Do you sometimes try to stand on one leg while brushing your teeth or waiting for the kettle to boil?

As a woman
over 60 you know it’s good for your balance, and it does seem to get easier if
you do it regularly. That means your balance is improving, which is great.

something small to help your balance every day (or almost every day!) is the
best way to go. It becomes part of your daily routine, and your body will
respond better to a small daily stimulus than a bigger burst once every week or

It is
crucial, however, to keep building on improvements. (Your balance can never be
too good!) It is also important to keep things enjoyable.

So, let me
introduce three ways you can keep the one-leg stand interesting and

Note: If
you find standing on one leg too hard, don’t stop reading! Scroll down below
the three challenges to see the different foot positions you can try (with

Challenge 1: Time

You might
already be doing the time challenge. You are probably counting and might be
vaguely trying to increase your time.

good because standing on one leg for a period of time is a great measure of
your balance capabilities.

So how can
you be more intentional and challenging about it?

Try this:
Keep a record about how many seconds you can stand on one leg for. Seeing how
far you have come will motivate you to challenge yourself further.

idea: Challenge yourself to keep increasing your time – perhaps to add 1 second a day. Even one
second a week will add up – over a year you could go from a 10-second one-leg
stand to just over a minute.

Challenge 2: Eye Movements

We depend
heavily on our vision to maintain our balance. That’s why you may have been
told to close your eyes while doing balance exercises. But that’s often just
too hard – as soon as you shut your eyes you have to hold on or put the other
foot down.

Doing eye
movements means you are already using your vision and your other balance
systems have to work harder to keep you steady.

Try this:
Hold any small object up in front of you (e.g., a pen or a teaspoon). Focus
your eyes on the object and move it around (up/ down, side to side, in
circles). Keep watching the object (try to keep your head still and just let
your eyes move to track the object).

Challenge 3: Mental Distraction

your brain with a mental challenge forces you to work harder to maintain your
balance. Plus, it’s always good to keep your brain ticking over.

Try these:

  • Using your memory: Recite a poem or
    sing a song from memory;
  • Mental arithmetic: Do a tricky times
    table (e.g., 13, 17);
  • Letter games: Try to say the alphabet

You should
find it slightly harder to balance while you are concentrating. Even if you
don’t, you will probably find the distraction keeps you doing the exercise for
longer than you would otherwise!

There are
many, many more exercise challenges you can do to improve your balance (without
getting bored). Hopefully, these will get you started and help you to have more
fun while getting steadier on your feet.

If you want to try more balance exercises at home, this FREE, 4-week Balance Boost video series could be right for you.

But what
if you can’t stand on one leg at all? There’s something for you as well – foot positions that you can try on
your own. See which one works best for you, and then you can also have a go at
the challenges above.

Foot Position 1: Feet Together

Stand with
your feet close together (almost touching). It might not seem like much, but
once you add in some of the challenges above, this might be the best starting
position for you to improve your balance.

foot position feet together

Foot Position 2: Staggered Tandem

position 1, slide one foot forwards, so the heel is in line with the toes of
the other foot. Repeat with each foot in front.

foot position staggered tandem

Foot Position 3: Tandem Stance

Place one
foot directly in front of the other (as if standing on a tightrope). Adjust
your body so that your weight is evenly distributed over both feet. Repeat with
the other foot in front.

foot position tandem stance

Staying Safe with Your One-Leg Stands

recommend standing by a support for any balance exercises. You may be fine
doing the one-leg stand without holding on normally, but adding these new
challenges could make you wobble more than you expect. If you don’t need it,
that’s fine, but it’s good to know it is there.

worktops are good, as is the back of a chair, a desk, or a table. A wall
doesn’t work so well as you can’t hold onto it.

When you
try a new exercise, start holding on, then touching with your fingertips for a
few seconds, before letting go. Keep your hand near the support in case you
need to hold on again.

I hope you
enjoy these ideas for adding challenge and variety to your one-leg stand. Make
sure to try the different foot positions as well and let me know how you get on
with them.

do you stand on one leg? Which of these challenges do you find hardest? What do
you do to improve your balance? Please join the conversation below.

Would you like to improve your balance with easy-to-follow home exercise videos? Sign up now for your FREE, four-week Balance Boost video series.