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Balancing Act

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Written by Neha Chandna - Dietician, Nutrition Educator, Exercise Counselor with an M.Sc. in Dietetics and Food Service Management from SVT. She has worked with corporates such as HDFC and Standard Chartered as well as BPOs and MNCs on the Right ways of eating and living!

When we hear of the word 'exercise', we only think of it in terms of cardio or weight lifting, especially with the aim of losing weight or building muscle. Rarely do we think of it as improving our body balance, core strength and posture for a better body structure. When we work on our balance, we indirectly also help our back and abdomen muscles strengthen, which are the hidden pillars of our body. Apart from improving core strength, balancing exercises also help improve focus and concentration, thereby enhancing not only physical but also mental abilities.

Let's have a look at some easy exercises and yoga poses you can do in your daily life to up your balance capacity.

Tree pose (Vrksasana): Stand straight with left leg form on the ground. Pick up your right leg, place it on the left thigh inward. Join your arms in a Namaste or straighten your arm above your head to increase the difficulty and stay in this position for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Repeat on the other leg.

Warrior 3 pose (Virabhadrasana 3): Stand straight with feet together, stretch arms above the head in a Namaste. Keep left leg form on the ground. Start bending down from the lower back and simultaneously lifting your right leg up till your arms, back and right leg come in one line making a T. Hold this position for 15- 30 seconds. Repeat on the other leg.

Side plank (Vasisthasana): Lie down on left side with feet together such that the shoulder, hips and feet in one line. With the help of the right hand on the floor, come up from your left shoulder and keep the left palm on the ground (elbow straight). Now raise your right hand up so that the arms and shoulders are in one line and head is in a neutral position and hold there for 15-30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.

Lord of the dance pose (Natrajasana): Stand straight, curl the right leg up and hold the right inward with the right hand. Stretch the left arm above the head, start bending forward straight till the arm is parallel to the floor and simultaneously stretch and lift the right leg up yet holding it with your right hand. Hold this position for 15-30 seconds and repeat on the other leg.

Boat pose (Paripurnanavasana): Lie down on the floor, come up with your shoulders and legs each at 45 degrees, making a V. Stretch your arms towards your feet and hold this pose for 30-60 seconds. Repeat 2-3 times.

Eagle pose (Garudasana): Stand straight, straighten both the arms in front so that they are parallel to the floor, cross the right arm over the left, bend the elbows and join both the palms with each other. The arms are below the chin. Bend your knees slightly, lift your right foot up and balancing on your left foot, cross your right thigh over the left. Point your right toes toward the floor, press the foot back, and then hook the top of the foot behind the lower left calf. Balance on the left foot for 15-30 seconds. Repeat on the other leg.

Plank superman: Lie on your stomach, come up to a flat table top with your palms and toes on the floor, now lift the right hand straight ahead and right leg off the floor, so that it is parallel to the floor. Hold this position for 30-60 seconds and repeat on the other leg.

One-legged squat: Stand straight, lift your right leg and place the right ankle on your left leg one inch above the knee. Go into a squat and hold for 15-30 seconds. Repeat on the other leg.

Toe squat: Stand straight with leg 6 inches apart and your toes. Start going down into a half-squat and push your toes more upwards so that the knees face the ceiling. Hold this pose for 15 seconds.

Head stand: With the help of someone or support of a wall, try to stand on your arms upside down. Hold it for 10-20 seconds.
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