How Good Is Your Balance

 Balance is an important aspect of health and fitness.  Unfortunately many of us take our balance for granted.  To test how good your balance is, position yourself close to a sturdy table or wall.  This way if you lose your balance you will have something to grab onto. Now, attempt to stand on one leg for 30 seconds and then repeat on the other leg.  If you are able to balance on each leg for 30 seconds your balance is good.  However, if you are unable to balance for 30 seconds you may need to incorporate some balance exercises into your fitness routine.  

An example of an exercise that you can do to improve your balance is the tandem stance.  In tandem stance, you stand heel to toe, like a tight rope artist.  This position narrows your base of support and thereby challenges your balance.  The leg that is positioned behind the front leg is the leg that will be working hardest to maintain your balance.  Make sure to stand "tall"  through this leg and draw up through your deep core.  

If you are able to balance for 30 seconds in tandem stance then you could challenge your balance further by turning your head from side to side for 10 repititions. Note you may need to stop in the center position to regroup your balance before turning your head toward the other side.   

Finally, if you would like to challenge your balance even further, you could close your eyes and attempt to hold your balance in tandem stance for 30 seconds.  Always remember to have something sturdy close by to grab onto if you should lose your balance.  Of course open your eyes if you begin to lose your balance.  

Remember that in these tandem stance exercises you will need to switch which leg is in the rear.  By switching the leg position you will work your strength and balance symmetrically.  You may discover that your balance is better with one leg in back than the other.

The finally thought is do not take your balance for granted - play around with it.  You could even try to brush your teeth while standing one one leg.  Have fun with it!