Do you feel like your feet are constantly getting in your way? Do you trip over yourself when you use the treadmill or stumble when you're headed up the stairs? Is an uneven piece of sidewalk all you need to catch your toe and send you pitching forward? You're not a klutz and you're not sloppy. You don't have two left feet and you aren't any less able to coordinate your movements than the next person. You simply need to improve your balance.
Even those of us who exercise on a regular basis may find that our balance can use a bit of work if we're not doing the right movements. When you're focused on fat burning or building strength, it can be very easy to overlook the importance of a strong core and lower back and overall physical balance. Those are areas that are often overlooked while you're speed walking the extra weight off your middle and toning your arms.
What should you be doing to build your balance and reduce your risk of tripping and falling? There are a few exercises that you can slip into your workout and keep up on a regular basis. These include the following:
• Butt-kick from tabletop – Begin in a tabletop position with your hands and knees on the floor and your back parallel to the floor. Engage your core muscles and lift your knees just enough that they both hover off the floor, holding yourself up with your toes. One leg at a time, raise your leg and kick your heel toward your backside with your knee partially bent. Complete 10 reps per side.
• Lunge and hop – Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. With your right leg, step back and slowly lower your body until your right leg forms a right angle at the knee. Pushing off with your left leg, swing your right leg forward, bringing your arms forward at the same time for momentum. Hop up on your left foot and come down into a lunge position. Repeat with the other side. Complete 8 reps per side.
• Flying balance – Stand with your feet together. Shift your right leg and lean forward, raising your left leg behind you until your body is parallel to the ground. Hold your arms out to your sides like you're a flying airplane and hold for 20 seconds. Keep both knees slightly bent and the toes of your raised leg pointed down. Stand again and switch legs. Repeat once per side.