Add Balance Exercises to Your Walks

Add Balance Exercises to Your Walks

Improve Your Equilibrium and Gait

Going for regular walks is a great way to maintain your health. Adding balance exercises into your regular walk can make your walks even more beneficial.

As we age, many of us experience a decline in our sense of balance. This can lead to an unstable or poorly coordinated gait which increases the risk of falls and injuries. Balance exercises can train our vestibular system and strengthen our core and leg muscles to improve stability.

Here are 5 easy balance exercises you can incorporate into your daily walks.

Heel-to-Toe Walking

At a safe interval during your walk, try walking heel to toe by placing the heel of one foot directly in front of the toes of the other foot.

Focus on taking slow, controlled and precise steps. Stand up tall and look ahead as you walk to improve coordination and spatial awareness.

Aim to heel-to-toe walk for 10-30 yards at a time.

Side Stepping

Facing forward, take side steps by leading with one foot then bringing the other foot to meet it. Shift your weight from side to side as you lead with each leg.

Maintain an upright posture and keep your gaze fixed ahead to improve stability as you move laterally.

Aim for 10-15 side steps on each leg.

Backwards Walking

Carefully walk backwards by taking small, controlled steps with your heels touching down first then rolling through your feet.

Focus on maintaining good posture and engage your core muscles to avoid arching your back as you walk.

Aim to walk 5-10 steps backwards at a time.

Walking Lunges

While walking forward, take an exaggerated step and bend both knees to lower down into a lunge position.

Push back up with your front leg to return to standing then repeat on the opposite side.

Maintain an upright torso and keep your eyes focused ahead to challenge your balance.

Aim for 5-10 controlled lunges on each leg.

Single Leg Stands

While stopped, balance on one leg by lifting the other knee up to hip height. Engage your core and focus on a spot ahead of you to help keep your balance.

Hold for 10-30 seconds then gently lower your foot to the ground and switch sides.

Avoid arching your back or leaning to one side.

Start off using a pole, tree or wall for support if needed.

The Benefits

Regularly practicing balance exercises during your walks trains multiple systems which help improve stability and prevent falls including:

  • Proprioception – awareness of body position
  • Vestibular system – sense of equilibrium
  • Vision – spatial awareness
  • Core and leg muscles – strength and coordination
  • Motor control

So, next time you head out for some fresh air and exercise, try incorporating a few balance challenges. Your posture, mobility and stability are sure to improve!


How often should I practice balance exercises when walking?

Aim to incorporate balance challenges into your walks 2-3 times per week. Consistency is key in order to gain and maintain benefits.

How long should I hold single leg stands for?

When starting out, aim for 10-15 seconds building up to 20, 30 or 60 seconds over time as your balance improves.

Can balance exercises prevent falls?

Research shows that practicing balance, strength and flexibility exercises can help reduce risk and rate of falls in older adults.

What muscles do balance exercises work?

Balance training engages multiple muscle groups including your core, glutes, quads, hip abductors, calves and intrinsic foot muscles.

Is it safe to walk backwards outdoors?

It’s best to walk backwards only on flat, even and non-slippery surfaces. Have a spotter or object behind you. Start with small steps first.