4 exercises to help prevent falls

Are you well-balanced? Most of us don’t consider the consequences of poor balance until we fall. One misstep is all it takes to impact your quality of life and independence. Luckily, there are easy exercises to help keep you on your feet and reduce the risk for fall-related injuries.

All you need is ten minutes a day, three days a week to sharpen your stability skills and notice an improvement in your overall balance. Here’s how it works:

A Leg To Stand On. It may not seem like it, but you spend a lot of your day on one leg. Daily activities like walking, running and stair climbing require a powerful core, strong stabilizer muscles and total body control. One of the best ways to strengthen this skill is by, you guessed it, standing on one leg.

  1. Stand near a wall for support. Take a deep breath, keep your shoulders back and core muscles engaged.

  2. Slowly elevate the right leg so the knee is bent at about a 90 degree angle . Hold for 20 seconds. If at any point you feel unsteady, use the wall for balance or simply lower your leg. Repeat on opposite side.

Single Leg Stand Progression. Once you master the single leg stand, increase the challenge by incorporating movement. By doing so your muscles must work to control and secure your body.

  1. Resume position 2 from above.

  2. With your leg elevated, bend at the waist touching your right hand to the outside of your right foot. Practice this 10 times then switch legs.

Hardcore. Powerful core muscles are at the base of every balanced body. Planks are an effective exercise for isolating and targeting these muscles, as well as the key stabilizer muscles surround the hips, back and glutes.

  1. Start in a prone position with the hands resting below the shoulders and toes curled under.

  2. Using your core and chest muscles, push through your palms elevating the body into a plank position. The shoulders are stacked over the wrists, the spine is straight, the neck is neutral and the feet are positioned about hip width apart.

  3. Carefully lift your right hand and extend the arm out in front of the body. Hold for one count then move the arm down to form a 90 degree angle at the armpit. Hold for one count, refraining from rocking at the hips. Lower your right arm down to the starting stance and repeat on the left side. Alternate sides 10 times.

Heard It Through The Grapevine. Eye-foot coordination is an important fitness factor when working to improve balance. Fancy footwork keeps your brain on its toes as it works with the muscles to keep the body properly aligned.

  1. For beginners, stand near a counter or wall for support. Keep your shoulders back and gaze forward as you step the left foot over the right then step the right foot out.

  2. Continue this step over sequence for 10 counts then return back by stepping the right foot over the left for 10 repetitions.

It only takes a few minutes a day to improve your strength and stability. Don’t let your body’s safety hang in the balance.

This article originally appeared on Philly.com