Sitting to Standing and vice versa. One way to assess physical ability, including balance, is to include functional exercises into your routine. These moments simulate activities that we would do on a regular basis but may have altered due to gradual weakness. For example, do you use your arms to push yourself from a seated to standing position? Do you ‘plop’ down when sitting? With the Sit to Stand, the goal is to stand up using the leg/hip muscles rather than the arms. With the Stand to Sit the goal is to guide bodyweight down with the rear end softly touching the seat. The benefits? Greatly improved lower body strength for daily activities such as walking, going up and down stairs, cleaning, getting in and out of a car, etc.
For safety and peace of mind, get a doctor’s clearance before beginning a new exercise program. In addition, stand next to a sturdy surface when working on balance, and have a person with you if possible. If balance is poor, lightly holding onto or touching a countertop, table, or other object helps to feel more at ease, allowing for greater focus on the task at hand.
It is not uncommon to do well on a particular movement one day, only to find it feels difficult the next. This is the nature of training, and stems from many factors, so don’t get discouraged. Instead, focus on the objective, to promote independence and improve quality of life.
Balance training promotes the strength of stabilizing muscles, and with consistency and patience improvement occurs. Signs that you are progressing might be holding a position for a longer period of time, advancing to more challenging exercises or less need to hold on.
Not all balance problems stem from lack of strength. Other factors may include medical conditions/medications, alcohol use, hearing or visual impairments, and safety hazards in or around the home such as loose cords or rugs, etc. Taking preventative measures sooner rather than later will help you to avoid potential problems.
Marjie Gilliam is an International Sports Sciences Master certified personal trainer and fitness consultant. She owns Custom Fitness Personal Training Services LLC. Send email to email@example.com.