Standing on One Foot or ‘Flamingo’ Exercise Helps Prevent Injuries
Beginning in our twenties, we gradually start loosing our sense of balance. 1
As we age, we also loose our muscle strength, flexibly and vision which added to the decline in balance increases the risk of injuries.
We may not know or see this decline until we get injured.
The good news is that a decline in balance can easy be restored by performing this simple exercise which takes 1 – 3 minutes per day.
Benefits of Standing on One Foot
Standing on one foot or the ‘flamingo’ pose is a standard rehabilitation exercise of physical therapy. 2
It also is an indispensable exercise of many athletes such as hikers, runners, basketball players and skiers. As suggested by sports medicine, it reduces the incidence of ankle sprain and other related injuries. 3 It builds strength and promotes stability. 4 It improves your proprioception – the brain’s ability to determine your bodies position in space.
Standing on one foot is considered to be a new treatment for osteoporosis, and it reduces the rate of falling for older adults. 5 It builds bone mineral density (BMD). 6 It also helps to regain balance and stability in patients after stroke.
Testing Your Balance
You can easily test your balance as suggested by Dr. Moffat and Dr. Lewis physical therapists and authors of the book, ‘Age-Defying Fitness.’
“With a counter or sturdy furniture near enough to steady you if needed, perform this test:
1. Stand straight, wearing flat, closed shoes, with your arms folded across your chest. Raise one leg, bending the knee about 45 degrees, start a stopwatch and close your eyes.
2. Remain on one leg, stopping the watch immediately if you uncross your arms, tilt sideways more than 45 degrees, move the leg you are standing on or touch the raised leg to the floor.
3. Repeat this test with the other leg.
Now, compare your performance to the norms for various ages:
20 to 49 years old: 24 to 28 seconds.
50 to 59 years: 21 seconds.
60 to 69 years: 10 seconds.
70 to 79 years: 4 seconds.
80 and older: most cannot do it at all.” 7
Improving Your Balance
Now if you are smart, try improving your results to 28 seconds or longer. The time investment is small but the benefits could be great. Start with balancing on one foot with your eyes open, support yourself if needed. As you improve, make it more challenging until you can effortlessly stand on one foot for 28 seconds or more with your eyes closed. You can also practice while performing your daily tasks like standing by your kitchen or bathroom counter.
More Exercises to Improve Your Balance:
Stay healthy and fit!