Whether you are a couch potato or a competitive athlete, balance is an important aspect of our daily lives. If you want to improve your balance, don't fall for marketing gimmicks or products featured on late night infomercials. Instead, try these three fun tips.
1. Stand on one leg while you brush your teeth. I learned this trick at a yoga class during the San Juan Independent Film Festival (not just any yoga class, but one lead by a PrAna ambassador in a yurt!).
Images courtesy of Habitat for Humanity of the San Juans.
Doing tree pose (pictured above, left) while you brush your teeth is a great way to improve your balance without taking any extra time out of your day. Once you've mastered that, try washing dishes in the pose or practice your balance while working at a standing desk.
2. Hop on a slackline. Slacklining (think tight rope walking, but with more slack in the rope) can improve your balance and core strength. According to Health Fitness Revolution, slacklining can also be meditative, improve your memory and sharpen your focus.
3. Spread your toes. When we are barefoot, our toes spread naturally to help us maintain balance and good posture. The wider you can spread your toes, the more surface area on the ground you will cover and the better your stability will be. A good way to think about it would be to picture a camera tripod. Would it be more stable while it is folded up or while it is open?
When you must wear shoes, it's important to choose a pair with a wide toe box to allow your toes the room they need to spread out. Most shoes on the market today have a tapering toe box which not only restricts toe movement but can also cause painful foot deformities over time.
A good way to make sure you have enough toe room in your shoe is to remove the insole/sock liner and place your foot on it. Does your entire foot fit on the insole? Are your toes able to rest in a natural position without going over the edge of the liner? If so, the shoe fits! Properly fitting shoes promote natural foot function and can help improve your balance and posture.