Balance is defined as the “even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady”. Balance is a very important area of fitness (especially as we age) because a good sense of balance can help you react quickly, prevent injuries, and accidents. Balance is also an indicator of overall fitness as people who are fit and active on average have better balance than others who are sedentary.
There are two main types of balance tests: static and dynamic. During a static balance test, you maintain a single position for as long as possible while timing the results. During a dynamic balance test, you are testing your balance as you are moving. The following test is a dynamic balance test that only takes 15 seconds. For more balance tests, you can check out this link: More Balance Tests.
The starting and resting position is standing on one foot, just like in the photo below.
Go back and forth between the 4 balance positions below and the starting position while staying on one foot the entire time. Hold each position for 1-2 seconds.
To make the test harder, complete the test with your eyes closed.
1) Be Active – Most activities that are weight bearing and keep you on your feet will help maintain your bodies balance system. Strength training for example can help you increase joint and tendon strength, and improve stability. Playing sports can also help improve your balance substantially.
2) Stretch – Improving range of motion in your joints will help improve your stability.
3) Try Pilates, or Yoga – Pilates and Yoga can be excellent compliments to a strength training program that can help dramatically improve your balance and flexibility.