Have you noticed that your balance and stability are less than ideal?
It may surprise you, but it can be related to Hypermobility.
It is well-known that impaired joint proprioception can lead to poor balance in patients with Hypermobility.
However, how can you improve this?
Keep reading to learn how to identify your balance issues and move forward.
So let’s start with the basics, what is balance, and what is stability?
We tend to think of balance as something like a tightrope walker. You are successful as long as you don't fall.
However, that does not mean you are stable. You can have good balance and yet poor stability.
For hypermobility, you want to focus on the stability aspect, and if you improve your stability, your balance will improve.
Is your poor balance related to Hypermobility?
There actually is quite a bit of research that shows that people with Hypermobility also have problems with their balance, particularly their side-to-side balance.
What this means is that while they tend to be related, you need to work on them more.
Balance is one of the things that we can control and change, we can do a lot with it.
If you have Hypermobility and poor balance, I would highly recommend starting a balance program to avoid the risk of falls and be able to engage in situations that may require good balance and stability.
My top three exercises to improve balance and stability
I love these three exercises because everyone can do them, regardless of where you are at.
The first thing you want to think about is that safety is always the main focus. Anytime you work on your balance, you never want to put yourself in a position where you may fall.
Before engaging in these exercises, make sure you are on solid ground and have a wall or a countertop around that you can use for extra support.
Start your exercises with shoes on and as it gets easier, then you can work barefoot.
With this exercise, you are trying to keep your balance in place. You can put both feet together, switch to having one foot in front of the other, or stand on one foot. Which one you do depends on which one is challenging for you.
This exercise includes movement. Put your foot one in front of the other walking forward and backward. It’s important to control your position and remain stable.
Use a mat or anything that is squishy to stand on. Then, do any of the first exercises discussed (feet together, feet in front of the other, one foot up, or walking with your feet together).
Balance improves better when you do these exercises throughout the day. Rather than doing 15 minutes twice a week, you will do so much better if you can do 2 to 3 minutes a couple of times a day.
The best way to tackle this is to match it with something you do every day. For example, do these exercises when washing your teeth, talking on the phone, or at conferences.
Repetition with intention makes balance and stability much better!
Can I improve my balance without equipment?
Do you want to exercise your balance and stability but don’t have the equipment?
No worries, try these household options:
- Try taking a large bath towel, roll it up, and tape it in place with duct tape.
- Use decorative pillows which tend to be a little more firm than bed pillows and work better for balance work.
- Standing and walking on river rock, woodchips, or other landscaping materials can provide the uneven ground you are looking for to practice your balance.
If I have to use my fingertips to stay balanced, is it cheating?
Are you trying to develop balance but need to use your fingertips to remain stable?
It is incredible how much difference a finger can make in maintaining and learning balance. This is not cheating; this allows you to focus on what you are doing by giving your brain another point in space to know where you are.
Use it until you feel comfortable and then start to take your finger away. It is always better to practice controlled movement and stability with a little finger support than to be out of control.
General rules for balance and Hypermobility
- Focus on controlling your balance through your core and hips, and not through your feet – keep them soft.
- Use your core to keep you centered and forward. The most common thing people do is lean too far backward and extend through their backs to try to maintain their balance.
- Think of keeping yourself a little more forward, and gravity will help you to find the center.
Although it may seem easy to fall into this category of “having poor balance” because of your Hypermobility, it is always best to avoid the label and understand that this is something that can be changed and controlled.
Developing good balance and stability will keep you safe from falls and allow you to live life to the fullest without the fear of injuring yourself.
How do you currently feel in regards to your balance and stability?