The following balance exercises are designed to improve your balance and proprioception (joint position awareness). This is important to improve your ability to regulate shifts in your body’s centre of gravity while maintaining control. Balance exercises have been shown scientifically to prevent injury and are an important component of rehabilitation following lower limb injury. It is important to discuss the suitability of these exercises with your physiotherapist prior to commencing them.
Usually, balance exercises should be performed for 5 minutes per day initially and progressed to 10-15 minutes or longer provided they do not cause or increase symptoms. Generally you should select a range of exercises that challenge your balance without causing an increase in symptoms. Always set up your environment to ensure safety and prevent falls, incase you lose your balance (e.g. practice at a bench or with a spotter).
Basic Balance Exercises
Single Leg Balance
Standing on one leg, maintain your balance (figure 1). Try to hold for 1 minute. Once this exercise is too easy progress to eyes closed.
Figure 1 – Single Leg Balance (right side)
Single Leg Balance on Pillow
Begin standing on a pillow on one leg with your eyes open and maintain your balance (figure 2). Try to hold for 1 minute. Once this exercise is too easy, progress the exercise by closing your eyes. Once this is too easy stand on 2 or more pillows eyes open and eventually eyes closed.
Figure 2 – Single Leg Balance on Pillow (right side)
Walking Heel Toe
Walk very slowly in a straight line, carefully placing the foot in front so that the heel of the front foot touches the toes of the rear foot. Once this exercise is too easy progress to eyes closed (figure 3).
Figure 3 – Walking Heel Toe
Intermediate Balance Exercises
Advanced Balance Exercises
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