To get started, find a safe space with some light cushioning (like a yoga mat) where you can stand. Try to avoid placing yourself near glass tables, sharp furniture, etc—just in case! If you’re at all worried about your safety, have a friend or family member nearby to spot you.
Once you’ve found your testing zone, stand on one leg, cross your arms across your chest, and close your eyes. You can set a timer (voice-activated might be easiest for this one), or simply count. “Try to remain in this position for as long as possible, without dropping your foot, without uncrossing your arms, and, of course, without opening up your eyes,” Agustin says.
“If you can last for over 30 seconds, you can probably last for a very long time,” he says. “That means you have excellent balance.” But what if you don’t make it to 30?
Here’s the range, for reference:
- <5 seconds: below average
- 10 seconds: average
- 15 seconds: above average
- 20 seconds: very good
- 25 seconds: great
- >30 seconds: excellent
Lower than 30 seconds isn’t inherently bad, but depending on where you’re at with your balance, you may want to work on improving your score. After all, better balance can lead to easier everyday movements, reduced risk of injury and pain, and improved athleticism (yes, better workouts!). You’ll move through life more comfortably and confidently; think about getting out of the car, walking on trails or uneven city sidewalks, or holding yourself up on a lurching subway.
So how to improve? Balance exercises! They aren’t just for seniors (though they’re great for that age group, naturally). And you don’t have to be a gymnast to try these physical therapist-approved exercises, either. Try some of our favorite stability workouts to improve your balance and overall health, below:
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