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Stay Strong - Balance

Caroline Stephens photo Caroline Stephens · 26 Oct, 2020

In these times when we're so limited in what we can and can't do - how can we keep moving, stay strong, and even build some inner strength at the same time?

This time: balance. Because sometimes life throws us, and it's good to grab a moment to regroup and work on our inner poise.

Hi, I'm Caroline, I'm a fitness Pilates trainer, and this is Staying Strong. We're looking at how, in isolation, we can stay active, sane, and build some inner strength.

Today's session, we're looking at an exercise that isn't a typical strength exercise, but I'm including it in this session because it will work some deeper core muscles.

Balance, we're gonna start by balancing on one leg. So find somewhere you've got a bit of space, you're not gonna trip over, and just take one foot off the floor and balance on one leg. So as soon as we start balancing, muscles in our ankles, our feet, our core, our hips, our legs, have to start working to balance and stabilise us.

If you're wobbling, feel free to hold onto something. So I'm finding, in isolation, you have good days and you have bad days. On these badder days, those harder days, your balance is sometimes slightly off, and you might need to hold on. You might need a bit of support. So feel free to hold onto something if you need to. Ask for someone for some help if you need to.

On good days, you might be thinking, this is fine. I can balance really easily here. So you might wanna add a bit of a challenge to this. So add some arms. You can float your arms up, out, and down. Up, out, and down. You can take them higher and round. As soon as you add the arms, your muscles are having to work a little bit more to stabilise you. Good, draw the stomach muscles in. Hold them in there.

Okay, another option is try closing your eyes. As soon as you close your eyes, it's harder to balance normally. Normally, it makes it harder. Good. Feel free to open your eyes if you need to. Try and relax your shoulders. If you need to take a break, do. But if you can, keep balancing. Try not to hold your breath.

So balance works some deeper stomach muscles and they're really important for stabilising your spine and helping your balance. A lot of exercises you see people doing, like crunches, are working some superficial stomach muscles. They're important, but these deeper core muscles behind do loads of work at stabilising us, helping us as we walk in our everyday life, that are really important to strengthen.

So let's have a quick march. We'll try the other leg now. So I find my left leg harder to balance on. See if you have one side that is harder than the other, and just focus the eyes on something not moving. Again, if you wanna make it harder, close your eyes. Balance there, good.

Okay, we're gonna add a little bit of movement through the leg. So we're gonna kick a leg forwards and then tap it back. Kick it forwards and tap it back. Good, keep going. Again, feel free to just balance if you'd rather, but working some strong stomach muscles. Don't worry if you're wobbling.

Good, and then we'll just take the knee up and down, up and down. Good, four more. Excellent! Good, good. Have a little march on the spot.

So that's just a couple of ideas that you could try to strengthen your balance and strengthen some deeper stomach muscles that we don't work as often. And those deeper muscles will make a big difference. Like now, in this time of lockdown, we're building some inner strength, like resilience, that are really gonna help us going forward in our lives. So keep going, little steps forward. Take care, bye.

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