Kids do it naturally—just look at any playground! They run, jump and most of all have great balance. So why as seniors do we forget what came so effortlessly when younger? Why does our balance suffer and, inversely, our fear of falling increase? Absence an inner ear problem, disease or side effects of prescription drugs, it is a lack of leg and upper body strength combined with a loss of confidence. We also forget how to move quickly to offset a misstep, trip or momentary vertigo. Speed, when utilized with proper movement and strength, can maintain a natural balance, just like when you were a kid. Try these speed exercises and reclaim coordination and your sense of balance!
Exercise 1: Hold both hands about chest high. Open and close your hands as quickly as possible. Repeat 5-10 times.
Exercise 2: Hold both hands about chest high and raise elbows until level with shoulders. Quickly circle your hands around each other 10 times. Repeat in the opposite direction 10 times. Circle as fast as you can!
Exercise 3: On a table top, place a small rubber ball equidistant between your two hands which are positioned flat upon the table. With your right hand, retrieve the ball as quickly as possible. Replace the ball to its initial position.
Repeat 10 times; then perform with your left hand. Build up your speed to perform as quickly as possible.
Exercise 4: Pretend there is a fly buzzing about your head. Catch the fly by quickly opening your hand and snatch it from the air. Catch the fly 10 times with each hand. (Someone observing you may think this movement is strange, but age does have some prerogatives!)
Exercise 5: Sit on a chair with feet flat upon the floor. Quickly move your right foot outward placing lightly upon the floor. Return to starting position. Repeat 10 times fast. Duplicate with left foot. Variation: Move foot quickly to your front 10 times.
Exercise 6: With a light ball 8” to 10” in diameter, face a clear corner of a room. Kick the ball into the corner; kick again on the ball’s rebound; kick with either foot; kick with speed. You will improve with repetition. (For balance: hold onto a chair or table while kicking.)
Exercise 7: Dribble ball with either hand. It is frustrating a first, but you will improve and find it quite satisfying. Build up your speed.
Exercise 8: Standing straight, move ball around your body by transferring from hand to hand. Again, this is at first difficult, but you will improve with repetition. Build up your speed!
Remember, these are speed exercises. Be quick, think quick and enjoy!
Copyright © 2018 Richard J. Portugal All rights reserved.