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7 Best Balance Exercises to Stay Upright, Both Beginner & Advanced Options

This article is a transcribed edited summary of a video Bob and Brad recorded in January of 2021. For the original video go to

Bob: Today, we're talking about the seven best balance exercises to stay upright, both beginner and advanced options. I'm going to be the beginner, Beginner Bob.

Brad: And I'm going to attempt the advanced ones. But this is great. You can do them at home, they are easy to follow. You don't need any special equipment and they are good for all ages.

Bob: Right. Just do what fits you.

Brad: All right. Anyways, Bob, let's get on with this. Now Bob's going to do the easier ones. I'm going to do the harder ones. There are seven of them. Pick out which ones work best for you, or what you like to do. You don't have to do all seven, although you could. And we're going to do them at home. The goal is 30 seconds on each of them. I'm not going to time this. It's not going to be in real-time, because we want to take a little time to make sure they're done properly, and we'll do a little explanation. For the first one, I'm going to use a stick. You don't have to use a stick. You can hold onto a chair as Bob does.

Bob: Yeah, I'm using two feet. He's using just one foot.

Brad: Exactly, so, we're just going to go up on your toes and then back on your heels, ankle strength. Ankle strength is a big part of balance. So, that's why we're working on this. Now, I've got the stick to help to balance. If it's too easy, simply let that down and put your hands up. Okay? And, you know, for the advanced, you can go to one foot.

Bob: Sure.

Brad: That will challenge, I think, pretty much everyone. Now, the next one, number two, is the single-leg balance. This is a standard test that therapists use. Bob's holding onto a chair. You could use a cupboard. For advanced, just use your fingertips, if you can.

Bob: And once you get it down, you can maybe let go for a little bit.

Brad: Sure. For the advanced person, do the same thing. It's probably going to be pretty easy, so the next thing you do is close your eyes, and that makes it quite a bit harder. The other option is to get a piece of foam, like a cushion off your chair. We've got a foam one made for this from Pete's Choice. They work really well, but then, that becomes much harder. You probably won't even have to close your eyes. But you can do both if you want.

Bob: We want to mention, right now, too, that, always safety first on this.

Brad: Yes!

Bob: If your balance is poor, you may want to have a belt around you and have someone behind you holding on.

Brad: Yep, someone right there with you to keep it safe.

Bob: We don't want you to get injured while you're training to have good balance!

Brad: Right. You know, if you're a young 25-year-old, and if you fall, you just bounce right up. But there are a lot of people who may need to be more careful. For the beginner or the geriatric. So let's go, where are we at? Number three?

Bob: Yep, number three.

Brad: Now, this is a nice one to do. Pretend that you are standing on a clock. You're going to balance on your left foot and with your right foot, you're going to cross over and touch at nine o'clock, then you're going to touch in front. And then you're going to reach out to the side with your toe. Then you're going to reach behind you. So, there are four locations. And then you're going to start all over. So, it's nine o'clock, twelve o'clock, three o'clock, and six o'clock.

Bob: Now, you can use a countertop, or I'm using the Booyah Stik, here to balance.

Brad: Yeah, if you have a walking stick or a cane, or, again, have someone hold on to you. For the advanced people, get your foam out, and that makes a big difference as you can see here. Make sure you do both legs. You'll find one leg will more than likely have better balance than the other. And you can feel your hip working. This is great for strengthening. Great for balance.

Brad: Okay, next one, sit to stand. You may say, what does this have to do with balance? But they found, particularly with seniors, this particular exercise is the number one exercise to prevent falls. It strengthens the legs and you are working balance at the same time. And it's simple.

Bob: Yeah, and if you have trouble sitting to stand and doing multiple reps, you can use your arms to start. Then progress to, maybe, hands on your thighs. And then progress to just doing it with your arms out in front of you.

