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Improving your balance and core stability

Making improvements to your balance and core strength can help your body function efficiently and reduce the risk of injury.

Balance

We often think of balance as our ability to maintain a position or movement without falling over. There are several different factors that can affect our ability to maintain our balance, some of these include:

  • Eyesight
  • Ear problems
  • Muscle weakness
  • Joint stiffness
  • Neurological diseases
  • Poor posture

It is important to understand that even if our balance is not great, it can be enhanced with regular exercises. As with most things, improving our balance requires practice. There are many basic exercises that can be performed, to slowly improve your balance.

What exercises help to improve balance?

There are many simple exercises that help to improve our balance. Even simply by walking we can exercise the parts of the body which help our balance. Some balance exercises can be very challenging but it is important to go at your own pace to avoid any injuries. You can find information on improving your balance and some useful exercises using the links below:

NHS recommended exercises for older people (Balance):http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/fitness/Documents/NHS_balance_exercise.pdf

NHS recommended exercises for older people (Strength):http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/fitness/Documents/NHS_strength_exercise.pdf

Exercises to regain balance post-vertigo:http://www.ncuh.nhs.uk/for-gps/clinical-information/cawthorne.pdf

Core Stability

Core stability relates to the strength and control of the muscles around your abdomen and trunk. If we use our core muscle during many tasks then it is important that they are able to support us when we need them. Having a strong core makes most everyday tasks easier, in particular, lifting and carrying. Having weak core muscles can make us more susceptible to adopting a poor posture and body mechanics. Weak core muscles can also lead to an increased risk of developing lower back pain.

How can we improve it?

As with any muscle, we can use exercises to train the core to improve strength. Keeping generally active will help with this. However, you can find specific training and exercises aimed at improving core strength using the links below:

Ten minute Abs workout:http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/fitness/Pages/abs-workout.aspx

Back to basics Pilates workout:http://www.nhs.uk/video/Pages/pilates.aspx?searchtype=Search&searchterm=core&offset=1&

Pilates workout for chronic back pain:http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/nhs-fitness-studio/Pages/chronic-back-pain-pilates-exercisevideo.aspx