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Thread: Exercises for balance page

  1. #1
    entwyf's Avatar
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    Exercises for balance

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    Committed to Primal now since the middle of July. Since I am so out of shape, I have been focusing on dealing with poor sleep and work stress; hauling groceries has been my exercise.

    Changing my diet has really helped. I have apparently been fat-deprived for years. I feel as if my brain is really starting to work right after years of brain fog.

    Sleep and stress seem to be less and less trouble as time goes on. Now I want to start focusing more on physical activity.

    What can I do at 235 pounds (with symptoms of Marfan Syndrome and with sleep apnea and a CPAP) that will help me to reorganize my unbalanced body around its center of gravity (wherever that is) and strengthen muscles in a useful but NOT intense way?

    I have already learned a lot from Esther Gokhale and Moshe Feldenkrais. And sleeping on the floor has helped a lot as well. But after years of living in a stupor, my attempts to be physically active so far have made it clear that I have bad posture and poor balance. And I have--despite lots of running in childhood--apparently forgotten how to run, how to lift my legs, how my feet should meet the ground . . .

    Before I commit to Real Exercise, I need to re-learn balance and stability. Not sure how to do that, though.

    Edith

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    Start with bodyweight squats then move up to barbell squats or sandbag squats.

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    Just balance. Work on standing on one leg. At first, just barely keep the other foot off the floor. Work on adding time. Then raise the non-bearing foot. Practice while you're waiting in line at the store or talking on the phone.

    For my knee, my physical therapist has me doing what she calls y-balance drills. While standing on one foot, first extend the other in front of you and just slightly tap the heel. Then (of of this without putting any weight on the up foot), tap your toe behind you to the left. Then to the right. So from above, it would like you touched the points of a Y.

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    Walk, it's perfect exercise to start off with. It will improve your balance and core muscles. Walk off road if you can, on rough tails, steep hills, by streams, step from rock to rock, hope from one side of the path to the other, walk along benches when you find them, first the seat, and if you get cocky then the narrow back bit

    I honestly feel the start to any excersise programm should be walking and that walking should be what makes up the majority of your movement every day.
    You know all those pictures of Adam and Eve where they have belly button? Think about it..................... take as long as you need........................

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    So you're Marfanoid, eh? I have Ehlers-Danlos, a related connective tissue disease and have spent over half of my life (I'm only 20, but it's still well over a decade) in and out of physical therapy doing balance and conditioning exercises. So here's this:

    1. I call it The Crane. Obviously just do what steps you can. Focus on sliding your body weight down through the bottom of your foot and keeping your center of gravity low and tight. Stand on one leg. For example, the left leg. Take your right leg, toes pointed, and bring it up straight in front of you (start with something small, like just 6-12" off the ground). Slowly swing your right leg to the right and back, in a circle, until your right toes are pointing straight behind you. (you can gently drag your toes on the ground as you make the arc if this is difficult) Slowly bend forward at the waist until your torso is parallel with the ground (or as far as you can) while continuing to raise the right leg. Picture a straight line between your torso and your right leg. As your torso dips down, there should be a corresponding rise with the right leg. Work up to getting the torso and right leg parallel with the ground. This is very difficult. Repeat with other leg.

    2. Get a Bosu ball or balance board. Anything'll do and anything on them helps.

    3. Get 6-8 identical cups and place them in a 18" circle on the ground in front of you. Do 1- or 2-legged squats and with each squat, pick up one of the cups. Work your way clockwise or counter-clockwise around the circle until you have picked up all the cups (maintaining your original position). If 1-legged squats are too difficult, do 2. That's fine. Make yourself reach for those cups and keep your feet in the original position. Then squat and put the cups back in their original positions.

    4. Stand on a curb with the front of your feet and your toes hanging off. Raise your toes until you're standing on your heels. This sounds easy but it is not easy AT ALL.

    5. Turn around on the curb so you have the front of your feet and toes ON the curb. Raise your heels. Again, much more difficult than it sounds.

    6. I just bought a Rip60 suspension set and am madly in love with it. I do 1-legged squats, push ups, etc and it's all a balance game because it is suspended.

    7. Buy a 5-20lb kettlebell (whatever you feel comfortable with. I'm currently working with a 10lb) and do 1-legged deadlifts like so: Stand on one leg. We'll use the right leg for this one. So stand on your right leg and hold the kettlebell or dumbell or whatever you're working with in your left hand. Bring the kettlebell across your body and touch it to the ground in front of your right toes. Using your glutes and legs, NOT your back or arms, push your hips forward until you are in the standing position. Repeat.

