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Keeping the balance in life!

One key aspect of exercise is balance. Why? Because like all other physical abilities, it diminishes with age unless we consciously exercise it. Is that a bad thing? Only if you fall down and break your hip or wrist. Here's a simple balance exercise you can do daily. It takes just a couple of minutes and will produce quick improvement.

  • Stand while holding for support, with one hand, the back edge of a chair set beside you.
  • Bend the leg nearest to the chair at the knee 90 degrees so that your knees are still together and the foot of the bent leg is projected out behind you.
  • Get used to balancing on the one leg while holding the chair.
  • Then turn to the other side and do the other leg.
  • Once you can comfortably balance like this:
  • Try taking your hand off the chair and balancing on the one leg without support from the chair.
  • As you get more comfortable doing this, try to stop using your arms for balance and pull your hands in, palms together in front of your chest, like in a Far East prayer position. This will force the act of balance to the muscles of one leg.
  • Once you can comfortably balance like this:
  • Try closing your eyes and holding the pose for 30 seconds.

If you really want to improve your balance, many yoga poses are specifically designed as balance poses, utilizing arms, legs, hips -- the entire body, in fact. On a more modern note, there's a whole new breed of vibrating-platform exercise-equipment that makes use of forcing you to balance while working out. The net effect is that because the balancing aspect forces you to use an entirely separate set of muscles in addition to your normal work out muscles, it dramatically accelerates the benefits of exercise.

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