Balance: it's a fundamental aspect of human movement, it’s important for helping prevent injuries and enhance a person’s
overall stability, and it’s easily one of the top ‘natural’ things that we take for granted until it has been severely
As podiatrists, here at The Feet People in Brisbane City and Newmarket, we often incorporate balance exercises alongside stretching and strengthening exercises in the management of a wide range of conditions, as well as in helping our patients prevent future injuries. So what are some of the common exercises we may recommend that go a long way in helping to improve balance? Here are five that you can try at home today.
The single leg stance - on the outside it seems very simple, but it really is a powerful exercise that challenges the body's stability on one leg. By focusing on standing on one leg, performing this exercise activates the muscles in the foot, ankle, and lower leg that are responsible for maintaining balance and stability. It also enhances proprioception, which is the body's ability to sense its position in space, further improving balance. Anyone looking to improve balance and stability can benefit from the single leg stance when performed safely, including those that are very physically active, seniors, and those recovering from lower limb injuries.
The heel-to-toe walk, also known as the tandem walk, is more challenging than the single leg stance and is designed to help improve balance and coordination. It works by enhancing the communication between the brain and the muscles in the feet and legs, which is vital for maintaining balance during various activities. Those with decreased balance and stability, athletes seeking enhanced coordination, and those recovering from ankle injuries can all benefit from the heel-to-toe walk.
You want to perform this exercise on a safe straight path or walkway. This should be a firm surface like tiles, linoleum, or wood floor, close to a wall or counter for your safety. Remove all rugs and obstacles from your walking path to reduce your risk of slipping or falling. Make sure to keep your body close to a wall, so you can reach out with your hand for balance if needed.
Calf raises are a fairly straightforward exercise that targets the calf muscles and improves balance and ankle strength. This exercise is helpful because strong calves contribute to better ankle stability, which is crucial for maintaining balance in various standing positions and during dynamic movements. Those with weak ankles, those prone to ankle sprains, and athletes involved in activities requiring good ankle stability will benefit most from calf raises.
Lateral leg raises target the hip abductor muscles on the outside of the thighs, which are essential for stabilising the pelvis and improving your lateral balance. Strengthening the hip abductor muscles helps prevent instability and falls, especially during activities that involve side-to-side movements. Those with weak hip muscles, runners, and those with lower limb asymmetry can all benefit from lateral leg raises.
Think of the standing three-way kick as a ‘harder’ version of the lateral leg raise above. Overall, it is a dynamic lower limb exercise that targets the hip muscles and improves balance, stability, and flexibility in the legs and ankles. It’s a great exercise for challenging your ability to maintain balance while performing dynamic movements, engaging the core and lower limb muscles to stabilise the body throughout the three kicking directions.
Those wanting to enhance their lower limb strength, flexibility, and balance will get great benefits from this exercise. It can also be particularly helpful for those involved in sports that require agility and kicking movements, such as soccer, martial arts, or dance. Like the other movements, you want to be close to a wall or to a chair, so you can use it for stability if needed as you complete your exercise. Make sure that you start with slow, controlled movements and gradually increase the speed as you become more comfortable with the exercise. Focus on maintaining proper form and balance throughout each kick to help prevent injury.
While these exercises are a fantastic starting point to help you work on your balance, if you’re experiencing significant instability at your ankles and need a fast and effective solution, then coming in for a consultation will mean that our podiatrists can discuss other options with you - such as the Exo-Brace that is proven to prevent 95% of all ankle sprains. This is a slimline, custom-made device that works with your shoes and ankle to give you back confidence and stability - without leaving you having to watch your feet at every corner. It’s one of the many options we have available for those that don’t feel confident and stable on their feet, and we take great pride in our comprehensive treatment plans that are designed to leave you feeling great on your feet.
Book an appointment with our podiatry team online here or call us on 1300 993 338.