Balance is more important than we think. We always assume that the importance of balance is only on the elderly, or something to worry about when we get older. Well, yes, it is. But, it's even more important to work on balance when we're younger, and then continue to "improve" on our balance as we get older. Balance is like diet. It' a way of life, and the more we are in tune with it, and the healthier our balance system, the healthier we are overall.
Here are a few exercises that you can do to improve you balance. Please be careful, as these exercises can be risky!
1) When you are walking on the sidewalk, try walking with one foot up on the sidewalk and the other foot down on the grass or sand (so that you are straddling the sidewalk's edge and one foot is on one type of surface and the other foot is walking on a different surface). Then, switch feet.
2) Try going up and down the stairs without holding on to the handrails. Then, go up the stairs, skipping steps as you go up.
3) Stand on some pillows, a Bosu ball, or balance board. Swing your left leg back and forth. Then, do the same for the other leg. Then, try to lift your right leg with your left am and visa versa. For an extra challenge, try this with your eyes closed.
4) Try to hold the monkey pose while you are on an unstable surface, such as a balance board or on a mattress. For an extra challenge, try the monkey pose with your eyes closed. Also, grab your opposite leg and pull it up behind you like a monkey's tail.
5) Instead of always walking or running on the pavement, try switching to walking/running on other surfaces such as sand, soil, pebbles, and grass. Your muscles will have to work more and your balance and coordination will improve.
If you want to start incorporating balance exercises into your daily routine, here are a few other exercises that you can do.
1) Try getting up from your chair without using your arms or hands to assist you. Do this 10 times. You can also try to alternate your stance-having your feet close together and then far apart.
2) Stand on one leg and do leg lifts in all directions (front, back, left, and right). Then, repeat with your other leg. This exercise works four groups of hip muscles.
3) Place cones or other objects in a straight line and weave in and out of them as you move forwards. Try doing this going backwards. If you were a soccer player or still are, you will know this drill.
Remember, if you don't use it, you lose it.