Loss of balance is a major concern when it comes to the risks associated with aging. As you enter your 40s, your balance tends to decline as you age if you do not try to maintain it. The good news is that just a few simple exercises can drastically improve your balance and reduce your risk of falls. Performing five to 10 minutes of balance training two to three times a week can make a massive impact on your quality of life for decades. So we've rounded up the absolute best exercises to regain balance as you grow older.
Read on to learn all about these trainer-recommended moves, and when you're finished, be sure to check out A 69-Year-Old Trainer Shares the 7 Fitness Habits That Keep Her Looking 25.
Dumbbell Goblet Squats
This list of exercises to regain balance starts with a goblet squat. Begin by holding a dumbbell to your heart's center while maintaining an upright posture. Keep your core tight, push your hips back, and squat down until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Then, push through your heels and hips, flexing your glutes and quads to finish the motion. Perform three to four sets of 10 to 12 reps.
Step-ups start by placing one foot on a sturdy surface or workout bench. Keep your chest tall and your core tight as you lean into the heel of the front leg, pushing off of it to step onto the surface. Flex your quad and glute at the top of the movement, and then lower yourself with control before performing another rep. If it's easy with your body weight, you can make it more challenging by holding a pair of dumbbells. Perform three to four sets of 10 reps for each leg.
Get into a staggered stance, placing one foot forward and one foot behind you. Keeping your chest tall, slowly lower down until your back knee touches the ground. Get a solid stretch in the hips of your back leg, then push through your front heel, flexing your quad and glutes. If this exercise doesn't feel very challenging, you can hold a pair of dumbbells. Perform three to four sets of 10 reps for each leg.
Side Plank Hip Lifts
Assume a side plank with your forearm on the floor and your feet stacked. Keep your core tight and your glutes squeezed as you tilt and flex your hips straight up and down, maintaining tension in your obliques. Perform three to four sets of eight to 10 reps for each side.
Plank to Pushup
The plank to pushup starts in a forearm plank position with your back and core tight and your glutes squeezed. Push yourself up with one hand, and then finish with the other to get into a pushup. Return to the plank position, and then start the movement with the other arm, alternating between your planks and pushups. Perform three to four sets of three to five reps for each arm.
Glute Bridge with Reach
Next up on this list of exercises to regain balance is the glute bridge with reach. Lie flat on your back, and bend your knees. Bridge your hips up toward the sky, squeezing your glutes hard at the top and holding it there. Once you're at full extension, bring one arm over and behind you, aiming to touch the ground. Alternate between hands.
Side Elbow Planks
Assume a side plank position by stacking your feet and keeping your shoulders aligned with your wrists. Next, lift your hips up and forward while bracing your abs. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds before switching sides.
If the regular side plank position is too challenging to hold, start with the bent knee version instead while you build your core strength. Hold the position for 20 to 30 seconds on each side.
For the suitcase carry, hold a dumbbell of a challenging weight by your side. Keep your chest tall, your core tight, and your spine neutral. Brace your abs hard, then start walking, using control, for 30 to 50 feet. The weight may pull you down to one side, but resisting it will work your core. Once you complete the distance, turn around, switch the weight to your other hand, and walk back to the starting position. Carry for 30 to 50 feet.
Walking lunges are a great way to transition static balance into functional movement. To perform this exercise, take a big step forward and lower your hips by dropping your back knee toward the ground. As your knee approaches two to three inches off the ground, push off the front foot and take a big step forward with your back leg to enter directly into the next repetition. Repeat for the target time.
Single-leg stands are a simple way to train your static balance. Simply stand up straight, lift one foot and ankle up behind you, and balance on one foot for 30 seconds, then switch sides. To make the exercise more difficult, close your eyes.
Single-Leg Stands on Unstable Surface
If balancing on one leg on a firm surface becomes easy, you can add some instability into the mix. Place a foam pad, rolled-up yoga mat, or another instability device under your standing foot, and perform the single-leg balance as described above. You can also opt for a BOSU ball, as demonstrated above.
Single-Leg Three-Way Touch
This list of trainer-approved exercises to regain balance ends with a three-way touch. Adding a three-way touch to your routine increases the difficulty of the single-leg balance and adds a dynamic component. To perform these, balance on one leg. Then, with your non-balancing leg, reach your foot forward to gently tap the ground two to three feet in front of you. Do not put any weight on this foot. Do the same going laterally to the side. Then, do the same toward the rear, rotating your torso and hips 90 degrees as you step your foot backward. Repeat the cycle on each side for the target time.