Work Your Feet and Ankles and Improve Your Balance!

Balance is achieved through your vision, inner ear (vestibular system) and proprioception (your joints being able to sense their position). 

As we get older, it is a must that we incorporate balance training into our workouts. 

The first step is to become more aware of your feet - your feet will not lie to you!

Stand up and feel your feet create deep footprints into the floor - almost like your are putting roots down.  Then begin to sway your weight back just until your toes begin to lift.  Then shift your weight forward so that your weight is centered over those "deep footprints". Do this exercise 10 times increasing your awareness of your cone of stability (how far you are able to sway and regain your centered standing position.) Make sure to stand close to something stable to grab onto if you sway too far - no whammies please! 

Narrowing your stance, either by positioning your feet right next to one another or in tandem stance (the heel of one leg touching the toes of the rear leg) is another good way to improve your balance.  By narrowing your stance you will force your ankles to make micro movements (proprioceptive reactions) to maintain your body centered over your feet.  The better your ankles are, at making these micro adjustments the more likely you will not have a major balance check.

If standing with your legs together or in tandem stance, is not challenging for your balance, then either close your eyes and feel how your ankles start working to keep your balance or turn your head from side to side.  

You can also choose to incorporate movement of the arms with or without resistance to increase challenge and fitness.  In the exercise below, I am using the patent pending adjustable Hooked On Pilates HANDIBANDS in tandem stance with head turn and arm reach to challenge my balance.  

In conclusion, improve your awareness and trust in your feet and challenge your ankles ability to react, to improve your balance.