Balance, or the ability to steadily control your body in a variety of positions, is necessary for virtually every physical task of your life. No, you do not need to be an Olympic gymnast to care about this. Consider the following tasks: getting in and out of a car, taking a shower, running after the bus you just missed, walking your dog, or stretching in your favorite yoga class.
Now, imagine how hard these things would be to do if you couldn't maintain your balance.
Truly everyone should spend time on seeking better balance--especially as we tend to lose this skill as we get older. And since falls among the elderly is literally a billion dollar problem in this country (not to mention a huge threat to the health and quality of life of our older loved ones), it makes sense that taking the time to improve your balance now can have personal and maybe even societal implications in the future.
Fortunately, it's relatively simple to maintain and improve your balance through challenging daily exercise. Emphasizing on a few key muscle groups that help you control balance will give you the biggest bang for your buck, too. Here are 5 to focus on.
5 Muscles or Muscle Groups Critical for Maintaining Balance (And How to Strengthen Them)
In general, the muscles that you need to achieve better balance need to be as enduring as they are strong. So, stick to sets of higher repetitions with lower weight (or body weight only) to increase endurance and avoid injury.
1. The Erector Spinae
2. The Obliques and Abdominals
The most famous of your "core" muscles, your obliques (along the sides of your trunk) and your abdominals (along the front of your stomach) balance out the erector spinae and improve your overall postural stability. Try these: hollow holds, side planks, kettlebell side bends, and elbow to hand planks (also helps improve shoulder stability). Want an extra challenging combo? Try the hollow hold into superman hold shown here.
3. The Glutes
These large muscles (3 altogether) make up your butt and are critical for balance. Bigger, multi-joint movements like squats and lunges should be a staple in your weekly workout routine, but you can also target the glutes through things like single-leg hip extension.
4. The "PGOGOQ's"
You may have never heard about that acronym before, but the 6 deep hip muscles it's referring to are critically important for pelvic and hip stability, in addition to supporting core balance. Try this: side lying leg raises with and without resistance, standing lateral rotation, and monster walks.
5. The Peroneals, Tibialis Anterior, and Tibialis Posterior
These small muscles provide stability around your ankles, and though small, they play a huge role in your motor control and balance. For strength and stability around the ankle, try these: airplane pose, Bosu ball exercises, and step downs.
Give these exercises a try this week hopefully it will help you attain better balance!