Your body and mind can experience a lot of great health benefits from improving your flexibility and balance. Here are some ways to improve your flexibility and balance, and the benefits you’ll enjoy from doing so:
Improve Your Flexibility and Balance
- Channel your inner yogi. There are many different types of yoga, but what they all have in common is that they help improve your balance and flexibility. If it’s totally new to you, consider trying a few basic poses when you get up in the morning or before you go to bed. Tai Chi is also a great option to improve your balance and mind-body connection.
- Strengthen your core. Don’t worry, this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to learn to love crunches. You can strengthen your core doing simple things, like making an effort to stand or sit up straight with your shoulders back as often as possible. Trade your chair for a yoga or balance ball. Remember, your core includes your back as well, and strengthening your core muscles in the front and back will help prevent pain or injury.
- Stretch after your workout. While it’s important to warm up before a workout, you can actually do yourself more harm than good if you stretch when your muscles are cold. Try dynamic stretching as a warm-up, and make static stretching your cool-down instead. Take five minutes before and after your workout to stretch and improve your flexibility.
- Stand up. Standing up straight in general will help strengthen your core and improve your balance. But you can step it up a notch. When you stand, hold one foot out in front of you a few inches. It doesn’t have to be much—just enough that you’re working a little harder to keep your balance. Aim for ten seconds. To make it easier, stand on one foot and lift your other foot behind you, rather than in front of you, bending at the knee.
- Walk heel-to-toe. When you’re walking short distances, like from your room to the bathroom or from your desk to the printer, try walking heel-to-toe in as straight of a line as you can. It’s tougher than it sounds, and can really help improve your balance.
Flexibility and Balance Benefits
- Improve your range of motion. Better balance and flexibility keep your muscles and joints primed, giving you better range of motion throughout your day. The benefit? Movement is easier and more comfortable.
- Reduce aches and pains. If you experience arthritis or other aches and pains as a result of your job, improving your flexibility through regular stretching can help reduce your pain.
- Prevent falls and injury. Good balance and flexibility allows your body to be more in control in your physical environment. This awareness and physical ability can help prevent falls and injury during your day-to-day activities, as well as in athletic activities.
- Enjoy lifelong benefits. No matter your age, you’ll benefit from flexibility and balance. Being able to move comfortably makes daily living more enjoyable, whether you’re sitting in a classroom in your teens, baling hay in your 30s, or playing with your grandkids in your 70s.
Sources: American Heart Association, Harvard Health Publications, Mayo Clinic