Balance, which is essential for integrated movement, declines as we age. However, you can work on maintaining your balance while working through some fun, creative core exercises. Having a strong trunk and hip complex helps us maintain balance for years to come. In your next workout, incorporate these multiplanar exercises targeting the core musculature and the glutes. Each move is done in a standing position, and equipment is optional. If you struggle with balance you can perform these exercises against a wall or while holding onto a wall or chair. We suggest that when regularly working on balance start on your non-dominant side.
Static Lunge with Lateral Spinal Flexion
- Step right foot forward, left foot back, in wide stance, with hips and toes pointing forward. Feet should be hip width apart when in your lunge and NOT lined up behind each other.
- Bend knees keeping weight even in your feet and perform a static lunge while maintaining good posture.
- While lunging, rotate arms to the right, then return to neutral spine.
- Complete 5–10 reps. on right side.
- Straighten legs and switch sides.
- Regression: Stand in narrower stance and/or do not lunge.
- Progression: Deepen lunge and add lateral spinal flexion to the right when right foot is in front and to the left when left foot is in front.
Single-Leg Squat with Spinal Rotation
- Place weight on R foot and slightly lift L foot (you can also keep toe down).
- Bring hands up and press palms at chest’s center.
- Sit back into mini squat, maintaining neutral spine.
- Complete 5–10 reps, R side.
- Repeat on left side.
- Regression: Instead of squatting, focus on standing upright. Can add the rotation once you have mastered standing on one leg.
- Progression: Once in mini squat, rotate shoulders to the right with head following. Rotate back to the center and exit squat.
- Place L foot directly in front of R, as if standing on balance beam.
- Lift heels and come onto balls of feet, then lower. Lift and lower heels 3x–5x, then stay lifted.
- Raise arms overhead while maintaining neutral spine and relaxed shoulders. Hold for 10–30 seconds, then lower arms and heels back to floor.
- Regression: Keep heels on floor.
- Progression: Close eyes briefly.
Tree in the Wind
- Begin in tree pose. Place weight on L foot. Bend R knee, externally rotate R hip, and put R foot on L calf or inner thigh. Do not place foot on knee.
- Lift arms overhead, keeping shoulders relaxed.
- Begin by flexing, extending or rotating wrists (as if the tree were moving in a slight breeze).
- Hold for 30–45 seconds, then lower arms and place R foot down.
- Switch sides and repeat.
- Regression: Keep one toe on the floor and keep arms lowered by sides.
- Progression: Add lateral spinal flexion in both directions.
IDEA Fit Newsletter, Sarah Schrenk, MS; 11/18