3 Simple Balance Exercises You Can Try at Home


Working on your balance doesn’t need to involve any fancy equipment and can be as simple as putting a 2x4 on a stack of books or yoga blocks to create a simple beam! Or if you aren’t so confident with your balance, try the 2x4 on the floor by itself first. Then give these 3 moves a try:

Pelvic listing on the beam is a great way to work on single leg standing and get your lateral hip muscles doing their job again. Stand on he beam on one foot and focus on pulling your hip inward to keep it stacked above your ankle.

Heel-to-toe standing and walking on the beam. If you have to move quickly along the beam it’s an indicator you don’t have good balance control. The slower you move here the better.

And the trickiest one for me: walking sideways along the beam. Try it both directions!

Some tips to get more out of your balance work:

Try this in front of a mirror for feedback and motor learning. This helps integrate your brain and your body.

Try your balance...

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10 Quotes to Change Your Perception of Aging

 

In my years as a physical therapist and restorative exercise specialist helping adults age well, I’ve realized aging well has more to do with mindset than any lack of knowledge of health. The adults I encounter who age well both view aging as a positive experience and maintain a strong mind-body connection as they age. The clients I’ve worked with have inspired me to do a lot of research over the years on healthy aging and these quotes have all inspired me along the way. I hope they do the same for you.

“Becoming an Old Person in Training makes it easier to think critically about what age means in this society and the forces at work behind depictions of older people as useless and pathetic. Shame can damage self-esteem and quality of life as much as externally imposed stereotyping. Becoming an Old Person in Training is a political act, because it derails this shame and self-loathing. It undoes the “otherness” that powers ageism (and...

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3 Simple Floor Mobility Drills

 

Wanting to gain some strength while improving your floor mobility? Try out these 3 simple but powerful floor mobility drills. A few things to keep in mind as you try these:

 You’ll get more out of them if you move as slow as you possibly can. I mean painfully slow.

 If you only get part of the way through the motion and find yourself plopping back on the floor, grab a few bolsters like a cushion to raise the level of the surface you're sitting on. Bolstering means meeting your body where it’s currently at and allowing you to work within your given range.

 This is an example of taking a bigger movement like floor transfers and breaking that movement down into smaller pieces to improve your technique and expand your options. You can do this with any skill, it’s super fun!

 

Looking for more on progressing your floor transfers and floor mobility? Check out the Mindful Movement Collective!

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5 Natural Movements You Should Be Able to Do at Any Age

In recent years, research continues to find that physical mobility is one of the strongest indicators of the risk of chronic disease as we age. In hospitals around the country, staff members at all levels are being trained to help screen patients for mobility upon admission and before their return to home. Walking is now considered a 6th vital sign and physicians are increasingly encouraged to screen their patients for their walking ability. 

In the clinic, we often aren’t seeing clients until they’re having a problem with their mobility. It’s our mission to make sure everyone has an awareness of subtle warning signs before there’s a problem. Upon every initial assessment, we screen our clients for 5 natural movements that give us a comprehensive picture of their mobility and help them guide their course of action. 

Below is the list of movements we perform at every initial assessment. If you can perform the 5 below movements AND maintain your...

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Video: How and Why to Do the Forward Bend

 

One of the keys to core stability, minimizing low back pain, and powerful walking is being able to maintain a neutral pelvis throughout the day. If you're dealing with tight and/or weak hamstrings though, it's impossible to get yourself into a neutral pelvis position.

Due to excessive time spent in chairs, most of us have developed BOTH tight and weak hamstrings. The hamstrings are a large muscle group that runs up the back of the thigh, attaching just below the knee and to the base of the pelvis. This tightness of the hamstrings pulls your pelvis into a tucked position, rendering your core useless and putting excessive compression on your low back. Not a happy situation for your back or pelvic floor!

Our favorite way to lengthen the hamstrings is to do a standing forward bend. This is a stretch we've all seen before, but also has a lot of potential for some compensations we want to avoid. Most mistakenly believe the goal of this stretch is to touch the toes... However, as we...

