Sideways Balance

Below is a video for about sideways balance. Why sideways? Because most people aren’t too good at it.

Most of our movement throughout the day is forward, so the body and brain get very little practice moving sideways. Then one day someone bumps into you, or a big gust of wind catches you off guard, or you lose your balance for no particular reason, and your body moves sideways suddenly, and your brain doesn’t know how to handle it.

This exercise is designed to teach your brain what sideways movement feels like so it knows how to react and properly control the muscles to keep you balanced.

All we’re going to do is step sideways back and forth. As we often do, I’ll have you stand by the sink or something you can hold on to while you do it.

As you step sideways, you are creating sideways momentum. Then as you put your foot down and shift your weight onto it, your brain has to figure out what muscles to activate so you can control that force and stay balanced.

Sounds simple, but there are four different levels of difficulty for this exercise. Watch the video and notice the differences between each level. We’ll talk more about each level after the video.

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Sideways Balance Explanation


Level 1 – Step to the right with your right foot. Then move your left foot to the right and set it down next to your right foot. Now step back to where you started, moving the left foot first, then the right. Repeat about 5 times back and forth.

Level 2 – Similar to Level 1, except as the second foot comes over, you don’t set it down completely. Just tap the toe down before stepping back to your starting spot. Step, tap, step, tap. Repeat about 5 times. This is like a basic side to side dance step.

Level 3 – Now as you step over, the second foot will not touch at all, so there’s no tap. Just bring it close to the other foot before returning to the start position. You will end up balancing on the foot you stepped with for a second. Then you’ll step back towards where you started and balance on that foot. Back and forth about 5 times.

Level 4 – Similar to Level 3, but now try to balance on that foot for about 3 seconds before stepping to the other foot. Repeat about 5 times.


Explanation

So basically, we created sideways momentum, and then we stopped that momentum and reversed it back the other way. As you progress from Level 1 to Level 3, it gets harder because you have less contact with the ground.

First both feet contacted the ground, then just one foot and one toe, then just one foot. Finally, in Level 4, you have to hold it there and balance for a little longer, which is considerably harder.

Try to find the highest level that you can do without having to hold on to your sink and focus on that. Keep the hands close to the sink, of course, but try not to use it unless you have to.

Note: Your step does not have to be as big as mine. A bigger step creates more momentum and is more difficult. Try a smaller step while you’re getting used to the exercise. You can take a bigger step as you feel more comfortable.


Action Plan: Watch the video again to make sure you understand the differences between each level. Then go try the exercise at your sink starting with Level 1. If that’s too easy, try Level 2. If that’s too easy, try Level 3 and so on. Most people will be at Level 2 or 3.

You can do this every day if you want for a minute or two.












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