Whether you’re 20 or 80, working on improving your balance is important. Why? Because you need good balance to do just about anything from simple daily tasks like walking or bending over to put on a shoe to more athletic performances like riding a bike and skiing the slopes. Improving your balance also helps reduce your risk of falls and injury.
One way you can improve your balance is by practicing balancing and lower-body strength-training exercises. These types of exercises work your legs, lower back, and core muscles to build good balance. Ready to improve your balance? Try these 12 exercises! While some of these exercises may be difficult at first, with time and practice you’ll be well on your way to improving your balance.
If you don’t have good balance right now, it’s best to start with beginner exercises such as heel-toe walking. To practice heel-toe walking, start by sticking a piece of tape to the floor or if you’re outside you can draw a line with a piece of chalk.
Holding your arms out wide to the side, walk along the piece of tape (or line) without stepping off the side. Pay close attention to placing each heel in front of your toes of the opposite foot. Try to perform at least 15 to 20 steps.
The flamingo stand is another great balancing exercise for beginners. As the name suggests, you’ll be standing like a flamingo!
To get started, stand on your right leg and then lift the left leg. If you need support, lean on a wall or a chair. As you stretch your leg forward, be sure to maintain good posture. To do this keep your head, neck, and spine all aligned. Try holding the stretch for 10 to 15-seconds and then repeat with the opposite leg.
If you have the balance and strength and want to make this exercise slightly more difficult, extend your hand and reach for your foot when lifting your leg.
Curtsy Lunge and Oblique Crunch
Self says the curtsy lunge with oblique crunch is a total-body movement. It will activate the glutes, engage your inner thighs, and strengthen your obliques. To get started, the source explains you should stand with your feet hip-width apart and place your fingertips at your ears with your elbows out wide.
Next, cross the left leg behind you to lower into a curtsy lunge. As you bring the leg back, raise it up to meet your elbow for an oblique crunch. It’s important that you do this without rotating the hips. Try to perform for 10 to 12 repetitions and then repeat on the right leg.
Balancing Reverse Lunges
Reverse lunges are a great leg strengthening exercise but since they require a lot of coordination and balance they can also help improve your balance too. If you want to make them even more challenging, you can try them while standing on a folded mat or BOSU ball, says Verywell Fit.
Stand on the BOSU ball with your feet close together. Next, bending the left knee, slowly stretch the right leg behind you to perform a reverse lunge. Then press straight up through your left leg bringing your right foot back to the ball. Switch legs and try to repeat for 8 to 10 reps per leg.
Sumo Squat and Outer Thigh Pulse
The sumo squat with an outer thigh pulse exercise can help improve your balance by strengthening your lower body and core. To begin this exercise get into a wide stance and turn your feet out 45-degrees.
Next, while keeping your torso upright, bend at the knees and lower into a sumo squat. Once you come back to standing, extend one leg out to the side and pulse your leg up a few inches, three times. This part of the exercise will engage your core. Put your leg back down and repeat the sumo squat and then pulse with the opposite leg. Alternate sides for 10 to 12 reps per side.
Banded Triplanar Toe Taps
If you’re a beginner, practice this exercise first without the band. Once you feel more confident, add the band for extra resistance.
Healthline says to begin by placing a resistance band around your lower thighs (just above the knees). Next, while balancing on your left leg, lower into a quarter squat. Be sure to engage your core and hip muscles. Next, tap your right leg forward, to the side, and behind you. You should feel the resistance with the band. Repeat for 10 to 20 reps then repeat with the other leg.
Plank and Flying Arms
Planks are a great exercise for improving balance because they work your entire body. It requires your arms, legs, and all of your abs. Adding in the flying arms makes the exercise slightly more challenging as your strength and stability will be challenged.
Start by getting into a high plank position. Your arms should be extended with your hands directly under your shoulders. Placing your feet in a wider stance will make the exercise easier while placing them closer together will make it more challenging — your choice!
Next, engage your core as you lift one arm straight out. While holding this arm in the air, fan it out to the side. Return your arm to the front and then lower to the ground. Finally, repeat this movement with the opposite arm and continue alternating for 10 to 12 reps per side.
Punches are great exercises that improve your cardiovascular fitness as well as muscular endurance and strength. This exercise adds a twist to a typical punching exercise where you’ll have to balance on one leg.
Begin by holding your hands at chest height. Next, holding your weight on your right foot, lower into a quarter squat. Once you feel stable, punch your arm across your body continuing for 10 to 20 reps. Lower your leg and then repeat on the other side.
To make this exercise more difficult, place a set of dumbbells in your hands.
T-Stand and Side Bend
This is another exercise where you’ll need to balance on one leg. Doing so will help strengthen your core muscles and challenge your balance.
Self says to start by balancing on your left leg and then lift and bend your right knee at a 90-degree angle. Extend your arms out to the sides and tighten your core. Next, raise your right leg behind you while lowering your torso to reach your right hand to your left ankle.
Return to the starting position and then reach your right hand down to tap your right leg. Go through this sequence for 8 to 10-reps and then repeat on the opposite side.
Standing Crunch and Under the Leg Clap
The standing crunch is another exercise where you’ll need to balance on one leg. It also adds a movement that engages your core for an added challenge.
Begin by balancing on one leg. Then bring the other leg out in front and bend the knee at a 90-degree angle. Place your hands together overhead. Next, crunch forward and then clap your hands under the leg that is raised and then raise back up and clap over your head. Repeat this sequence for 10 to 12 reps and then lower your leg and repeat on the other side.
Self says you can make this exercise even more challenging by holding weights in your hands. The source also notes, beginners can make it easier by lowering the leg as your clap overhead.
Verywell Fit says the single-leg deadlift exercise will strengthen your hamstrings and glutes while also challenging your balance. Begin by standing with your feet close together. Next, slowly lower your torso to the ground while lifting one of your legs behind you while lowering your hands toward the floor. Be sure to keep your spine neutral.
Stop lowering once your back is parallel to the floor. The source says to help your balance stare at a focal point on the floor in front of you. As you rise back up, squeeze your hamstrings, glutes, and core. Then repeat on the opposite side. To try to complete 8 to 10 deadlifts on each side.
To make this exercise more difficult, you can place weights in your hands. You can also try it while balancing on a BOSU ball.
Rolling Side Plank
This exercise is another plank variation that’s great for engaging the entire body while also challenging your balance. Begin in a plank position, holding the weight of your body on your forearms.
As you roll to the right side, stack your feet on top of each other and extend the left arm in the air. Hold this position for 2 to 5-seconds. Rollback to the plank position and then repeat on the other side. Continue this sequence for 10 to 12-reps.