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Balance is one of the first building blocks to a better form and a more beneficial workout. It’s also something many people overlook. These five exercises to improve balance will help you maintain control throughout your workout routine.
Yoga is perhaps the best-known exercise to improve balance. Many standing poses focus on improving balance and stability, and they encourage individuals to strengthen core and leg muscles simultaneously. Most yoga poses have several variations, so everyone can participate regardless of skill level. Those starting out may choose to leave both feet firmly on the floor or to only raise their foot slightly. More experienced yogis may raise their leg higher and extend their arms away from their body for more of a challenge.
The repeated routine of standing, kneeling, and laying down typical for many yoga classes may not be the best exercise for everyone. For a slower-paced exercise routine that still focuses on balance, Tai Chi is a great alternative. Tai Chi is a form of Chinese martial arts that focuses on slow movements and fixed poses. Exercising through slow, sustained movements is often easier said than done, though, and it requires considerable mental and physical focus. While tai chi may not be a very strenuous activity, these measured movements can significantly improve your balance over time.
If the peace and quiet of a yoga or tai chi class isn’t your speed, spice things up with a lively dance class. No matter the form, dance classes are a great way to improve your balance and have fun at the same time. Dance styles that focus on sustained movements, such as ballet, are great to improve both balance and flexibility. Ballroom dance is also a great option to better your balance, and they’re even more fun with a workout buddy. Fast-paced dance styles, such as contemporary, tap, or hip-hop, can also benefit you, as they often require dancers to quickly move from one foot to the other.
Even if you can’t find time to go to the gym or attend a fitness class, you can still improve your balance from the comfort of your own home. In fact, establishing a home gym with your own fitness equipment may be the best way to improve your balance; it’s a less stressful environment with fewer distractions. Establishing a home fitness routine and incorporating mini-workouts throughout the day is a simple way to improve your balance. Lunges and squats are a great place to start, and as your balance improves, you can gradually introduce more reps for longer periods of time.
If you’re someone who prefers working out at home, you may also want to introduce balance and flexibility equipment into your home gym. Balance balls and wobble boards are great tools for individuals who want to improve their balance but may be a bit more advanced. For beginners, start by standing with both feet planted firmly on the balance ball or wobble board. As you become more confident in your abilities and balance comes more naturally, you can experiment with other exercises while atop the balance board.