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Improve your balance, strengthen stabilizing muscles with these exercises

Today we’re focusing on a workout that will help improve your balance, strengthen your stabilizing muscles and tendons, and tone your muscles.

If you’re recovering for an injury or notice that as you get older your balance gets wobbly, you’re in luck!

Today we’re focusing on a workout that will help improve your balance, strengthen your stabilizing muscles and tendons, and tone your muscles.

Leg Lifts

Stephanie Mansour demonstrates a variation of leg lifts that are part of her balancing workout.
Stephanie Mansour demonstrates a variation of leg lifts that are part of her balancing workout.
Brian Ernst/Sun-Times

Leg lifts help strengthen and tone both the fronts and backs of the legs. The standing leg works on balance, while the leg that’s lifting is making it more challenging to balance.

Start by standing on your right foot, and put your left toes on the ground. Then, point the left leg forward, and squeeze the quad to engage the leg.

Place your hands on your hips and engage your core. Lift the left leg up as high as your hip (or lower for a modification), and then place it back down.

Repeat this 10 times with this leg, and then switch.

Keep pressing down the standing leg into the ground and try to wobble as little as possible!

Tip-Toe Knee Bends

Stephanie Mansour demonstrates a tip toe knee bend that is part of her balancing workout.
Stephanie Mansour demonstrates a tip toe knee bend that is part of her balancing workout.
Brian Ernst/Sun-Times

Start by standing up and balancing on your tip toes. Come to the balls of your feet and then up to your toes, and stand here.

Place your hands on your hips or out to the sides for more stability.

From here, start to slowly bend the knees a little bit or a lot. Lower down a few inches, and then press down through your toes to come back up to standing. Think of this as a knee bend instead of a full squat.

Keep the abs drawn in and your shoulders relaxed. Inhale as you lower down and bend the knees, and then exhale as you press down to stand up.

Repeat this 10 times.

Modified V-Sit for Balance

Health and fitness expert Stephanie Mansour demonstrates a modified V-sit that is part of her improving-your-balance workout.
Health and fitness expert Stephanie Mansour demonstrates a modified V-sit that is part of her improving-your-balance workout.
Brian Ernst/Sun-Times

For the last exercise, come down onto your bottom and sit upright.

The goal of this exercise is to see how much you can move your limbs (your arms and legs) without disengaging your core. This stabilizing exercise will recruit muscles throughout your body to help with balance.

Slowly roll back and engage the abs. Then, reach the arms out in front of you. If you’re OK there, lift your right knee up. Then lift your left knee up.

If you’re OK there, reach the right arm up and then the left arm up. Keep balancing on your sits bones! Pull the abs in.

If you’re OK there, finally straighten the legs.

Wherever you end up in your final version of the pose, hold for three breaths!

Over time, you’ll be able to see yourself improve with balance because you’ll be able to do this pose more quickly and easily.

Stephanie Mansour wants you to ‘“step up” your fitness regimen. Mansour coaches private clients in weight loss, provides fitness/health/lifestyles advice on national TV shows, and offers her free 21 Day Challenge online. Check out her fitness tips every Sunday in the Well section of the Chicago Sun-Times. And visit her website at stepitupwithsteph.com.