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Want to Feel More Balanced? Start with Your Feet.

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you we will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Did you know that 25% of your bones and muscles are located below the ankle? And yet our feet tend to be one of the most overlooked parts of our body, at least as far as proactive care goes. No one thinks about their feet until there’s a problem.

Due to the volume of joints and muscles of the feet, stiffness in this area of the body is one of the biggest contributors to balance problems. Your feet play a major role in the intricate systems that keeps you balanced. The more rigid your feet, the more difficult it is to balance.

One of the best places you can start to improve your balance is to improve the mobility of your feet. The more impact from the environment your feet absorb, the less work the rest of your body has to do to keep you balanced.

The first step to better foot mobility is to consider how you treat...

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Need to Get Moving But Feel Overwhelmed? Start Here.

Do you realize your balance is declining, but feel lost on where to start improving it? Notice that your mobility isn’t what it used to be, but not sure how to take the first step to make it better?

We all get a little lost sometimes, especially when it comes to our health as we age. As a physical therapist, my job is to break things down into the smallest possible pieces to help get someone moving and build confidence. Taking small steps gets the ball rolling and banishes overwhelm.

Just remember, all it takes is just one step every day in the right direction. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, start with the list below to guide you in the right direction.

1. Start small and safe.

The best place to start to build balance and movement confidence is to break things down into smaller parts, perform a lot of repetitions, and set yourself up in a safe environment.

A great place to start is to write a list of all the movements you don’t feel confident doing. For...

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Video: The How and Why of the Calf Stretch

 

One of the first exercises we teach our new clients is the calf stretch. And for good reason!

We've written blog posts in the past about the importance of taking care of the health of your feet (which you can find here, here, and here). But long story short, your feet are your foundation. Improving your foot mobility is a great first step (pun intended) toward better health. 

Watch the video above to learn how to do the calf stretch. 

To set up: In this exercise, we use a half foam roll. But if you don't have a half foam roll a rolled up towel will work great! 

Take your shoes off, this exercise is best performed barefoot. Stand in front of your half foam roll (or towel) with your feet spaced pelvis width apart. Make sure your feet are aligned straight, like the cars on a tire. Look down and if they are angled outward take a minute to straighten them. Focus on maintaining this alignment throughout the exercise.

If you aren't sure about your balance, position...

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Balance: Does Your Perception Meet Reality?

 

Last summer for my 32nd birthday, I thought it would be a great idea to climb a tree. I hadn’t climbed a tree since I was very young, but it’s something I used to do all the time. So I thought nothing of it. Our front yard has a perfect climbing tree I’d been eyeing for some time.

We’ve all climbed trees as kids and felt confident in our ability to do it. The last time I climbed it was no problem and I assumed I would feel that way going into this. In fact, I thought getting myself onto the first branch would be easy. I could see a clear path to climb up a few branches beyond that.

But I think we all know where this story is going.

It turns out, climbing a tree is pretty difficult when you haven’t done it for a few decades. Not only did I need help getting up to the first low branch, once I was there I didn’t feel confident in my ability to stay balanced at all. I found myself staring at the ground, both hands on the branch, feeling as though I...

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The Rebels Guide to "Exercise"

Ever considered yourself a rebel, or maybe just want to be one?

If so, you’ve likely always hated the idea of a regular “exercise” habit. Even if you understand the health benefits, you’ve always been opposed to the regimented lifestyle of exercise.

Or maybe you’ve just always found traditional exercise boring. That’s the position I’d always found myself in until I learned about movement-based lifestyles.

Even if you’ve always hated traditional exercise, that doesn’t mean you can’t experience all the health benefits of movement.

Let’s talk about how a movement-based lifestyle is the answer for you and your rebellious lifestyle.

Why a Movement-Based Lifestyle?

Adopting a movement-based lifestyle involves customizing movement to fit your current lifestyle.

That’s right. You don’t need to change much other than your mindset and your environment to gain all...

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