3 Ways to Improve Balance and Coordination
Balance and coordination seem so subconscious that you might think they’re impossible to improve. But the reality is completely the opposite! Balance and coordination are linked in some way to almost all the muscles in your body through processes called interoception and proprioception; the ways in which your body has an idea of where it is in space, and how to act in its environment. As they are linked to muscular activity, balance and coordination can actually be enhanced with muscular exercise. Here are some ways you can use exercise to improve them.
Stretching is a great choice because it’s easy for people of all athletic ability levels and many physical conditions. In the long run, it can help prevent any aches or pains associated with cramped or lesser-used muscles, and can also help you develop a better, healthier posture. You should always stretch gently at first and warm up slowly before going into full stretching exercises to prevent sprains and injuries to your muscles. Here are some stretches to help your balance:
1. Hip Stretch
Sit in a chair with your back fully supported and place your hands on your legs, so they’re sitting comfortably. Then, slowly lift one leg up, leaving your knee bent. Hold it for about 5-10 seconds and return it to the floor, then repeat with the other leg until you feel stretched.
2. Arm Punch
This is another chair exercise; lift your arm in front of you so that it’s parallel to the floor. Stretch it forward, wait for 5 seconds and repeat with the other arm.
3. Cross Body
Stand shoulder-width apart with your hands by your side. Slowly lift your arms to the side to form a t-pose. Reach across your body as far as you can with each hand and repeat.
Yoga is a slow exercise that still provides benefits for cardiovascular health, mental health and relaxation. It helps to strengthen muscles in a similar way to stretching, but many find it more stimulating, as it is typically done under the guidance of a yoga instructor, which can be more motivating than stretching by yourself. Some poses are better than others for improving balance and coordination, so if you’re in a yoga class, ask your instructor to help guide you through these asanas:
These all involve the extremities of your body and challenge you to balance your posture.
Swimming can improve your balance to such an extent that those over 70 who had fewer falls swam more than their counterparts. Swimming can aid your posture and balance, as it involves you having to function at a horizontal orientation, compared to vertical orientation. It is also great for your core, which plays a significant role in aiding your coordination and balance. Generally speaking, a strong core leads to greater balance abilities and more coordinated actions.
Just one of these three activities can help you improve your balance and coordination with regular practice. Aim for a stretching, yoga, or swimming session at least twice a week. As the improvements partly come from muscular developments, it is really important to keep it up and not skip out on a session!
Chiropractic manipulation can also help to improve balance and coordination. Chiropractic adjustments realign the spinal cord and column, which allow more blood flow to the vital organs that are involved in balance and coordination, such as the brain. At Icon Medical Centers, we have the chiropractors to help improve your posture, balance, and coordination.