Almost all types of complete workouts improve balance and coordination. There are some created specifically to do that, though. In Alexandria, VA, I create workouts for clients that improve all levels of fitness, strength, balance, flexibility and endurance. There’s no need to add additional balance exercises unless there are extenuating circumstances. Here are some of the exercises I use to improve balance and coordination.
Test your balance.
While you might feel quite planted just standing with feet shoulder width apart or side by side, take it one step further. Rather than walking toe to heel, the most common technique to test of inebriation and lack of balance, just stand still! That’s right. Start with feet together, standing straight, then move one of your feet in front of the other with the heel touching the front of the other foot’s toe. Hold that position for a count of 30. If you’re still finding it easy, now close your eyes. Almost everyone who doesn’t workout and even some who do wobbles when they do this one, so don’t worry if you do.
Improve your sense of self when you workout.
Your sense of physical self is your proprioception. It’s what lets you move freely and do things without having to check if your arms and legs are in the right place. Muscles, joints and tendons send the signals to your brain from everywhere in your body. Building that awareness can help you improve coordination and even balance. Try closing your eyes and focusing on muscle movement when you exercise. Focus on the movements your body makes. Being more aware of how your body moves helps build coordination and sense of self.
Balance exercises can be simple or more complex.
Standing on one foot with the other knee raised to a 90 degree angle and holding for 30 seconds and then putting it down and doing the same lifting the opposite knee. Now try it with your eyes closed. For more challenge and exercise for your body, try a one-legged squat. Start with fee hip-width apart, point one foot out in front and lower yourself into squat position, balancing on only one foot. Hold and rise. It’s tough!
- Tighten your abs and your glutes with this one. Bend over and pick up a five to ten pound weight. Wait, there’s more. Do it on one leg, lifting the other behind you to maintain balance and then return to starting position.
- Exercising on a balance ball is definitely good for your balance and your core muscles. That’s why they’re called balance balls.
- Include strength training in your workout. It helps improve body awareness and your balance. Core muscle workouts are also good for balance. Kettlebell workouts help all types of fitness, including coordination and balance.
- There’s been more and more use of exercise to help people with MS improve their balance. Often, it starts with simple flexibility exercises like stretching. It shows how all types of fitness work together to make you healthier, more coordinated and balanced.