Improve Your Balance with Simple Exercises – Ask Doctor Jo

Hey everybody, I'm Dr. Jo. Today we're going
to work on some balance exercises, and the key to balance is strong ankles. So the exercises
we're going to be doing today are focusing on our ankles. So let's get started. So usually
what I tell my patients when we are working on balance exercises is start with progressions.
So if you have weak ankles, if you've had a surgery, or an injury, you don't want to
end up hurting anymore or falling while you are working on your balance exercises. So
I always tell people to start off holding onto something with two hands. You want to
hold on with two hands, you want to make sure you're good, you're balanced, and you're using
proper technique. Once you get that down, then you can hold on with one hand, and then
you can drop down to a finger, and then eventually not hold onto anything at all. So I'm going
to show you not holding onto anything at all because I don't have any injuries to my ankles.
They might be a little weak, but I don't need to hold onto anything anymore.

So the first
one we are going to do is basically just putting your feet as close together as you can. Now
this looks pretty easy, but if you've got something going on with your ankles, if they're
weak, this is going to be a little hard. We call this the Romberg stance. You are just
going to stand there, and if this is actually easy for you, then you can close your eyes.
That's the next step. You want to be able to stand here for 20-30 seconds. If that's
easy, then when you are standing here, you can start turning your head from side to side.
Getting some movement in there, making your eyes change focus while trying to keep the
balance. You can go side to side, and you can go up and down.

If that's easy, then you
can do that with your eyes closed. So you're going to close your eyes. Go side to side.
You can probably see I am moving a little bit more. You might be feeling like you are
moving a lot, so that's when you can hold on, and then up and down. Alright, the next
progression to that is putting one foot in front of the other. We call this Tandem stance.
So you are just going to stand here, try and balance.

If this is easy, then you can go
through the same progression as the other ones. Move your head side to side, you can
move it up and down, you can close your eyes. And you can close your eyes and move your
head. As you can see, it's not easy for me, so you want to start off holding on, and then
holding on with one hand. Work your way up. Now remember, if you put your left foot in
the front, switch halfway through so you work both sides.

Same thing, eyes closed, head
moving, little bit of loss of balance, but I'm able to catch myself, that's the key.
Remember, hold on to start. Then work your way to not holding on at all. After you get
all that down, then you can try standing on one foot, and go through the same process
again. Standing on one foot seems easy, then you can close your eyes, you can keep your
eyes open and move your head, or you can do a combination of both.

Remember, hold on to
start off with, we don't want you to injure your ankle even more. If you're wiggling around,
and you're not able to hold yourself, you might end up rolling your ankle. So start
off holding on, and progress your way up as you are able to get stronger. Now if all that
is easy, you worked your way up, and you want to try something a little bit harder, you
can get an unlevel surface. I usually just say start off with something like a pillow.
I like to cover up my pillows if I have my shoes on, so I don't get anything on my pillows.
And you can start the whole process over again. So first, you would just be standing with
your feet together in that Romberg stance. You can do your head movements, you can do
your eyes open or eyes closed, and you can do eyes closed with head movements.

You can
also turn it at a little bit of an angle, and do your Tandem stance with all those same
progressions again. Building your way up, holding on if you need to. Then the last one
is standing on one foot. Then going through all those again. So if you can stand on a
pillow on one foot with your eyes closed and turning your head from side to side, and not
fall over, you're doing pretty good! Alright, so there you have it, some balance exercises,
progressing your way up. Don't try them all at once, and make sure you're graduating from
each one to the other. Again, that is working on your ankle strengthening too. So if you
want to check out some other ankle strengthening exercises, go to And remember
have fun, be safe, and I hope you feel better soon!

As found on YouTube