When you challenge your balance, it will improve. In today’s post I’m going to demonstrate balance stance variations that will safely challenge and improve your balance.
You will learn how to progress your balance stance from an athletic stance to staggered stance and gain the knowledge you need to make micro adjustments to each of the foundational foot positions. This knowledge will allow you to safely challenge yourself with your standing balance exercises and, over time, improve your balance.
Foundational Balance Stance
You are going to start from the very basic foundational balance pose of two feet, hip-width apart.
Feet are parallel to one another. This means that if you’re following a straight line, your toes and your heels are equidistance apart.
That is a really good foundational balance stance.
Parallel Feet Balance Stance
The parallel feet balance stance is a good foundational pose for any of your exercises, whether it’s a bicep curl, an overhead press or getting up and down from a chair.
To improve our balance, we want to challenge our base of support. We start with our feet parallel to one another and gradually bring them closer together. The next day when you practice your balance exercises, bring your toes and heels a centimetre closer than the day before.
When you make micro-changes to your balance pose, you do not have to move both feet at the same time. You might decide that you feel a lot more stable moving one foot at a time. Shift the right foot, toe and heel, and try your balance pose again. If you feel you need another challenge, then shift the left foot in a bit closer.
I encourage you to always have your feet straight, not pigeon toed or out. Gradually, day by day or week by week, depending on how frequently you work on your balance and on your lower body strength and flexibility, bring your feet as absolutely close together as your anatomy allows. Work your balance with a very narrow base and keep your feet parallel to one another.
Staggered Feet Balance Stance
From this parallel position, you want to work towards a staggered feet balance stance.
Bring your feet back to a comfortable distance apart.
A staggered stance simply means you take a step and hold that balance stance. Now your feet are in a staggered position.
You are ready to take your next step. Make sure that you are comfortable and stable in this balance stance.
Once again you want to, over time, narrow your base of support. Bring the front heel then toe in until gradually the feet get closer and closer. You might not feel comfortable yet with both feet on a line, like a tight rope walker. If that is the case, start to slide that front foot back ever so slightly and back some more.
I find with most of my clients that I can get them to the position where their heel is just about in line on the same plane as their big toe. At that point, they feel comfortable enough to move onto the line where heel and toe are in a straight line.
Exercise Recommendations for Osteoporosis
Exercise is an essential ingredient to bone health. If you have osteoporosis, therapeutic exercise needs to be part of your osteoporosis treatment program.
But what exercises should you do and which ones should you avoid? What exercises build bone and which ones reduce your chance of a fracture? Is Yoga good for your bones? Who should you trust when it comes to exercises for osteoporosis?
A great resource on exercise and osteoporosis is my free, seven day email course called Exercise Recommendations for Osteoporosis. After you provide your email address, you will receive seven consecutive online educational videos on bone health — one lesson each day. You can look at the videos at anytime and as often as you like.
- Can exercise reverse osteoporosis?
- Stop the stoop — how to avoid kyphosis and rounded shoulders.
- Key components of an osteoporosis exercise program.
- Key principles of bone building.
- Exercises you should avoid if you have osteoporosis.
- Yoga and osteoporosis — should you practice yoga if you have osteoporosis?
- Core strength and osteoporosis — why is core strength important if you have osteoporosis?
Enter your email address and I will start you on this free course. I do not SPAM or share your email address (or any information) with third parties. You can unsubscribe from my mail list at any time.
Tandem Balance Stance
The straight line balance stance with heel grazing the toe of the back foot is referred to as the tandem balance stance position.
The tandem balance stance is quite challenging and often used in balance testing. This is a really good objective to reach before you progress to standing on one foot.
Balance Stance with Stable and Unstable Surfaces
We have been doing the balance poses on a fairly stable surface. Stable surfaces include your kitchen floor, your bathroom tiles, and hardwood floors. A softer surface changes everything regarding balance stance.
Toe Touch Pose
Let’s move to a toe touch balance stance.
A lot of people have arthritis of the big toe and find that the toe touch balance pose is uncomfortable. They might find it more comfortable to use a half foam roller to elevate and support the foot. This allows your big toe to be off the edge. You are able to do the toe touch, but without a lot of bending at the big toe.
Keep your pelvis nice and level.
Single Leg Balance Pose
At this point, you can progress to a single leg balance stance in different positions.
You can also change the surface that you’re standing on and repeat the earlier balance stances.
A yoga mat will do fine. Start with two folds of the yoga mat. In the video, I have about eight folds of this yoga mat.
Go through the entire sequence standing on the folded mat. When you do the staggered balance stance, start with one foot. Use either the front foot or the back foot on an unstable surface. This kind of change makes the exercise exciting again.
Half foam rollers are also a nice tool to have and allow you to progress through your balance poses. You will see these used in the athletic level of the Exercise for Better Bones program.
You can use your foam with the round side up. I find it a little bit more challenging than having it the opposite way. It is a real challenge with that rocking from side to side.
That covers balance stance variations you can do to challenge and improve your balance. As always, take your time and improve at a pace you find comfortable and safe.
I hope you have a lot of fun and feel the strength and stability that improving your balance provides.
Balance Exercises for Seniors Guidelines
For more information, check out my Balance Exercises for Seniors guidelines.