Balance Variations to Try at Home!
Our practice is back up and running for face-to-face consultations following the Hunter’s easing of COVID-19 restrictions. We are very happy to be back to our normal trading until the end of the year. In case you missed it, we covered some balance exercises in one of our lockdown videos and added some variations to some of the classic balance exercises including single leg balancing, heel raises and lunges.
If you are new to these exercises or would like to try some beginner balance activities, check out our earlier videos here and here.
Falls can happen to anyone, but falls requiring hospitalisation are more common in older people. As we get older we are at higher risk of falls due to the general decline to our cognitive and sensory system. Our body is not as fast as it used to be to make fast adjustments to our posture to maintain our balance.
In 2017–18, 42% of hospitalised injury cases and 40% of injury deaths were due to falls. While we cannot completely prevent falls, and falls can still happen to anyone anywhere, increasing our physical activity and focusing on balance can reduce the risk of falls.
Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines recommend accumulating 30 minutes of activity on most days with a range of strength, cardiovascular, flexibility and balance type exercises.
While the exercises shown in the videos below require no equipment, if you need any
extra support I would recommend positioning yourself with a chair in front or even at the front of a bench top to hold onto to start with. As you improve your balance and gain confidence, you can make it more difficult by holding on with only fingertips or one hand before progressing to no hands.
Please note: these exercises are recommended as part of a general guide to assist with improving your balance and coordination. If you have an injury that is impacting your exercises, or need more personalised exercises, our team are available for physiotherapy consultations both face-to-face and online. Call us on (02) 4955 1043 or email us on email@example.com to speak to our friendly staff.
Level up your: Tandem Walks
Start by placing one foot ahead of the other. Ideally, the heel of your front foot should be contacting the toes of your back foot. Practice 2-3 sets of 30 seconds tandem walking.
Here is a variation option you can try at home:
Start with your right foot ahead of your left foot. Place your left foot in front of your right.
Lift your heels up and down on the spot.
Place your right foot ahead of your left and repeat.
Level up your: Heel raises
Standard heel raises involve standing with your feel hip-width apart lifting your heels up then slowly lowering down. Aim for 10-15 heel raises. You can start with 5 repetitions, then taking a short rest before completing the next two sets. You can try these two variations at home:
If you have a step: place your heels off a step - your heels should sit slightly lower when you are standing off the step. Keep your knees straight and lift your heels up then slowly lower back down. If you do not have a step, start on the floor with your feet shoulder width apart - try to lift your heels up as fast as you can, then slowly lower down.
Stand on one leg and lift heel up then slowly back down.
Here is the step video:
Level up your: Single Leg Balance
Single leg balance involves starting with your feet hip width apart, then slowly lifting one leg and holding it for approximately 30 seconds. Try to keep your hips level and knee straight. Here are some variations you can try (make sure you can manage 30 seconds without holding onto anything before trying these):
Stand on one leg - hold weight OR just use hands and twist gently with your trunk side/side - make sure you try to draw your bellybutton to your spine to engage your core and avoid twisting your knee. OR
Slowly lift alternating arm and leg - do 8-10 on one side before swapping.
Here is option 1:
Here is option 2:
Enjoying this series so far? Let us know what you think below!