Most of us are aware of the importance of maintaining good balance as we age. Static poses can help. As the name suggests these types of exercises are done while standing still, either on one leg or two. In this article we’ll focus on single-leg static exercises. You will notice that, in addition to strengthening the supporting leg, static poses challenge the center of mass while the sole of the foot remains in a fixed position. Practice these exercise progressions on a regular basis and notice the improvement in your balance.
Single Leg Stance Exercise
Safety Reminder: Always begin balance exercises in a safe environment with a sturdy chair nearby in case you need to touch it to regain balance. The kitchen or bathroom counter, a wall, or the corner of a room may also provide a supportive space to practice balance exercises. If you become dizzy or feel you are losing your balance at any time during the exercises plant both feet firmly on the ground and lightly touch the chair, counter or wall space you are working next to.
1) Stand tall and feel strong from the base of the feet, up through the spine, to the crown of the head.
2) Gently shift the weight to one leg and lift the other foot off the ground at ankle level (Tips: Keep your glutes and core engaged and feeling strong. Touch the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth and the tips of your thumbs to the tips of your middle fingers. Continue to feel a lengthening through the spine.)
3) Hold this position for 20 seconds while maintaining a strong core. Relax and repeat on the other leg.
1) Instead of lifting the foot off the ground at ankle level, lift the knee higher so it forms a 90 degree angle (as pictured). Place a book or lightweight object above the knee and balance it there for 20 seconds.
2) While in the one-leg stance position, turn your attention to the weight being evenly dispersed across the complete surface of the sole (of the supporting foot). Next, subtly shift your weight from one side of the sole to the other side. When you feel comfortable with that, try shifting the weight back and forth from the heel to toes.
3) To challenge static balance further, try the exercises above with eyes closed. *NOTE: Before trying this advanced exercise please review the safety reminder above and make sure you are in a safe environment. Open your eyes immediately if you feel any dizziness or loss of balance.