Balance

Strength Exercises

1/2 Squats 

Key Points: Try to maintain good posture, allow your knees to follow the line of your toes and push through the heels of your feet.

Benefits: Practicing the skill of standing out of a chair is a fantastic thing to do as it’s a functional movement that we rely on every day. It’s also a very efficient exercise in the sense that it works multiple muscle groups simultaneously. I’ve picked the half squat variation because it’s a lot safer and puts the emphasis on the lower portion of the traditional squat which tends to be the more challenging bit. It also creates more time under tension because it eliminates the point where you would normally stand up straight, releasing all of the tension in the muscles.

Glute Kickback 

Key Points: Keep your leg as straight as possible, hold your torso upright and brace your core muscles to create more stability.

Benefits: This exercise works your glutes (buttocks). These are the biggest muscles in the human body and play an important role in stability and controlling the movements of the lower body.

Calf Raises

Key Points: Go up onto your toes as high as you can to get a full contraction of the calf muscle. Aim for 20 or more repetitions and apply downwards force onto your knees with your hands if you want to add resistance.

Benefits: This exercise works the calf muscles of the lower leg which are responsible for moving the foot back and forth for example when walking.

Crunches 

Key Points: Hold good posture, keep the movement slow and controlled exhaling on the way up and inhaling on the way down.

Benefits: Crunches target your abdominals which support the trunk, allow movement of the spine and protect internal organs.

Knee to elbow

Key Points: Focus on rotating and crunching simultaneously. Remember to exhale whilst the elbow touches the knee and inhale as you sit upright.

Benefits: This exercise also works the abdominals however the element of rotation means that we target the obliques which are the strips of muscles either side of the abdominals. Our obliques help with flexing, bending and rotating of the torso but also provide support for the lower back.

Balance Exercises

One leg stand 

Key Points: Holding one arm out to the side and engaging the core muscles will help to create stability. Just hold this for a short period of time and gradually build it up.

Benefits: This exercise strengthens the feet, ankles, knees and hips. It also challenges our balance, causing the brain to create new nerve connections which help us to stay upright.

Marching

Key Points: Hold both arms out to the side if necessary and only bring your knee up as high as you are comfortable with. It’s also worth having a chair or table within reaching distance for safety.

Benefits: This again, challenges our balance and our ability to transfer weight from one leg to the other. This type of weight baring exercise can also increase bone density.

Tightrope walk 

Key Points: Walk in a straight line placing each foot directly in front of the other as if you were walking on a tight rope.

Benefits: This improves coordination and control of the lower body.

Stretches

Quadriceps 

Key Points: Start by shuffling forwards in your chair before pulling your foot towards you underneath the chair. You should feel a stretch in the top of your leg just above your knee.

Benefits: This will improve circulation round the upper leg and reduce any potential soreness post exercise.

Calves

Key Points: Again, shuffle forwards in your chair. Then your going to extend one leg out in front of you and pull your toes up towards your shin. you should feel a stretch in the back of your lower leg.

Benefits: This will reduce soreness in the calf and alleviate cramping.

Glutes 

Key Points: Cross one leg over the other, apply some pressure to your knee with your arm and then slowly lean forwards until you can feel a stretch through your buttock area.

Benefits: This stretch will improve your range of motion in your hip joint and reduce risk of injury.

Torso Twist

Key Points: Rotate in one direction keeping your back straight until you can feel a stretch. Hold it there for 30 seconds before repeating on the other side.

Benefits: This is a great stretch for improving mobility and reducing tightness in the back muscles.