    I'm tired and it's late and that's all I can think of right now. If you want to invest in a TRX/Rip60 or a balance board or bosu ball, feel free to let me know and I have dozens of balance and stabilizing exercises for those pieces of equipment. Also, a medicine ball is great for doing planks and stuff for shoulder stability. If you have a medicine ball you can also do 1- or 2-leg bridges on the ball that is a great hip stabilizing exercise.

    Good luck and feel free to message me!
    Last edited by KKDMB; 08-08-2012 at 07:33 PM.
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    Try doing pistol squats with perfect form. If you can't right now, start with negatives - that is, decline from the upper position as slow as possible, working on balance and **strength** at the same time.

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    Thanks for suggestions. I have things I can do now and things to aim for.

    Currently, I am obese. I have bad posture, bad balance. Walking (more than I currently do) is do-able. Gaining a better sense of balance by standing on one foot is do-able. A small kettle bell is do-able.

    Pistol squats? I've seen it done on YouTube by a young, extremely fit man. Let me repeat: I am obese, with bad posture, bad balance, and , oh, yeah, hyperflexible joints. If pistol squats would be appropriate for me in say, six months' or a year's time, after making use of less obviously challenging exercises, then I'll put a start date on my calendar for maybe Christmas.

    Please forgive me if I sound not too gung-ho for CrossFit type stuff right now. I can't get my head around that. I can't really get my head around balancing on one foot. But a journey of a thousand squats begins with one foot?

    Again, thanks for information. It gives me something to aim for.

    Edith
    Last edited by entwyf; 08-09-2012 at 07:18 PM.

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    RichMahogany's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tribal Rob View Post
    Walk, it's perfect exercise to start off with. It will improve your balance and core muscles. Walk off road if you can, on rough tails, steep hills, by streams, step from rock to rock
    I second this advice.

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    Tai chi. Great for balance and anyone can do it. One exercise my teacher recommended to help with balance was to stand on one leg with the knee raised as high as you can get it and hold onto a railing or chair back. The start letting go for longer periods until you are able to balance on one leg completely. Do this as often as you can during the day.

    A classmate has Meniere's disease and he said it helped him immensely, in fact he now teaches tai chi to seniors.

    Walking is good, too.

  10. #10
    KKDMB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynna View Post
    Tai chi. Great for balance and anyone can do it. One exercise my teacher recommended to help with balance was to stand on one leg with the knee raised as high as you can get it and hold onto a railing or chair back. The start letting go for longer periods until you are able to balance on one leg completely. Do this as often as you can during the day.

    A classmate has Meniere's disease and he said it helped him immensely, in fact he now teaches tai chi to seniors.

    Walking is good, too.
    Lynna - with all due respect, tai chi is not for everyone. It is an exceptional form of exercise, but it is not necessarily ideal for those with hypermobile joints. You said to raise the knee as high as you can, and this would imply that you are trying to stretch the muscles as well as balance. For those of us with hypermobile joints we are specifically told not to stretch our muscles and to instead keep them as tight as possible in order to compensate for the laxity and instability of our malfunctioning ligaments. I am sure there are many aspects of tai chi that do not involve stretching and would indeed be beneficial, but I cannot caution people with normally functioning joints enough about disseminating advice to those whose bodies do not function normally and do not benefit from what normal people do. Even with the best intentions, "helpful" advice can lead to very painful and very real injuries for people like us. Again, I'm not trying to be rude - you're extremely nice for offering your advice and trying to help out a stranger. So, maybe with your comment I would change it to a "very modified tai chi" that focuses solely on balance and gentle movement without any stretching.

    I agree that walking is good. Another thing you, the OP, could try to do is slow-motion walking. It sounds silly, but by just slightly extending the time you're on one foot while walking can be very helpful.

    (Lynna, I hope I'm not hurting your feelings! I'm sure you're an amazing person! We just have to be careful and recognize that people connective-tissue disorders/diseases have *very* different needs and things like tai chi/yoga/pilates are not necessarily good for us/them like they are for others, unless there is some pretty extreme modification.)
    Live Clean, Love Hard. Or vice versa.


    Female! Height: 5'10.5" HW: 161 SW: 135 CW: 124 GW: Whatever number my body wants to be when I'm eating and moving well - trying to get that muscle mass up.

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