My life in music has taken me around the world more than a few times. But while it has provided a king’s share of amazing opportunities and moments I’ll never forget, it has also made my head spin on occasion.
Stress and anxiety can come with the territory of every career. I know they have with mine. Learning how to balance all the busy parts of my life and work has become an art form. I’d like to think I’ve only gotten better at it as I’ve gotten older.
Along the way, I’ve learned little tricks here and there that have helped me to relax and improve certain areas of my health. And now I want to share my tips to improve one such area with you: balance.
Why Balance Is So Important
People often talk about the importance of having a work–life balance. But it’s funny: rarely does anyone ever think about actually balancing the body. Balance plays a key role in so many aspects of our daily lives. Balance is important in nearly every sport or activity you can name:
- Playing tennis
- Walking the dog
You get the idea!
Good balance is a must for these types of activities. But it’s just as important for basic daily tasks like going up and down stairs, standing on a chair to change a light bulb, and carrying groceries. Having good balance is essential for being able to move freely, to maintain a position, and to remain stable while changing body positions.1 It can also help you improve coordination and avoid injury.2
Improving Your Balance Can Be Simple
Finding time to work on improving your balance shouldn’t be a hassle. Most people don’t need to carve more time out of their hectic lives for a special “balance workout” or consult a “balance specialist” to improve theirs. All you need to boost your balance is a few spare minutes, a little bit of focus, and motivation.
Here are a few easy exercises to help improve your balance. You can even work on some of these while you’re doing other chores. Easy!
Balance Booster #1: Standing On One Foot
You can practice this while you’re in line at the bank or just waiting for the teapot to boil.
- Stand with your feet together and arms at your sides.
- Raise one foot in front of you, about 6 to 8 inches off the ground.
- Look down at your foot and count to ten (one-one-thousand, two-one-thousand, etc.).
- Lower your foot after counting to ten.
- Repeat with your other foot.
You can always start with 5 seconds and work your way up if you’re having trouble. And if 10 seconds is easy for you, try it with your eyes closed.
Balance Booster #2: Back Leg Raises
This is a great one to work on while you watch TV or listen to music.
- Stand behind a chair or couch and hold on for balance.
- Slowly lift one leg straight back behind you. Don’t bend your knee or point your toes.
- Hold it for 1 second.
- Repeat this 10 times, then repeat 10 times with the other leg.
This exercise strengthens your glutes and lower back, which helps your overall ability to balance.3 To really work the muscle, try not to lean forward when you raise your leg.
Balance Booster #3: Walking Heel-to-Toe
It may sound easy, but this heel-to-toe exercise really does help your balance. You can try it anytime you’re walking…anywhere!
- Place one foot directly in front of the other, with the heel of the front foot against the toe of the back foot.
- While looking straight ahead, take a step — again, heel to toe.
- Repeat this for 10 steps.
When you can take 10 heel-to-toe steps easily, try doing it with your arms raised to the side at shoulder level for an added boost.
Balance Booster #4: Palm Tree
This exercise incorporates a little bit of yoga and strengthens your core.
- Stand with your arms at your side.
- Inhale while raising your arms over your head.
- Exhale and lower your arms back to your sides.
- Repeat, but as you inhale, go up on your toes. Exhale as you lower back down.
You can work your core even more by placing a block between your thighs and squeezing as you practice this exercise.4
Balance Booster #5: Split Lunge
This one is a little tougher. But you can still work on it in your living room with the TV on!
- Start with one leg slightly in front of the other and your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Leave your front foot flat on the floor while balancing on the ball of the back foot.
- Bend both knees to raise and lower your body. Your back heel should stay off the floor.
- Dip as low as is comfortable without wobbling.
- Repeat this 10 times on each leg.
If this is too difficult for you, you can simply hold the position for 30 seconds at a time.5
Balance Booster #6: Leg Swing
- Stand on one foot and raise the opposite leg a few inches off the ground.
- Keeping your arms at your sides, swing the raised leg backward and forward.
- It’s OK to touch the floor to maintain your balance, but maintain your posture.
- After you get the swing of it, repeat the motion without touching your swinging foot to the ground.
- Repeat with the opposite leg.
You can hold your opposite arm out to the side to increase the challenge.6
Balance Booster #7: Standing Tree Pose
More yoga! In addition to helping your balance, this one will strengthen your ankles and core.
- Stand up tall with your feet together and arms out to the side, making a “T.”
- Lift one leg up to the side of the opposite calf. Balance entirely on the rooted foot.
- Lift your arms slowly over your head.
- Hold for 30 seconds.
- Switch legs and repeat.7
Steady As You Go
Maintaining a healthy work–life balance is important, but so is maintaining the balance of your body. I sincerely hope you can incorporate these simple exercises into your everyday routine to improve both types of balance.