Working the muscles in the side of your hip can help improve your balance. These muscles are also often left flabby by prolonged desk posture – this exercise can help tone them.
Side Leg Lift
- Stand up straight with your feet slightly apart. Keep your feet, hip, and shoulders aligned throughout – don’t let your body twist.
- Hold a sturdy chair, table, or counter to steady yourself.
- Slowly lift your leg out to the side about 8-12 inches. Don’t point your toes or rotate your ankle – your toes should point forward throughout the exercise.
- Hold for a second or two. You will naturally lean a bit to the opposite side, but try to stay as vertical as possible.
- Slowly lower your leg. Take as long or longer to lower your leg as you did to raise it.
- Repeat 8-12 times with each leg (you can either do 8-12 on one side at a time or you can alternate legs).
You can make this exercise progressively more difficult by adding these modifications:
- Start by supporting yourself with one hand.
- Support yourself with only one fingertip.
- No hands. Place your hands on your hips instead, or hold them straight out to the side.
- Eyes closed. If you try this, either position yourself where you can easily catch yourself if you wobble or have someone stand nearby to spot you.
- Add light ankle weights to increase the difficulty.
- Balance exercise: learn to keep your balance with some simple balance training drills, Peak Performance
- Side Leg Lift, Tina Juan Fitness
- Side Leg Raise Exercise, MedicineNet.com