As we age, we often begin to notice aches, pains, and stiffness that were not present before.
These problems can be due to muscle imbalances, a lack of physical activity, or they can simply be due to the aging process itself.
While there are many things in life that are out of our control, we can prioritize our health through exercise.
In fact, there are some very basic bodyweight movements that can improve balance, increase strength, maximize our flexibility and keep us as healthy as possible.
In this article, I’ll describe one of the best exercises to help with aging: the one-legged standing toe touch.
Why should you perform the Single Leg Balance Reach?
If you are working on ways to improve your health as you age, you should strongly consider incorporating this exercise into your routine. In particular, the one-legged standing toe touch helps in all of the following ways.
With each passing year, our balance tends to decrease. This is a big deal, especially as we enter our 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. This is when conditions like osteoporosis rear their ugly heads. Unfortunately, a fall due to poor balance, especially when a person has brittle bones, can be a death sentence.
Fortunately, by performing exercises such as the one-leg standing toe touch, you have a way to fight back against these problems. The move can help improve your standing, one-footed balance and reduce your chances of a fall.
There is no doubt that modern technological advancements have improved our lives in so many ways. Unfortunately, as our lives have become easier, we have also been sitting down a lot more than we used to.
Think about it: we sit on the drive to work, we sit when we get to work, and we sit when we get home. We need a revolution against sitting!
Sitting for extended periods of time has resulted in tight muscles throughout our body. Most noticeable is the tightness in our hips and knees. One of the main muscles that is tight on almost everyone is the hamstring muscle.
The hamstring muscle connects to the hips and winds its way past the knee to connect to the shin. That is why it is known as a “multi-joint muscle”.
There are many multi-joint muscles throughout our body and it is vital that we keep these muscles healthy. They are responsible for much of our movement and stability in everyday life.
Fortunately, the standing toe touch with one leg relieves the tightness of the hamstrings. As a bonus, it also tackles the tightness of the calves and even the tightness of the back muscles. It’s a great exercise to increase the flexibility of the posterior chain all around!
Optimized strength and stability
You may be surprised to learn that you don’t always need heavy weights or resistance bands to increase strength and stability. In many cases, you can improve your strength with simple body weight movements.
For example, the single leg standing toe touch exercise improves glute and hamstring strength (much in the same way as a deadlift). In addition, it also increases the intrinsic muscle strength of the foot.
Better proprioception and kinesthetic awareness
Proprioception and kinesthetic awareness are not well known terms, but they are hugely important.
Proprioception essentially refers to our awareness of our bodies in space. For example, if you lift your right arm above your head and close your eyes, can you match the position exactly to your left arm? Then you have good proprioception! Kinesthetic awareness is similar to proprioception, but is about movement.
The one-legged standing toe touch allows you to work effectively on both fitness areas. We talk a lot about the importance of strength, flexibility and balance. But proper proprioception and kinesthetic awareness are just as important for our health.
How to Perform the Balance Range with One Leg
In this section, I provide a step-by-step method for completing this exercise. Take your time and don’t expect to master the movement on the first day.
It’s complex and even the most experienced exercisers can take a long time to achieve perfect standing toe touch with one leg!
Step-by-step instructions for achieving balance with one leg
Start with both feet planted firmly on the ground. Slowly shift all your weight onto your right leg. Once you have 100% of your weight on your right leg, extend your left leg back as you reach both arms toward the floor. With full control of the movement, stand back up and bring your left foot back to the starting point. Repeat the same movement on the other side, completing 3 sets of 10 reps per side daily.
Whether you’re in your twenties, fifties or eighties or have hit the triple digits, we all need some exercise in our lives. Performing moves like the one leg standing toe touch will put you in the best position for successful aging. Try it out and see what you think!
This post Want to Age Well? This Body-Weight Workout Builds Balance and Hip Strength was original published at “https://www.fitwirr.com/workout/single-leg-balance-reach/”