Balance is an important part of staying fit, and you can do it with a few easy exercises.

5 Ways to Better Your Balance

Good balance is important for everyone, but it becomes more and more important as you get older – and yet that’s when most people begin to have balance issues.

The good news is that are simple daily exercises you can do to improve or maintain your balance. Do them as often as possible, so they become a habit.

Try these easy balance-builders:

1. Do the flamingo. Stand on one leg during daily routines such as brushing your teeth or washing the dishes. Hold the pose for 30 seconds on each side. For an extra challenge, also close your eyes.

2. Walk heel to toe. Pretend you’re on a balance beam and put your right foot in front of the left so that your right heel touches your left toes. Move your left foot in front of the right, putting your weight on the heel. Then, shift your weight to your toes. Repeat the step with your left foot. Take 20 steps forward and do the same in reverse, walking backward 20 steps.
Build a foundation of strength and stability that will serve you well for years to come.

3. Try the tightrope. No, you don’t have to take a circus class to do this – parking lots and parks are great places to practice balance building. Walk along curbs, stand on benches – you can even use the cement barriers that mark the stopping points for parking places. And of course walking on logs is always a great test of balance.

4. Take a stand. Find moments to deliberately stand at your workstation or simply get on your feet and stretch.

5. Walk backwards. When you’re out for a walk, turn around and walk backwards from time to time. Not only will you improve your balance, but you’ll build strength in your calf muscles, too. Even better, you’ll treat yourself to a change in view. Hint: This is even harder going uphill.

When you’ve mastered these, try these four additional balance exercises for variety.

Melanie Haiken writes about health, wellness and fitness for national magazines and websites. She specializes in discovering and reporting the latest research on diet, nutrition, fitness, weight loss and other health-related topics. Her award-winning stories have appeared in Fitness, Shape, Health, Forbes, and other respected magazines. She also contributes health stories to numerous Kaiser Permanente newsletters and other publications.