It is all about balance
By Jaconel Janssen
As I am writing this, I am standing on one leg, like the flamingos in Fota. You might wonder why?
There are several reasons; I prefer this to sitting at a desk. Were you ever stationary for hours on end standing? Exactly. By not sitting, I will not spend a lot of time in one position, so I automatically move more.
By the way, I am now standing on the other leg. Will you join me?
I try not to do much multi-tasking, but rather focus on doing one thing at a time. However, computer work is too good an opportunity to not double up on a bit of movement.
So I type and stand like a flamingo, read and squat, think and stretch. My brain is happy with this arrangement too, as it gets a lot more oxygen than in sitting still.
According to the WHO, falls are the biggest cause of accidental deaths worldwide, after car crashes.
It seems that our sedentary lifestyle does not help our balance skills. This is another reason why I stand on one leg often, as it helps improve balance.
Standing on one leg can help improve your balance, posture, mood, brain and could even help you live longer! It is so easy to fit into your daily routine.
Simply identify moments that work for you. Maybe when brushing your teeth, waiting for the kettle to boil, listening to the radio? Such as to science journalist Michael Mosley’s excellent podcast ‘Just one thing’ on BBC Sounds, about balance, standing, breathing and much more to improve our health one small thing at a time.
Here are two simple ideas to get you started. Stand next to something solid in case you need a little assistance (kitchen or bathroom sink is ideal). Work with good postural alignment: think of a line from your ears, shoulders, hips to your heels.
Start reducing your base of support in the ‘tandem stance’. Place one foot directly in front of the other, and balance, with the toes of one foot almost touching the heel of the other foot. Toes facing forward. Then change to the other foot. To make it much harder, you can try closing your eyes.
Stand with your feet facing forward, slightly apart. Start lifting your left heel, without shifting your weight, stay stacked and aligned over your other heel.
Then place the foot against the shin of the standing leg, and hold (not holding the breath). Hips should be level. Or lift your knee up higher, still with level hips.
Start standing like a flamingo right now, imagine walking a tightrope on your kitchen floor.
It is never too late, and never stop practicing. It’s all about balance.
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Jaconel Janssen is a Pilates and Buff Bones teacher and founder of Pilates People Cork, a monthly outdoor class. For more information on classes or one-to-one sessions, visit www.pilatespeoplecork.com or Facebook Pilates People Cork or contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 085-1613505.