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How to Improve Balance and Coordination

Holly Smith

By: Holly Smith, M.D. - Osteopathic Medicine, B.S. - Dietetics, NASM-PES Certified Trainer,

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

how to improve balance and coordination

Every workout plan should have a focus on balance and coordination. But, how to improve balance and coordination isn't always easy to figure out.

When developing a fitness routine, it’s easy to focus so much on strength training and cardio that the importance of balance and flexibility gets lost in the shuffle.

Since a lot of balance workouts don’t burn tons of calories, this area of fitness often gets neglected.

This is especially true for busy moms trying to fit in a workout whenever they can.

However, balance and coordination are just as important as aerobic workouts, and even more so as women age.

By incorporating balance and coordination workouts one to two times a week, you can ensure that you are getting the most out of your fitness plan.

Ready to learn how to improve balance and coordination?

Read this to find the Pilates workout that's right for YOU!

How to Improve Balance and Coordination

Balance exercises are crucial to help you build strength for all of your regular daily activities.

Plus, these exercises also help to maintain flexibility and range of motion in your joints and decrease the risk of injury.

In addition, balance exercises will help strengthen your core which in turn will improve all of your other workouts.

Exercises that improve balance and coordination have been found to help reduce falls and the risk of injury in older women.

In one study, a 12-month balance training program helped improve functional balance, static balance, mobility, and falling frequency in elderly women with osteoporosis.

This is just one important reason to include balance exercises in training.

But these exercises aren’t only beneficial for older women. All ages can enjoy the benefits of improving balance and coordination.

For instance, a study done on collegiate athletes found that functional balance activities should be added to any form of strength and conditioning program in an attempt to enhance not only the effectiveness of their fitness program but also to improve posture.

This not only aids in performance, but also in the prevention of injury in young athletic females.

In addition, stretching and balance exercises, like yoga and Pilates, can also help decrease stress and improve sleep.

Adequate sleep and recovery are critical to keeping your mind and body healthy and fit.

There are a number of exercises and workouts that can improve balance and coordination in women.

Yoga

Yoga is a great workout for both the mind and the body.

By focusing on stability, comfort, and breathing, one can obtain body awareness, which aids in improving balance and coordination.

Yoga requires a great deal of balance and self-control to maintain certain postures and movements.

By incorporating yoga one to two times a week, women can improve both physical and emotional balance.

These techniques also enhance strength and flexibility, which benefit all activities of daily living, and substantially improve coordination in women of all ages.

Studies have even confirmed the obvious benefits of yoga.

For example, when compared to individuals leading a more sedentary lifestyle, yoga has been found to improve postural control and coordination in adults.

Pilates

Pilates uses specific exercises to stretch, strengthen and balance the body.

In some ways, it is similar to yoga in that it focuses on deep breathing and a mind-body connection to enhance fitness.

However, Pilates also focuses on optimal functional fitness to improve posture and body awareness.

The systematic exercises used in Pilates not only build core strength but also lead to numerous other benefits that influence balance.

This includes spine and joint mobility, proprioception, balance, and coordination training.

When integrated into other resistance and endurance training programs, Pilates is another tool to help improve overall fitness in women.

Learn how to have good balance as you age with these 5 exercises!

Bodyweight Exercises

Resistance workouts that incorporate bodyweight exercises do more than just build muscular strength and cardiovascular endurance.

These exercises can also improve balance and coordination.

Since you don’t need weights or special equipment, you can incorporate these types of exercises right from home.

One study looked at women that were divided into calisthenic training (bodyweight exercises), pilates training, or no training.

It found that bodyweight exercises actually improved coordination more than Pilates exercises.

Here are examples of some bodyweight exercises that will build strength, balance, and coordination.

Side Lunge with Hold

  • Start standing with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Step out to the left with your left foot and lower into a side lung while keeping your right leg straight.
  • Then push off of your left foot to stand and raise your left knee so that you are balancing on your right leg.
  • Repeat for 10-12 reps, then switch sides.

Single-Leg Bodyweight Dead Lift

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart with most of your weight on your right leg.
  • Extend your left leg back as you hinge forward until your chest is parallel to the floor.
  • Then, stand up and bring your left knee to your chest.
  • Repeat for 12 reps, then switch sides.

Lateral Skaters

  • Start with your feet hip-width apart with weight slightly on the right leg.
  • Push off the right leg as you jump sideways and land with your left foot.
  • Hold for a second and then push off your left leg and jump over onto your right foot.
  • Keep repeating back and forth until you complete 10-12 reps on each side.

These 10 easy bodyweight exercises for beginners are easy on your joints and require ZERO equipment!

Bosu Ball Exercises

If you have access to a Bosu Ball, this is an excellent piece of equipment to build balance and proprioception.

If you are unfamiliar with this exercise tool, a Bosu Ball is basically half of an inflated exercise ball with a flat platform on one side to balance on.

You can stand on either side of (the ball side or flat side) depending on the exercise to really engage your core and improve your balance.

You can take simple bodyweight workouts such as those mentioned above, and do them using a Bosu Ball instead.

This will add a serious challenge and really enhance your level of coordination and fitness.

Try out some of these Bosu balance exercises during your next workout session:

Single-Leg Stand

  • Place the Bosu flat side down and place your right foot in the middle of the ball side.
  • Step up onto it, and lift your left leg as you balance on your right.
  • Try to hold this for 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.

Glute Bridge

  • Start with the Bosu flat side down.
  • Lay on your back with your knees bent, and both of your feet flat on the Bosu ball.
  • Push through your feet and lift your butt off the ground until your hips are fully extended, squeezing your glutes at the top.
  • Then lower your hips back down to the ground.
  • Repeat for 10-12 reps.

Bosu Squat

  • Place the Bosu flat side down.
  • Place both feet on the Bosu ball, standing with your heels in the middle and your toes pointing out.
  • Squat down and extend your arms out in front of you.
  • Then stand back up to the starting position.
  • Repeat 10-12 times.
  • Once you master this move, you can make this more challenging by putting the ball side of the Bosu down and trying to stand on the flat side as you squat.

Holly Smith
Holly Smith

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

Holly is an osteopathic physician, runner, triathlete, and fitness and nutrition enthusiast.

She is board certified in nephrology and internal medicine, has a bachelors degree in dietetics and is a certified personal trainer with NASM-PES certification.

Holly has completed four full ironmans, twelve marathons, countless half ironmans, olympic distance triathlons, half marathons and numerous other road races.

Holly joined the Fit Father Project in May 2019 as a regular writer, contributing articles on health, wellness, exercise, and nutrition.

She has also recently qualified for the 2020 World Championships for Ironman 70.3, in New Zealand!

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