Good afternoon readers!
Hopefully, everyone’s weekend is off to a good start. I don’t know how many of you had to endure a snow storm the previous weekend, but I did (here in Ohio) and it was horrible — perhaps not the worst but definitely made me hesitant to drive. I missed a weeks worth of gym time (3 days due to the storm and condition of the roads) & the other days due to a massive belly ache — ugh! I know some places here in Ohio either experienced more snow or more ice — and where I live in Columbus we got sleet, frozen rain and snow (mostly tons of ice!!!) and were put on a LEVEL 2 emergency. I called off work when I realized early Thursday morning going out to my car, that the ice was so thick on the ground, I was literally sliding around the whole parking lot to get to my car & eventually fell, but thankfully no serious injuries. That my friends, is a sure sign I need to stay my butt at home! LOL I commend those who were out on the roads on their way to work, because I like to think if I was a driver on the road at the time, I would have been careful enough to drive safely to work BUT we all know we can’t control other people’s driving & that is what scares me when it comes to weather such as a snow storm.
How many of you had a snow storm?! share your experience — and what you did during the storm!
So today’s post might be a little late for some (oops) but doesn’t mean it won’t come handy in the future — if you live someplace warm where snow does not exist, then count yourself lucky but still know balance is important & as we age, it becomes even more important. While this post is dedicated to icy terrains due to the recent snow storm, keep this post in your pocket for non-icy situations as well, because falling doesn’t have to be done on ice.
Raise your hands if you have ever fallen at some point in your life?! Okay, so I will assume that the majority of us have fallen at some point in our lives, if not all of us & regardless of the reason why — it was probably a scary experience, maybe even a traumatic experience or caused bodily injury. In a perfect world, falls only happen outside your home — but we don’t live in a perfect world & I am willing to bet, that again, most falls some have experienced have happened within their own four walls ( and that doesn’t make it any safer or less traumatic) — trust me, I know from experience.
What is balance? “The ability to move or remain in position without losing control or falling” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). This definition defines balance as both with and without movement. Important to keep in mind, because most people assume when someone loses their balance, it is due to their movement pattern, BUT one can lose balance just standing in place. One thing I do want to add to this definition, is knowing where your center of gravity lies within your body & positioning because this will become handy when doing the exercises I provide in this blog post. Some people lack self awareness — not necessarily in the sense of inner self (although important), I am more speaking on the physical (body alignment, gait, imbalances, strengths/weaknesses) etc. Others may lack environment awareness ( ice, sidewalk misalignment, sticks/rocks, toys, slippery floor) etc. basically anything that may cause you to lose your balance. You need both self awareness and environmental awareness in order to improve balance. With all this being said, the exercises/activities that I will provide are NOT “quick fixes”, they are meant to be practiced, challenged and/or challenging over time, and meant to help make one more aware of self and the environment around you. My list will not include every single exercise out there known to man, but feel free to ask me questions (I can send demo videos) if need be or provide a more advanced list of exercises if one feels they need more of a challenge OR modifications if the exercises listed are too challenging.
#1 RULE : safety first. Do these exercises in a safe area within your home or at the gym. You should consider having something to hold onto if you are new to these exercises or if you struggle with balance. Nothing to be ashamed of if you need to modify them to make it easier at first — balance is something that is a very slow gradual learn & each person will experience their own challenges. Balance is about consistency, if you do well with one exercise the first time, the goal is to do it again and get the same results or better until you are comfortable moving up and trying something a tad bit more challenging.
#2 RULE: focus. don’t allow distractions
#3 RULE: Frustration doesn’t help, it hinders. We all get frustrated with ourselves and I know some of us will get frustrated with balance because it can be a frustrating learning experience like other things. If you find yourself getting frustrated —- walk away for awhile from the exercise & come back to it later or perhaps later in the week OR regress the exercise and work your way back up again. Frustration can cause one to injure themselves & safety is the #1 rule.
- single leg stance
- standing feet together
- Sit to stand (some people lose balance doing the most basic movements)
- In place marching (alternating legs)
- Standing hip abduction stance (leg sideways)
- Heel-toe walking
- stability ball plank
- T-Stance (moving or standing still)
- Single leg hip extension stance
These exercises can all be progressed to make it much more challenging (adding weights, adding time, adding bands, etc) and again, practice makes better! so practice, practice, practice & implement more balance exercises within your workout programs. As a strength athlete, I find that I need to add more balance heavy workouts / exercises for myself because having an imbalance can hinder my strength gains and/or I risk injuring myself. Balance can make for a better overall experience when performing exercises, doing daily activities and will build your confidence when mother nature creates an obstacle using the environment.
Leave comments, share, and likes! let me know what you do for balance & tag me on IG!
Contact me for personal training, I’d love to help guide ya to better balance & help improve your confidence when walking and/or standing in place!