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Being able to maintain balance is something most people take for granted, especially younger people.  As you age, your body can lose much of its natural ability to be coordinated and balanced.  The risk of falling or having difficulty with coordination while driving is a serious problem in the elderly.  What can be done to prevent balance problems?  No matter what your age or fitness level, there are easy exercises that can help you build strength and stability to keep a balanced body.

Balancing on One Leg

Sounds simple, right?  But training your body to stand on one leg can do wonders for your overall balance.  If you are just starting out or have any concerns, begin this exercise by holding on to the back of a sturdy chair.  Lift one leg and balance on the other for as long as you can comfortably handle; strive for at least 30 seconds.  Switch legs and stand on the other for an equal amount of time.  Repeat this exercise several times, then rest before doing another set.  As you build up your tolerance, you should be able to balance for longer periods of time, and eventually balance without holding the chair.

Standing Leg Lifts

While holding the back of a sturdy chair, lift one leg straight out to the side about 8 to 12 inches; hold for 30 seconds.  Repeat this several times, alternating legs, for a total of 10 to 15 times.  Rest before doing a second set.

Marching in Place

Standing erect and holding a chair if necessary, lift each knee toward your chest like you are doing high steps. March for 60 seconds, then rest and repeat several times.

Heel-to-Toe Walking

Try to walk in a straight line like walking on a tightrope.  Be sure touch your heel to your toe as you place each foot in front of the other.

Arm and Leg Extensions

Get on your hands and knees with your back straight and parallel to the ground.  Lift and straighten your left leg while extending and straightening your right arm.  Hold this pose for as long as you can, then repeat with your right leg and left arm.

Many other activities can build strength and help with balance.  Weight training is great for body balance because your bones and joints work better when there are strong muscles to hold everything together properly.  Walking is also useful, as is any other aerobic exercise.  Yoga can help lengthen and stretch your muscles, which will make your body more flexible and balanced.  Building a strong and stable core is necessary to have a balanced body that will serve you well now and into the future!


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