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Did you know that from the age of 40 a persons sense of balance starts to decline?

Balance is our base of support. It is the place between our feet and our weight distribution (centre of gravity) when we move or stand still. It is made up of three systems - our visual system (eyes), vestibular system (ears) and the brain's ability to sense the body's position in space through joints, tendons and muscles. (Proprioception).

Although our sense of balance is in decline we can do exercises that help to build muscle strength and stamina, keep joints aligned, tendons and fascia supple. All of which will help us to have better balance. There are exercises for the visual system to help with balance too.

If you would like to improve or maintain your sense of balance with exercise, Yoga and Pilates can really help. In our classes we incorporate most of the recommended exercises that are helpful in building a good base of support, core stability and alignment.

The feeling of stability that regular exercise gives us can foster confidence in movement and a more fulfilling lifestyle as we age.

I have to say that my 'Men on Mats' are all very good at balance!

Here is an exercise that you can practice anywhere!

Pilates Alignment/Tadasana - Mountain Pose - Active Standing.

This pose can improve your posture and build strength and stamina throughout your body.

  1. Stand upright with your feet hip distance apart facing forward parallel to each other.

  2. Balance your weight evenly over your feet. Imagine a tripod where the weight is distributed over the base of the big toe, little toe and heel. Gently rock forwards and backwards and side to side. Come to the middle. Lift your toes then relax them down.

  3. Stack your ankles, knees and hips over one another.

  4. Find your Neutral Pelvis Position and natural curves of your spine. (Pelvic tilt forward and then tuck under - find the half way comfortable position between these positions)

  5. Widen your collar bones and soften your shoulder blades down your back.

  6. Allow your arms to rest by your side. For a stronger posture reach down through your arms and spread your fingers rotating your arms forward.

  7. With your head aligned, tuck your chin slightly so that you feel a gentle lengthening through the back of the neck and imagine the crown of your head drawing gently upwards. Find your focus or Drishti point by directing your gaze towards a specific place/spot ahead of you.

  8. Focus on your breath - breathing in through the nose for a count of 5 and out of the nose for a count of 7 until you feel relaxed. (Stop and sit down if you feel dizzy).

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