Study Claims Walking Is Not Enough: Strength and Balance Exercises Promote Health

More people across the world are taking the initiative to better their health through exercise. Overall, people are better at walking further and upping the number of steps they take each day. Aerobic exercise, like walking, is great for your health because it strengthens your heart and improves circulation. This is a great step (See what I did there?) toward a healthier population, but it is not enough. Evidence from Public Health England shows that strength and balance exercises are needed twice a week, as well as regular aerobic exercise daily.

Statistics from Public Health England

Public Health England released the following statistics to help people see what more they can do to be healthy. They prove that strength and balance exercises improve muscles and prevent health issues later in life.

  • Older adults with poor muscle strength increase their risk of falling by 76 percent.
  • Strength and balance exercises improve energy levels, quality of sleep, mood, and chances of an early death.
  • The Health Survey for England in 2016 found that 66 percent of men and 58 percent of women met the aerobic guideline of 150 minutes or moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous activity weekly.
  • The same survey found that only 31 percent of men and 23 percent of women also do strength exercises. The percentage of people over 65 that did strength exercises was significantly lower at 12 percent.

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4 Strength and Balance Exercises to Try at Home

Strength and balance exercise exercises can be done anywhere and do not require a gym. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator counts because your own weight forces your muscles to work harder. There are also several ways you can work on your strength and balance at home. These exercises will help beginners who are not experienced or the elderly who need to ease themselves into it. Here are four beginning exercises to get you started.

Arm Raises

Arm raises strengthen your shoulder muscles, which can help with any lifting you do. Sit in a chair, back straight, and feet flat on the floor, with a small weight in each hand. Hold the weights with your palms facing inward, then slowly raise your arms away from your sides until they are parallel to the ground. Hold for a second and then slowly lower your arms. Be sure to control your breathing with every lift.

Triceps Extension

This exercise will strengthen your triceps and get rid of any flabbiness on your underarm. Still sitting in a chair, raise one arm—with weight in hand—as high as you can above your head. Bend the arm at the elbow so your elbow is pointing up and your hand is behind you. Use your other arm as support by holding just below the elbow on the one you are exercising. Slowly extend your arm until your hand and weight are pointing toward the ceiling. Hold for a second and slowly lower the weight behind you.

Plantar Flex

This will strengthen your ankle and calf muscles, which will help prevent a fall and twisted ankle. Stand behind a chair and hold the back of it for balance. Place your feet slightly apart and keep your body straight. Slowly raise yourself up to the tip of your toes, hold for a second, and slowly lower yourself back down. As you work on your balance (use the exercise below to help you out), you can improve your balance even more by doing this exercise without a chair.

Walking Heel to Toe

Walking heel to toe will help improve your balance. It is extremely simple; just do a slow walk where you put initial pressure on your heel and roll it all the way to your toes. Take it slow and take small steps so that one foot is practically touching the foot behind it. Taking turns standing on one leg will also improve your balance.

Conclusion

These exercises are a great compliment to aerobic exercises, like walking. They can also be done indoors, which is great for those who spend more time indoors, either by choice or because of a job. Doing strength and balance exercises will help you live a healthier life, letting you accomplish your life goals instead of worrying about health problems.

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Lacey Jolley
 

I love exploring, experiencing new places, and eating good food! I'm amazed every day at how well the Earth provides for us, and I want to return the favor. I hope to help others learn how we can make our world a better, cleaner place.

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