Why you should improve your balance
Many chronic complaints are caused by repetitive movements inflicted on an unbalanced body. Whether it’s a bad back, stiff shoulders, sore knee or headaches, most of the ailments that we suffer can be easily rectified by looking at how we sit, stand and move and by making some minor adjustments.
Sore knees can often be down to tight hamstrings (the backs of your thighs) or tight quads (the front of your thighs). Simple stretching can remedy this.
Lower back pain is often caused by poor posture that usually comes from rounded shoulders , weak back muscles and weak stomach muscles. Each of these can be remedied easily without even leaving your chair. Simply sitting up straight all day & being aware of your posture can gradually correct the problem.
If you spend your days hunched over a desk, you may suffer from neck pain or tension between the shoulder blades. This can be rectified by simply stretching out the chest muscles. Placing your hand against a door frame and turning your body away so that you feel a stretch in the chest and towards the arm will help to stretch out the muscles that are becoming tight. Sitting for long periods with your shoulders rounded can cause these muscles to shorten over time and this leads to tension through the muscles of the upper back and neck as those muscles overstretch.
Headaches can often be caused through having tension in the upper body – the key is to regularly check that your upper body and arms are relaxed.
Some types of imbalances in the body can lead to acute injury. Repeated movement or impact placed on a body in a compromised position can compound over time and eventually lead to injuries such as sprains, strains, tears and even broken bones.
Improving your balance is easy to do. Start by improving your body awareness – think about your posture throughout the day and as you begin a new task. Practise balance exercises such as standing on one leg – move the other leg around to challenge your ability to balance as you improve. Try doing it with your eyes closed.
You also need to make sure you have balance in your exercise programme, ensuring that you have variety and never do too much of one activity no matter how much you may love it.
Add functional exercises to your exercise regime. Functional exercises work the muscles in the body that we use for balance and they improve your core strength. They are called functional because they replicate everyday movements and keep us fit to carry out everyday tasks. For example, if you dropped a tin of beans in the supermarket, you wouldn’t adopt an aerobics style lunge to pick them up. You’d be more likely to lean over, maybe even stand on one leg & reach down – in a nutshell, you would pick up the beans in a functional way. Your exercise routine should include functional exercises to ensure that every muscle is worked, not just the main ones and also, to help re-address muscle imbalances caused through some muscles doing more work than others.
See our Bottom’s Up instructional video to see functional exercises to improve balance & tone the lower body.