It is no secret that there are many things that happen to our bodies as we age—some more noticeable than others. On the list of not so noticeable is that as we get older we lose our sense of balance.
Not a big deal, right?
Actually, balance is a pretty big deal to your health.
In fact, most ACL injuries occur simply from someone missing a step or stepping off a curb incorrectly. The muscles are unstable and are unable to correct even such a small error.
Without correction, this problem becomes worse over time, making it difficult to bend over and pick things up off the floor without having to hold onto something, or even difficulty tying one’s shoes.
The good news is that there are some simple exercises that can be done to begin correcting this problem. We will start with the single leg toe touch. It requires no weight and very little space, so it can be done in the privacy of your own home.
Single Leg Toe Touch
Try this exercise in front of a mirror so that you can keep an eye on your form and make adjustments.
- Stand on one leg in front of the mirror, and be sure that your abs are drawn in tight (pull your belly button into your spine).
- Raise one arm out in front of you and bend from the waist and reach toward your toe. (If you cannot touch your toe without falling over, just go down as far as you can while maintaining control. Your range of motion should improve in a week or two of doing this exercise every day.)
- Squeeze your glutes on the way back into the upright position, similar to how you would perform a dead lift.
Perform 20 reps on one leg, and then switch to the other leg and do 20 reps.
It is very important to keep your weight in your heel throughout the duration of this exercise. You can check this by whether or not you can wiggle your toes throughout the exercise.
If you are performing this exercise correctly you should “feel the burn” in your glutes, hips, and the anterior tibialis (the muscle next to the shin). If your calves are burning, it likely means that your weight was in your toes instead of your heel.
Tip: For an extra challenge, add a 5 or 10 pound weight to the hand that is reaching toward the toes.