The snow is melting, the days are getting longer, and the weather is warming up. The Spring is the perfect time for you to get outside and get active! For most people, it is a time that we wait for all winter long. But for people with a fear of falling, it can mean higher levels of anxiety and coming up with excuses as to why you aren’t going to make it to your grandkids soccer game. Well fear no more – because we at Robbins Rehabilitation right here in Allentown and Upper Macungie are here to help!
When struggling with balance problems, it is important to determine what exactly is causing your balance problem. If it is a matter of decreased strength, there are some simple exercises that you can try at home in order to get your legs stronger. This will help set you up for success when navigating tricky outdoor environments. At any age, it is vital that you get clearance from your physician before beginning an exercise program. Once you know that you are healthy enough to exercise, the fun can begin!
Check out some examples of exercises below to jump-start your program and get you more steady on your feet! Find yourself a safe environment with a clean and stable surface to hold onto for support. If you feel unstable, make sure you have someone with you to supervise during your exercise program. And don’t forget – if at any point during your exercise something does not feel right – stop!
- Heel Raises
- Stand facing a sturdy surface so that you may hold on if you need extra support. With feet shoulder-width apart, come up onto your toes (lifting your heels up off the ground). Pause at the top and then slowly return your heels to the ground. Repeat this 20 times.
- Single leg balance
- Sounds easy enough, right? All you need to do for this exercise is stand in front of your sturdy surface and lift up one foot. Try holding on with your arms as little as possible and attempt to maintain your balance on one foot for as long as you can. Start with a timer for 30 seconds and then work your way up! If you master this activity, try doing the same exercise but standing on a pillow or a folded up towel. Varying the surface and making it more unstable will challenge your body’s proprioception. This is one of the main systems that controls balance. Say you master standing on that towel? Now try the same thing with your eyes closed! This knocks out the visual system, another vital part of balance. But be careful! This will make it significantly harder! Make sure your sturdy surface is clean of any objects and hover your hands directly over that surface in case you need to grab on to regain your balance.
- Tandem balance
- Tightrope time! For this exercise you are going to stand in front of your sturdy surface and attempt to place one foot directly in front of the other. Once you do so, you will find yourself standing heel to toe as if you were attempting to balance on a tightrope. If you can’t comfortably get into this position, widen your front foot a bit at a time until you find a starting point that you are satisfied with. Perform this exercise just as you would with the single leg balance. Work your way up in time, switch feet between repetitions, use an unstable surface such as a pillow or towel, and then when you are ready – close your eyes!
- Sit to stand
- Last for now, but certainly not least! This exercise is great to help strengthen your lower body. Start sitting on a sturdy chair. Cross your arms across your chest. Then raise to a seated position. Stand all the way up tall! Then slowly lower yourself back down to the chair, pushing your butt back and keeping your chest up. Try not to let your knees cross in front of your toes when you are sitting back down into the chair. You can perform this exercise in repetitions — example: 2 sets of 10 repetitions. Or set yourself a timer for anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute and see how many you can do with good form during that time period! Take a rest break and then go again!
For those of you who are looking for a little more information about Robbins Rehabilitation then check out our website Robbinsptwest.com. You’ll find valuable information on all different body parts and can keep up with our future blog posts!
If you are ready to get started right away then do not hesitate to give us a call at 610-841-3555 and get started on the path to healing right away.
That’s all for now! Feel free to post any questions in the comments section below and as always check back in to stay on top of all things Robbins Rehab!