Have you noticed your balance isn't what it used to be?
Maybe you feel unsteady walking on uneven ground or down the stairs without a handrail.
You know how crucial good balance is. You want to improve your balance and feel more confident every day.
Balance Training is Different
When we think about how it feels when we exercise, we often focus on getting out of breath (with cardiovascular activities) or working our muscles to fatigue (strength training).
But balance exercises are different.
Keep reading to find out what it should feel like when you do balance exercises.
Whether you're already doing balance exercises, or thinking about doing them, knowing this will
boost your confidence. You'll enjoy exercising more and get better results.
Embrace the Wobble
Feeling a bit wobbly during balance exercises? That's normal!
These wobbles, often in your ankles but possibly in your knees or hips, mean your small stabilizing muscles are working hard. When you stand on both legs, your large muscles keep you steady. But when you challenge your balance, smaller muscles fire up and work hard to keep you stable.
So, don't get disheartened! Embrace the wobble - it's a sign you're on the right track with your balance exercises.
When to Use Support
It's okay to use a chair or table for support when you do balance exercises.
In fact, you should always have a support nearby. You may not need it, or you may want to just touch with one finger, or hover your hand over, just in case.
Wanting to hold on is a natural response, and for some exercises you may need to hold on until your balance improves - which is totally fine.
The Value of a Compensatory Step
If you find yourself taking a large step to regain balance, that's alright.
This is called 'compensatory stepping', and it's a skill we all need. It's how we keep ourselves upright when someone bumps into us, or if we're standing on a bus which stops suddenly.
When you're doing balance exercises, make sure the floor is clear of obstacles and you have enough space around you to take that important step safely.
How to Recognise Good Fatigue
Muscle fatigue is another normal and even encouraging sign.
An achy or slight burning sensation is okay; it means you're challenging your muscles. You may feel this in your calves, thighs or hips.
But if you feel acute pain (sharp or strong), it's time to pause. Check your posture and technique if the pain continues.
Feeling some cracking or crunching in your joints?
Maybe when you do ankle circles (ankle mobility is crucial for good balance), you feel some crunching in your ankle joints.
Generally, this is nothing to worry about, unless it hurts. Ease off or stop if you feel a sharp pain.
Signs to Watch Out For
It shouldn't hurt when you do balance exercises.
If you feel discomfort, ease off or stop what you're doing. Check your posture and the instructions for the exercise again. A small tweak to your technique can totally change how an exercise feels.
If you experience acute pain, extreme dizziness or nausea, it's time to stop and rest. Consult a doctor if the feeling doesn't pass.
Tandem Stand (with head turns)
Your Mindset Matters
Let's change the narrative.
Instead of saying, "I'm wobbling, my balance is terrible," try saying, "Yes! I'm wobbling, so I'm challenging myself and improving my balance."
Remind yourself how these exercises are going to help you to feel more stable and steadier on your feet.
Embrace the wobble, knowing that, as your balance improves, you'll feel more confident.
So, are you ready to try a balance exercise?
Now you know how it should feel, you'll be more confident doing balance exercises.
Better balance can transform your life.
You'll walk down the street with confidence, engage more fully in social activities, and even find travelling less daunting.
Would you like more help to improve your balance? Check out our online Studio for more videos, programmes, support and advice!
This article was originally published on Sixty and Me.
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