5 Exercises for Better Balance and Proprioception – Mitchell Pateman AEP

Most people have a good understanding of what balance is and know what it means to have good or even poor balance. However, what you may not be aware of is proprioception and why it is important. Proprioception may sound like a fancy word only used by sports people. However, it is essential that everyone works on their proprioception as it involved in many activities of daily living (ADLs). Proprioception is the ability for your body to sense its location in space (for example being able to walk upstairs without tripping). There are many reasons your proprioception may be impaired, something as simple as aging, an injury like an ACL tear or much more complex such as a neurological condition like Multiple Sclerosis. Ensuring you have good balance and proprioception will decrease your risk of falls, injuries and improve sporting performance. These 5 exercises will assist you in developing and improving your balance and proprioception.

1. Bird dog

  • Kneel with hands on floor below shoulders & knees below hips
  • Set lower abdominals (belly button to spine)
  • Lift alternate arm & leg while maintaining neutral spine position
  • Repeat on the other side

2. Single leg calf raise

  • Stand on one leg
  • Hold something for support such as a wall or a bench
  • Lift & lower body by raising on the toes & extending the ankle of the stance leg
  • Maintain an upright posture throughout

3. Single leg triple tap

  • Stand close to a wall or a bench for support if you lose your balance
  • Maintain upright posture & alignment of hip, knee & ankle
  • Soften the knee on the stance leg
  • Tap out in a forward, side, and backward direction with opposite leg

4. Single leg balance

  • Stand close to a wall or a bench for support if you lose your balance
  • Stand on one leg
  • Maintain upright posture & alignment of hip, knee & ankle
  • To increase difficulty, close eyes

5. Shoulder wall ball circles

  • Extend one arm and position the hand on the ball
  • Keep your shoulder blades set down and back
  • Make small circles with your hand while maintaining pressure on the ball
  • Continue in clockwise, anticlockwise or a figure-eight movement.