Ideas for Balance Retraining Copy

Stand with feet directly under hips and with toes pointed ahead as straight as possible. Press feet into the floor, stand with good body alignment and:

  • Feel weight on triangle of support.
  • Feel weight on bottom of feet & adjust so that 50% of body weight on each foot.
  • Adjust so that weight is evenly distributed between the balls and the heels of feet.
  • Distribute weight evenly between inside and the outside of each foot.
  • Re-check upper body alignment.

Maintaining position as above, try these BASIC exercises:

  1. Sway body side to side from the ankles.  Note which side you chose to start towards and then try to purposefully sway in the opposite direction.
  2. Sway body forward and backward (to balls of feet, then to heels --keep feet on floor).  Try swaying to the back and then forward – note if there is a difference.
  3. Imagine that you have a laser coming out of the top of your head. Keeping your body as a unit and swaying from the ankles only, trace a circle around the ceiling.  Note if you drew it clockwise or counterclockwise direction first.  Draw another circle in the opposite direction – note whether one is better than the other!
  4. Stand with hands supported on a walker or between two chairs; Pick up left foot; then pick up right hand; if good body alignment is maintained pick up the left hand. Stand on right leg 1-20 seconds.
  5. Using walker or chairs as before; keep left foot in place during entire sequence:
    1. step forward onto right leg as if to take a step,
    2. transfer weight onto right leg,
    3. then step backward onto right leg as if to take a step backwards,
    4. transfer weight onto right leg; repeat motion forward and back 6 - 10 times.
    5. Repeat on other side, keeping right leg in place during entire sequence of movement of the left leg.

Progressions for Balance Retraining

There is no end to how you can challenge balance, but these are some progressive guidelines to follow:

From more support to less support (i.e., holding onto chair > no support)

  1. from wide base to narrow base (i.e., double leg support > semi-tandem)
  2. from stable to unstable base (i.e., two feet > one foot; solid base > standing on foam/mat/pillow)
  3. introduce less feedback (i.e., close eyes)
  4. introduce unexpected aspects (i.e., perturbations or managing multiple tasks)
  5. introduce functional aspects (i.e., carrying objects, responding to signals or tasks, different directions or diagonals for balance tasks)