This Week’s Thrive in Five is all about the importance of balance and coordination
This month, we’re talking about healthspan versus lifespan. We’ve shared lots of different things that you can do in your day to stay healthy and ensure you are focusing on your long term health, not making choices now that will impact your health in later life.
This post is all about balance and coordination. Whilst working on your balance and coordination may not be on the top of your daily to-do list, it is actually a really important and little recognised part of health and wellbeing. For those who train regularly, balance and coordination are often missed from the training regime.
Balance and coordination are part of your day whether consciously or unconsciously. Your brain interacts with your body when you’re doing various things, it interacts with how your senses work, it interacts and controls how your body moves together, or independently.
Consciously working on your balance and coordination can help you stay functionally fit, maintain your focus and cognitive function and may even improve your healthspan. What we mean by functionally fit is being able to do day to day tasks more easily and flexibly for longer.
- Getting dressed, having the coordination to stand on one leg to put your trousers or socks on
- Having coordination to tie your shoe laces up
- Multitasking perhaps at work or at home
- Carrying your shopping
- Being able to lift a suitcase off the carousel at the airport
It’s really important to keep that mind body connection, and it can help with your focus too. If we don’t train our balance and our focus, like with any muscle or habit, if we stop working it our proficiency tends to drop off.
Simple ways to train balance and coordination
Here are a few simple ideas you can do without any equipment:
- One-legged deadlift
- Side balances
- One leg or arm raises
- Standing on one leg on your own or during standing meetings
- Tight rope walk (not an actual tight rope walk but one foot in front of other heal to toe along a straight line)
- Front, back or side leg raises
- Yoga poses like tree pose
- Step up and down using your bottom step
- Plyometric exercises, such as running in a figure-eight pattern
Practising balance and coordination and cognitive exercises that connect mind and body now will put you in great stead for a better healthspan long term.
All of these types of things can help with your body coordination, balance and stability. Stability is a big part of it, ensuring as you become older you have the balance, coordination and stability to perhaps mitigate against a fall, or you are able to walk on grass rather than the firmer pavement, or walk without a stick, get up and down the stairs etc.
Other ways to improve balance and coordination
Some other perhaps overlooked ways, are things that use all of your senses. So if you’re walking and listening to a podcast, for instance, you’re using your coordination, stimulating the senses in different ways whilst doing something enjoyable.
Standing during meetings can be a great way to engage mind and body, even better use “The Pelican rule”.
Twisting movements and cross-body exercises are great for using the left and right sides of the brain with the body.
Sewing is great for focus and hand and eye coordination.
Meditation has been proven to help with all kinds of coordination, balance and focus because it increases your focus, attention span and quality of your focus.
All of these things can really help you become better at balance and coordination and also tune and improve your fine motor skills. We hope was interesting and look forward to hearing how it goes.
If you’re interested in finding out what your health IQ is, take the Health IQ test to find out, and get a free personalised 39-page report built around our six signals, which are sleep, mental health, energy, body composition, digestion, and fitness.