I am currently seeing a physical therapist for my back. She ran a bunch of tests and was astounded by my lack of core body strength...as in, no abdominal muscles! This did not surprise me but then she tested my balance. I believe the word she used was, "Wow!" It was that bad. Talk about embarrassing!
We don't often think about our balance. It's one of those things we assume is okay when in fact, it begins to deteriorate in our mid-30's. By the time we hit our senior years if we've let these muscles go we are at greater risk of falling. Not cool.
The good news is there are simple things you can do to improve your balance. Even better, these moves will work your core as well, without having to do any dreaded abdominal crunches.
Pelvic Tilts - You can do these standing up or on the floor. Breathe in deeply and as you exhale slowly draw your navel in towards your spine. Hold for a count of 3.
Marching Soldier - Stand and slowly raise your right arm up overhead. At the same time slowly bend your left knee and raise your left leg about six inches off the ground. Hold for a count of 3 and then slowly lower. Repeat on the other side. The key to this exercise is to keep your navel pulled in the entire time and move slowly.
Balance on One Foot - Lift one foot up and hold. Then lift the other. You can vary the more by pointing the foot out in different directions, moving your arms, and even closing your eyes. Be careful and make sure you can grab onto something if you become unsteady. When you close your eyes you will be shocked at how shaky you get!
Balance Board - These can be found at most sporting goods stores or on the internet. They are only about $20 and really work your balance well. Stand on the board, keep your knees slightly bent and hold. As your get stronger you can vary this move as well by moving your arms, holding a ball in front of you, closing your eyes, etc.
Tree Pose - Hold the pose picture above for as long as you can. Then alternate sides.
For best results, do these moves every other day until they become easy. Then do them twice a week to maintain.
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