You’ve resigned yourself to the fact that your schedule is never going to be in balance. You aren’t admitting defeat; you’ve just accepted that when you have a job you love, a big family, a passion for supporting the local arts scene and a stack of books it may take a lifetime to finish someone or something in your life is always going to get slighted.
No, work/life balance is no longer a goal. You are content to be working towards harmony.
Your body balance, however, is another story. You nearly fell off the dock trying to get the boat ready for summer. You stumbled way too many times on your last hike on a rocky path near your cabin that never used to give you trouble. Kids running at you with open arms and pouncing dogs have both knocked you over recently.
Where did your balance go?
Balance is like a foreign language; if you don’t use it you lose it. Most of us don’t practice balancing on a regular basis. Add to that the age related loss of muscle mass called sarcopenia and you can kiss your balance good-bye. Unless of course you decided to take action.
Try a simple test. See how long you can stand on one leg. One minute is ideal but anything less than 30 seconds means you need to focus on improving your balance now.
Here are three targeted exercises to improve balance from a recent Fit Life segment on Ozarks Today.
Half Kneeling Rotations and Chops: A half kneeling position engages core muscles that are important for balance as well as stabilizers in the legs. Start in a half kneeling position with fingertips behind your ears. Rotate your elbow towards the front knee, keeping the knee and torso stable. Return to forward facing and repeat 10-15 times before switching sides. You can progress this exercise by holding a weight or cable and performing a chopping motion across the body.
Weight Shifts: Stand with feet a little wider than shoulder width apart. Lean to your right and put all your weight into your right foot while lifting the left foot off the ground. Hold for 3-5 seconds and return to start. Then shift to your left with all of your weight on your left foot and lift your right foot off the ground, again holding for 3-5 seconds. Repeat for 10-15 repetitions on both sides.
Heal to Toe Balance Walk: Imagine a tight rope in front of you. Take one step forward, with your right foot coming down directly in front of the left. As you walk, lift the knee up before placing the foot down in front of the foot on the ground. Repeat for 10-15 steps per side.
These exercises can be part of a warm up routine or something you do while catching up on your reading list via Audible. You’ll also want to add a few specific exercises to your strength training routine for better balance. (If your not strength training you need to start!) For the lower body, I recommend step-ups, walking lunges and single leg bridges. For your core, build a stable foundation with planks, bird-dogs and standing wood chops done with a dumbbell, resistance band or using a cable machine. Add these exercises in now so you can keep up with the kids, dogs and art walk crowds later.