Brad: We don't have chairs with armrests, but, you know, get a chair with armrests and you can assist. Ten of these is a good number, as opposed to 30 seconds. If you're young and this is way too easy, simply do it with one leg. You do need something to balance. Well, most people do. And do the one-legged sit-to-stand.

Bob: I think I'm too low to do one leg.

Brad: I'm going to try, I guess I can do it. But you have to be 30 years old to do that.

Bob: Impressive.

Brad: But anyways, do it with both legs. For the advanced people, 10 times on a side will probably be good enough. Those really tough strong people you could add some weight. There are always options to increase resistance for those people.

Brad: Heel-to-toe walk. Now, this is a really good one for proprioception. In other words, your body knows where your legs are without looking down. I'm going to demonstrate. So, the heel needs to touch the toe. It's like you're walking on a tightrope. Now, for people that are beginners, you may have to look down and see where you're at.

Bob: Yeah, look down, you may have to grab onto a countertop or something.

Brad: Yes, be safe because this one is a lot harder than it looks for seniors. I've worked with a lot of people, and I'm typically holding onto them the first time they do it. Especially if they feel like they could go backward because, even if you look down, you cannot see what's going on. For the advanced people, probably, will be able to do it without a cane or a stick. And again, the way to advance this, for those people, close your eyes and do it. It makes a big difference in your balance. But it's really working your balance.

Bob: Safety, again.

Brad: Exactly. Bob, you're like my mother. Always worried about me falling.

Bob: Someone has to be.

Brad: Yeah, that's true. I always feel safer. Okay, and the next one. This is a simple one. You're going to need something to hold onto or a chair behind you. The safest way to do it, for beginners, is a chair behind and in front of you is a countertop or another chair.

Bob: Oh, I see.

Brad: Go ahead and stand up. We're going to raise our arms up like this, but you're going to go up on your toes at the same time and hold it.

Bob: And I hit the ceiling.

Brad: Yeah. We'll have to knock the ceiling out for Bob. But the thing with this one is, it's more challenging for you to balance with your arms up than with them down. And for seniors, when you're reaching up into the cupboard, that can be a good practice exercise.

Bob: Well, you want to maybe start with one hand. If you have to hold on to something, you may have to reach up with one arm.

Brad: Yeah, exactly.

Bob: But it's good to look up, too. While you're doing it.

Brad: Yes. Your balance changes, depending on where you look. So, for beginners or the senior people, that's a really good option. For the advanced people, you probably won't need that. You're going to go up and again, if it's too easy, close your eyes and do it, or do it on one foot and that will challenge you, I have a feeling.

Brad: So, very good. Now, the last one.

Bob: I'll let you do that one, Brad.

Brad: For beginners, it's going to be an advanced beginner, almost getting to the advanced stage.

Bob: Sure.

Brad: Throw the ball. And, yes, you get a bouncy ball or a basketball. I've done it with this, with people 70 years old, but I'm holding onto them. And just simply start bouncing the ball, for the beginners and see how you do. If that goes well, and you have someone holding on, or right next to you, you can try to bounce off the wall. This can be a big difference for that level.

Brad: For those people who are advanced, and they're athletic and whatnot, then you're going to go one foot for sure. And then you can get that foam out and go one foot balancing, or bouncing off the wall, which is even harder. You can't do it with your eyes closed unless you're really good, because you need to see the ball. But turn 90 degrees sideways. That really changes it.

Bob: Yeah, that makes it tougher, yeah.

Brad: Yeah, yeah. Do that for 30 seconds. It's going to improve your balance. It's going to improve everything.

Bob: Proprioception.

Brad: Yeah, proprioception, and reaction time.

Bob: All right.

Brad: Wow, Bob, once more!

Bob: Brad and I can fix just about anything,

Brad: Except for...

Bob: A broken heart.

Brad: But!

Bob: We can fix your balance.

Brad: Oh, yeah, that's right. But we're working on the heart thing too. We've been working on it for 10 years now. We haven't gotten very far, but we continue to work on it.

Bob: We're advancing. Thanks for watching.

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