February 26, 2024

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Exercises to help improve your balance

Strength training is an effective way to combat a decline in your balance and help add years to your life.

It helps maintain and build muscle mass, reduce the risk of osteoporosis, and helps improve cognitive function so that you can have better control over your body.

Here are five exercises I do every day for better balance:

1. Single-leg deadlift

This is one of my favorite exercises because it targets the stabilizing muscles in your ankles, knees and hips. It also strengthens your glutes and core, which is key for improving balance.

Shift all your weight to your right leg and keep a soft bend in your right knee as you hinge at your hips. Your upper body will come forward as your left leg lifts behind you.

Photo: Stephanie Mellinger

Steps:

  1. Stand with your shoulders back and your navel pulled in toward your spine. Keep your upper back and core engaged.
  2. Shift all your weight to your right leg and keep a soft bend in your right knee as you hinge at your hips. Your upper body will come forward as your left leg lifts behind you.
  3. Make sure to keep your hips even — don’t open your body toward your left as you move.
  4. Squeeze your right glute as you bring your body back to an upright position.
  5. Do eight to 10 reps on your right leg, then repeat on your left.

2. Single leg sit-to-stand

This is another great move to strengthen your ankles and knees, and your quads as well.

Slowly sit down on the chair, doing your best to avoid a “plop” into the seat. Your left leg should hover just above the ground when you’re sitting, and your right foot should be on the floor.

Photo: Stephanie Mellinger

Push down through your right foot and return to a standing position.

Photo: Stephanie Mellinger

Steps:

  1. Stand in front of a chair as if you’re about to sit on the edge.
  2. Shift your weight to your right leg. Your left leg should be hovering just above the ground.
  3. Slowly sit down on the chair, doing your best to avoid a “plop” into the seat. Your left leg should hover just above the ground when you’re sitting, and your right foot should be on the floor.
  4. Push down through your right foot and return to a standing position.
  5. Do eight to 10 reps on your right leg, then repeat on your left.

3. Plank

Poor balance is often related to a lack of core strength, and planks are an effective way to improve that.

With your body facing the ground, hold your body up while on your forearms and your toes.

Photo: Stephanie Mellinger

Modified plank: Keep your knees touching the floor. (It should be slightly bent with your

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