AOA Balance Workout

Last updated: July 8, 2020, at 2:09 p.m. PT

Originally published: July 7, 2020, at 8:04 p.m. PT

AOA Balance

Optional Equipment:

  • A timer 
  • Music
  • Something to hold onto like a chair or counter-top (recommended) 

Warm-Up

You don’t need to do an extensive warm-up to do balance exercises. To warm up the body prior to doing exercise, pick one of the activities below: 

  • Put on a song and dance for 3-5 minutes! 
  • Set a timer and do 1 minute of each of the following exercises: 
     
    • March in Place: Pick up your feet, swing your arms by your side, and engage your core as you march tall.  
       
    • Alternating V-Step: Picture a letter “V” on the floor. Start at the bottom point of the ‘V,’ take a wide march forward, stepping the feet apart. Then take a step the feet back to a narrow stance, step forward with the other leg this time. 
       
    • Air Squats: Stand with your feet shoulder-distance apart. Bend the knees and the hips and sit back like you are about to sit down on a chair. Squeeze your glutes and stand back up to a tall spine; shoulders, hips, and ankles stacked. A great modification is to start seated in a chair and just go from sitting to standing. A sit-to-stand works the same muscles as a squat. 

Get Balanced

Now that you are warmed up, stand next to your chair or countertop for the balance exercises below. It will help your balance if you keep your eyes gazing slightly ahead at a fixed point. For each of these exercises, you can set a timer for 1 minute or you can count slowly to 20.  

  • Forward Leg Lift: While holding onto your chair, shift your weight onto your right leg. Lift your left leg up off of the floor, with your foot pointing forward. Keep your shoulders drawn back, engage your core, and hold the leg in the lifted position for as long as you can. You can count how long you hold your leg up for or use a timer. Once you have done this side, perform the same exercise on the other leg.  
     
  • Lateral Leg Lift: While holding onto your chair, shift your weight onto your right leg. Step your left leg to the side and lift it off of the floor, with your foot pointing to the side. Try to keep your shoulders stacked mostly over your hips, and not shift your torso sideways. Keep Keep your shoulders drawn back, engage your core, and hold the leg in the lifted position for as long as you can. You can count how long you hold your leg up for or use a timer. Once you have done this side, perform the same exercise on the other leg. 
     
  • Rear Leg Lift: While holding onto your chair, shift your weight onto your right leg. Step your left leg slightly behind you and lift it off of the floor, with your foot pointing to the back. Try to keep a tall spine and not shift your torso forward. Keep your shoulders drawn back, engage your core, and hold the leg in the lifted position for as long as you can. You can count how long you hold your leg up for or use a timer. Once you have done this side, perform the same exercise on the other leg. 
     
  • Leg Rainbow: While holding onto your chair, shift your weight onto your right leg. Picture a rainbow on the floor beside you. Take your left leg and tap your foot to the front. In a sweeping motion, make a rainbow and tap your foot to the back. Continue this motion going forward and back, taking out the tap and keep your left leg lifted the whole time if you can. Engage your core and try to keep a tall, straight spine while your leg arcs forward and back. You can count your repetitions forward and back or use a timer. Once you have done this side, perform the same exercise on the other leg. 
     
  • Tight-Rope Walk: While holding onto a counter-top, picture a tightrope on the floor. Place one foot on the tightrope and step your other foot in front so that the heel of your front foot is almost touching your toes on your back foot. Keeping this very narrow stance, take a few more steps forward. At the end of your rope, turn around and walk back. To make this exercise more challenging, take backward steps along your tightrope. Make each step slow and deliberate. 
     
  • Heel to Toe Lifts: Facing your chair or countertop, hold onto your surface. Think about your posture and take a moment to stack shoulders, hips, and ankles all in one line. Slowly lift your heels up and balance on the ball of your feet. Lower your heels down and shift your weight back slightly onto your heels, lifting your toes up off the floor. Continue this alternating lifting and lowering. Try not to speed it up and avoid rocking forward and back.  
Category: Active Older Adult