6 easy ways to sneak balance training into your daily walk.
You’ve learned how your eyes, ears, and body play an important role in keeping you stable.
Now it’s time to put it altogether and take your training on the road!
Here are a few easy ways to train your balance while you are out for a walk, according to SilverSneakers master trainer Andi Kwapien.
Balance training is part of SilverSneakers group fitness classes! Check your eligibility here and find participating fitness locations near you here.
6 Balance Tips for Your Daily Walks
As always, safety is key. The exercises here may be different or more advanced than your regular SilverSneakers class. If you have a chronic condition, an injury, or balance issues, talk to your doctor about how you can exercise safely.
Press play to watch Andi demonstrate each of these balance tips.
Tip #1: Walk Tall
While you are walking, be aware of your posture. Lift your chest and roll your shoulders back.
Tip #2: Think About Your Stride
Notice if you are shuffling or if your stride is short. Try to lengthen your stride in a comfortable way.
Tip #3: Consider Your Foot Placement
As you walk forward, land gently on your heel and roll heel-ball-toe as you propel forward.
Tip #4: Switch Your Focus from Path to Road and Back
Train your eyes to focus on the path in front of you as well as the road ahead. We naturally do this as we are walking so that we can watch for tripping hazards, while also seeing where we are going.
If your balance has diminished, though, you may not be aware that you are looking down more often, rather than looking ahead.
Make a conscious effort to look down occasionally to navigate the terrain at your feet. Then train your eyes to look a few feet out in front. And then look ahead to where you are going.
Notice how you feel as your eyes focus on the different distances.
Tip #5: Look to the Side Occasionally
The network of nerves, hairs, and fluid in your inner ear (known as the vestibular system) provides the brain with information about motion, head position, and spatial orientation.
It helps you to:
- Coordinate movement with balance
- Stabilize your head and body while you’re in motion
- Maintain good posture
To help train this system during your walk, occasionally turn your head to the right, then back to center. Then turn your head to the left, and back to center.
It’s important that you turn your head deliberately and slowly. Also, you don’t have to do a lot of head turns. But when you do, notice if you slow your walking speed or if you can maintain your walking speed.
Awareness is the first step to improving.
Tip #6: Be Alert
Observing the sights and sounds on your walk not only keeps you safe, but it helps to train the body’s systems that play an important part in helping you to maintain balance.
Notice the leaves budding on the trees in the spring or the leaves changing colors in the fall.
Look for different birds or pets or wildlife common to your area.
Pay attention to sounds you hear such as the wind rustling the leaves, a dog barking, a car coming up behind you, or kids playing in a yard.
Bonus Challenge: Try a SilverSneakers Circuit Class
This beginner-friendly workout includes fall-prevention drills and exercises to improve your strength and endurance. It’s offered both in-person at participating fitness locations and online with SilverSneakers LIVE.
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