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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The Health Implications of Kyphosis

 

Kyphosis is an excessive forward curvature of the upper spine, and in today's video, we discuss the health implications of developing kyphosis. 

Kyphosis is most often thought of as an aesthetic issue, but it goes far beyond appearance. Kyphosis impacts how your ribcage and the vital organs it holds functions. It can also limit the function the muscles and joints surrounding the ribcage. It can also impact the bone density of the vertebrae. 

Kyphosis is caused by a combination of forces throughout the upper back. Muscle imbalances that pull the spine in this position are created by our movement habits, including excessive time spent sitting in front of computers and on cell phones. 

The great news is that this problem is reversible and preventable! For more on kyphosis and corrective exercises used to reverse it, check out the full-length kyphosis class in our Mindful Movement Collective

 

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We’re All Old People in Training, So Train Wisely

 

“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.” -Ashton Applewhite

When most people talk about aging, they portray this picture of decline. Hold onto this misguided belief the best years are behind them. Sadly the anti-aging message is pervasive in our society. And the increasing rates of social isolation among older adults speaks volumes about our views on aging.

But what if instead, we looked at aging as a time of growth? How drastically does that change this image?

There isn’t something specific about aging that causes a state of decline. Your beliefs are what cause change with age. Nothing more. By telling ourselves we've gotten "too old to..." we initiate the process of decline. If we'd just admit that yes, we are in fact getting older, embrace this fact, and view aging as an opportunity for further growth we’d...

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Find Your Tribe: Reach Your Goals with a Healthy Aging Community

A staggering 28% of adults in the US over the age of 65 live alone. In recent years, a substantial amount of research has found on isolation in our later years increases the risk of adverse health events. Older adults who feel isolated are more likely to develop chronic disease, depression, and dementia. Isolation also increases the risk of mortality. 

On a similar note, one of the most common concerns I hear from clients in the clinic is the lack of social support in reaching their health goals. They express that it’s difficult to make healthier choices because of others around them, or a lack of people around them. It’s hard to get friends and family members on board while changing to health-conscious habits. It’s also more difficult to make healthier choices when you’re feeling alone. 

As Jim Rohn famously said, “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” Therefore, if you want a healthier life, seek out...

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How to Avoid Becoming Actively Sedentary

Most of us are familiar with the picture of sedentary living, but did you know it’s also possible to be actively sedentary? Actively sedentary is a new category of people who exercise for about an hour per day but are sedentary for the other 23 hours.

Mind-blowing, right? This means that someone who is meeting or even exceeding the American Heart Association’s physical activity guidelines for adults can still be sedentary.

Avoid becoming actively sedentary by adopting a movement-based lifestyle, in which movement is an integral part of your day to day activities. Small actions matter. Sit on the floor instead of the couch. Walk short intervals throughout your day, about 3–5 miles in total. Take your shoes off and let your feet experience some texture. Just keep yourself moving. The less your body stays in one position for a prolonged amount of time the better. Living this way is simple and requires no equipment, so there is no...

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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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The Difference Between Aging and Being "Under-Moved"

One of our favorite quotes from one of our favorite books on aging! It is possible to be young and weak because you aren't moving enough, just as it is possible to be old and strong because you move often. 

Being "under-moved" as a society is a great health crisis than aging. Make the choice to start aging well today by getting yourself moving in any way you can. Let us know how you are moving today in the comments, we would love to hear about it!

 

Want to learn more about mindful movement? Sign up for our email newsletters and receive our Balance, Falls, and Brain Health course FREE today.

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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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Stop Trying to Defy Aging. Embrace It Instead.

“Ageism is prejudice against our own future selves.” -Ashton Applewhite

We see the phrase “anti-aging” everywhere. It’s obviously at the forefront of everyone’s minds.

But newsflash: we’re all aging.

There isn’t anything you can do to stop it.

And yet all we hear about are the negative aspects of aging. And this constant push to try to put a stop to a process that’s an inevitable aspect of life.

It’s become painfully apparent we live in an ageist society.

If you look around, you’ll notice a pattern. Of all the advertising to buy products or services to “hide” the fact that we’re aging.

And the real danger here is our thought patterns dictate our actions. Both our individual actions and the actions of society. When you take a look around, it becomes obvious we’ve structured world to discriminate against older adults. This TED Talk on ageism by Ashton Applewhite sums this up perfectly.

...
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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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