Five Easy Moves to Improve Your Strength and Balance
By Dan Gleason, DC
We all want effective, safe, and easy ways to improve our strength, balance and flexibility, three elements that can add to our quality of life. If you find them effective after a few days or weeks, incorporate them into your daily routine. They can also be employed on nights when you struggle to get back to sleep. Patients report less pain, more ease of movement and fewer worries about tripping or falling. Be sure to check out our web site for a video showing you how to do these easy moves.
Open an interior door, face the edge and grip both the inside and outside knobs.
Bend your knees in a squatting position and lower your buttocks toward the floor.
Tip: Gravity does most of the work while your arms pull you back up, easing the pressure on your knees and rescuing you if you go too far. Within days you will find it much easier to rise out of a chair, bend and lift.
Option: A similar motion can be done by lying in bed and pulling your knees up to your chest.
Thrust your navel forward and then backward, as far as possible in each direction. It can be done in almost any position: standing while holding on to a support, seated or lying in bed on your side or back.
Extra points: While lying on your back, pull your knees to your chest and then plant your feet on the floor or bed and lift your buttocks.
Hold on to a railing and place your toes on the edge of a step with your heels hanging off.
Rise up as far as possible using your calf muscles and then drop your heels down as far as possible. Make this a smooth movement. Don’t stay at the top or bottom for long.
Extra points: Repeat this movement using only one leg and work up to 20 reps per day. Start to exaggerate this movement while going up and down stairs or negotiating a curb. Notice how much easier it is on your knees.
Stand on one foot with a straight leg and lift your opposite hip as high as possible. Repeat on the other side.
Option: Try it while sitting on one buttock while lifting the opposite side and rocking back and forth. This movement can also be done in bed while lying on your side or back. Extra points: Exaggerate the motion while standing sideways on a step and dropping your other leg down as far as possible.
Tighten the muscles in your pelvis as if you want to hold back your urine. This can be done at any time while standing, sitting or lying down. It can even be done while waiting in line; those around you will never know what you are up to.
Try varying lengths of time, beginning with a short duration or quick reps to longer contractions.
Tip: Avoid holding your breath.
Extra points: Try this with your knees to your chest or with parted legs.
Dr. Dan Gleason is the owner of The Gleason Center located at 19084 North Fruitport Road in Spring Lake. For more info: go to TheGleasonCenter.com or call 616-846-5410.