6 exercises to improve balance and stability

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Woman doing a balance exercise on a yoga mat

One of the key ways for improving body awareness is balance.

You know you need to work on it when you find yourself bumping into things, almost falling over for no apparent reason, or getting easily disoriented and confused.

Modern life and technology are to blame.

Endless scrolling and working long hours sitting in front of a computer can make us forget we have a body at all.

Plus, we don’t challenge our balance abilities often, which is problematic because physiological changes connected with aging eventually lead to its decline.

The good news is that these 6 exercises to improve balance and stability can help — a lot.

Rocks stacking on grass with a sunrise background reflecting balance and stability
The act of balancing stones carries with it a practice of patience and a physical effort of creating balance.

Deepening the connection with your body

Body awareness means being consistently conscious of our body, recognizing her cues, feeling our inner-body, and responding adequately to the signals of hunger, thirst, pain, or sex.

It requires:

  • Proprioception or our ability to perceive the position and movements of joints and muscles and the notion of force in space to better understand our movement and posture. 
  • The vestibular system to deepen the connection with our body and have better balance. It is key in both postural reflexes and eye movements and offers a sense of orientation of our body relative to gravity.

Since maintaining balance depends on information received by the brain from the eyes, muscles and joints, and vestibular organs in the inner ear, both proprioception and vestibular capacities are crucial for maintaining balance.

As we age, the potential to sense movement, action, and location deteriorates, as well as our ability to sustain equilibrium, an upright posture, and stability on the feet; and so every day, it becomes more important to include within our fitness routine exercises that improve balance and stability.

Benefits of balance exercises

Besides improving body awareness, training for balance helps with coordination, increases joint stability, and enhances reaction time.

Further, working on your balance goes beyond these benefits, as it challenges your whole body to act as one unit, strengthening muscle groups that may not normally get a good workout. This can lead to improved posture, which can in turn diminish back pain and reduce the risk of injury.

Examples of balance exercises include:

  • Standing with your weight on one leg and raising the other leg to the side or behind you.
  • Walking while alternating knee lifts with each step.
  • Standing up and sitting down from a chair without using your hands.
  • Practicing tai chi or yoga

Progressions — Elevate your balance by:

  • Holding the position for a longer amount of time.
  • Closing your eyes.
  • Adding weights.
  • Adding more reps or sets.
  • Going against gravity.

6 exercises to improve balance and stability

Add these moves (explanation below) to your full day or do them as a prep session before your workout.

If they are too challenging for you now, choose one move and practice it until you get it right before adding another 🙂

Standing leg kickbacks

  1. Start in an upright position.
  2. Maintain a straight back, and place your body weight on your left leg.
  3. Now, extend your right leg behind you until it is parallel to the floor, while also extending both your arms in front of you. Slowly, bring them back to the starting position, focusing on your glute.
  4. Repeat in a controlled motion.

Feet floating clams

  1. Lay down on your side with your right elbow bent 90-degrees and your legs and feet on top of each other.
  2. Bend your knees forward to form a right angle. Feet should be floating above the mat during the entire exercise.
  3. Raise your top knee while keeping the ankles together.
  4. Repeat in a controlled motion.

Shoulder and toe taps plank

  1. Place your hands shoulder-width apart, with your feet on the ground, in a push-up position.
  2. With a core tight, lift your right hand to tap your left shoulder.
  3. Repeat with the other hand.
  4. Step out to the left with your left foot, then bring it back to the initial position.
  5. Repeat with the right foot.
  6. That is one rep. Repeat in a controlled motion.

Single leg hip hinges

  1. Start in an upright position with feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Slowly lower your torso with a slight bend in your right knee. Now extend the left leg behind you until it is parallel to the floor.
  3. Once you feel a contraction in your right hamstring, drive your hips forward, using your right hamstring to push you back up.
  4. Repeat in a controlled motion.

Rotating side plank

  1. Place your hands shoulder-width apart, with your feet on the ground, in a push-up position.
  2. Twist your feet and rotate to the right so that you can extend your right arm.
  3. Return to the original position and repeat on the other side.

Side plank crunches

  1. Lay on your right side with forearm below shoulder, body lifted, legs long and feet stacked, top arm reaching long. Keep body straight and abs tight.
  2. Bring the elbow on your top arm and knee on your top leg in to tap elbow and knee together, then reach both long.
  3. Repeat in a controlled motion.

To learn more about how to move for your body type, check these fitness guides:

Vata Dosha Workout Tips

Pitta Dosha Workout Tips

Kapha Dosha Workout Tips

Watch now Ayurvedic Lower Body Workout

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Hi! I'm Monica

My life purpose is to help women achieve physical, mental, and emotional alignment, improve their digestion, balance their hormones, and feel more confident in their own skin.

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