4 Ways to Get Better Balance
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4 Ways to Get Better Balance

Your equilibrium begins to decline as early as your mid-30s. If yours is less than optimal, doing the balance exercises below will help you almost immediately, says Fabio Comana, spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise.

Test Your Balance
Stand barefoot on a hard flat surface with one foot in front of the other, heel to toe, hands crossed on your chest. (Make sure you're near something you can grab on to, in case you feel tippy.) Close your eyes and start counting slowly. When and if you lose your balance, write down the number you reached. Repeat three times and take an average.

Rate Yourself
If you made it to 48 without teetering, you're in a healthy balance zone. Anything less means that you could benefit from some balance training.

4 Balance Acts
1. Stand on one leg while talking on the phone. Start with your eyes open, then see how long you can last with them closed.

2. Stand on an unstable surface -- a rolled-up exercise mat or towel, or a balance board -- and do squats or arm curls while holding 3-pound dumbbells.

3. Strength-train your legs twice a week; stronger muscles will keep you from falling.

4. After you have been doing these exercises for six months, retest your balance to see how much improvement you've made.

Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal, April 2009.