Lockdown 2.0: Challenge Your Balance!
As you are all aware, Newcastle and the Hunter region are back into a lockdown. Our practice is currently closed for all face-to-face consultations, so what better timing than to boot up our follow-along exercise series!
This video is all about balance! As we age, we experience a general decline in our cognition and sensory system (our vestibular system and our vision included) which makes it harder for our body to make fast adjustments to our posture to maintain our balance and prevent 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.
Today’s video focuses on some progressions and more difficult balance exercises – no equipment needed! If you are just getting started or would like some ideas for beginner balance exercises, jump over to this post for some inspiration.
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 we are still offering physiotherapy consultations online. Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an appointment, no prior experience with Zoom needed.
Tandem Walk Variations
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.
There are three ways you can level up your tandem walks:
As we touched on in our first video, you can place one foot ahead of the other to walk in a straight line. Make harder by walking forwards and backwards OR walking in a circle.
Lift your heels up and tip-toe walk in a line OR in a circle.
Keep your heels on the floor and lift your toes up to heel walk in a line or circle.
Heel Raise Variations:
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.
Place your feet together when performing heel raises. This narrows the space for your body to use to balance which is also known as your “base of support”. Make harder by using one foot only – this narrows your base of support AND makes you rely on one leg to support your body. Make sure you swap sides over following this.
Heel Squats: place your feet hip width apart. Bend your hips and knees into a squat. Make sure you keep your chest up during the squat. Lift your heels at the bottom on the squat, then straighten your hips and knees until you are standing. Place your heels on the floor once you are standing.
Forward lunge: Stand tall with feet hip-width apart. Take a big step forward with right leg. You can make this harder by bending your hips and knees. Straighten your hips and knees and step back to the start position.
Side lunge: Take a step to your right side. Keeping your hips level and chest up, shift your body weight towards your right and bend your right knee. Shift your weight back to the centre and step your foot back to the start.
Backwards lunge: Take a step back, bend hips and knees, then straighten your front hip and knee and place foot to start position.
Repeat by swapping sides. Aim to do 3-4 "full clocks" - one lunge in each direction on each side.
Enjoying this series so far? Let us know what you think below!