congratulations! Certified personal trainer Justin Augustine says it suggests a nice balance. If you last longer than 15 seconds, your balance is considered above average and anything below 10 seconds is indicated as below average. If you belong to the latter category, fear not: incorporating balancing exercises into your workout regimen can improve your results over time.
2. Good balance starts at your toes
When most of us think of “good balance,” we think of it starting through our torso and down to our head. But personal trainers say the key to great balance lies in our feet. Our feet and ankles provide stability for the rest of our body; Without a solid foundation, our balance suffers.
Foot and ankle exercises such as toe curls and heel raises can both strengthen and stretch, providing a solid platform for the rest of our body. Investing in the right footwear can also make a difference in maintaining proper balance and posture. Certified personal trainer Stephanie Thomas recommends sneakers with Velcro straps, firm soles, and wide tops that allow your feet to stretch and grip the ground as you walk.
3. To improve your balance, try walking backwards
A 2022 viral TikTok trend has presented us with the benefits of walking backwards. Walking slowly in reverse on a treadmill challenges our coordination, activating our often underused hamstring and shin muscles. The focus required to take each backward step helps improve our mind-body connection as well.
Another reason to try walking backwards: It’s good cardio.
“[Walking backwards is] An effective way to develop your cardiovascular system, without the impact and strain associated with traditional activities that require you to move quickly,” personal trainer Steve Burden previously told Well+Good. “It also offers a way to fit cardio into shorter sessions, as making your heart work harder means you don’t have to perform as long of an activity to achieve the same results.”
4. Stretches which improve balance
There is a strong relationship between flexibility and balance. Limited flexibility (the ability for your muscles and their supporting connective tissue to move through their full range of motion) can wreak havoc on our coordination: if our muscles and tendons are unable to stretch and compensate for uneven terrain, there’s an increased chance of falling. and hurting themselves.
“When muscles and tendons aren’t able to move freely and evenly, it’s hard to do everything—including balance,” physical therapist Emily Gustin, DPT, previously told Well + Good.
Fortunately, regular stretching can help improve our flexibility over time. Dr. Gustin recommends using this 30-second stretching routine daily for increased flexibility.
5. How to hug
Wobbling is a sign that our body is struggling to maintain a solid position and is being thoroughly challenged by it. Balance can only be improved with practice, and wobble is a natural part of it. The simple saying “magic happens outside your comfort zone” can be applied to improving your balance: a slight wobble can be a positive sign that your body is working to adapt to the new position.
“Balance is correction,” East River Pilates instructor Brian Spencer previously told Well+Good. “It never actually wobbles. It’s always about being like, how do I correct myself when I get a little off?”
Try it for yourself in this 12-minute Pilates workout:
6. The main reason your balance isn’t improving
If you find yourself struggling to stand on one leg even after hitting the gym several times a week, take a look at your workout routine, says Austin.
An underdeveloped core and unbalanced muscle development can cause problems for your coordination and balance, so try to incorporate more full-body strength exercises into your regimen. “Our balance comes from our core,” Austin previously told Well+Good. “Your core includes the central part of your body, including your pelvis, lower back, hips, and abdomen. When we train our core muscles, they help other muscles work in coordination and harmony, leading to better balance and stability. goes.”
A lack of consistency in balance training can also cause you to become unsteady, says Austin. Balance exercises should be a regular part of your workout routine, not something you do once in a blue moon.
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