Improving your balance can protect you against injuries such as ankle sprains and from falls, particularly if you enjoy running off road on trails or in the woods. In this blog post you will find some balance exercises to help you improve your balance and help prevent running injuries.
Try standing on one leg and then close your eyes. How wobbly are you? That wobbly feeling is your body making balance adjustments based on feedback from proprioceptors located in the muscles, tendons and joints. This is proprioception at work, and is our body’s ability to balance.
Our ability to balance declines with age but the good news is it is very responsive to training and you will quickly notice improvements.
Balance exercises for running
If you have pre-existing knee pain it is best to avoid balance exercises until you are pain free. Here are a few exercises to get started, you can add a balance ball or wobble board as you progress.
- Start by simply standing on one leg and balancing (have a chair or wall close to hand for safety) and repeat several times on each leg (you can practice this when brushing your teeth)!
- Make it harder by closing your eyes.
- Try circling your arms around an imaginary clock face slowly from above the head at 12.00 and sweep as low as you can at 6.00.
- Stand on one leg with a ball or light object placed in front of your toes. Keeping your core braced hinge forward to pick up the object whilst counter swinging the leg backwards. Take the object above the head and then place the object back to the floor. Repeat 3-6 times each leg without touching the toe down.