As runners we do most of our physical activity in one direction — forward and backward. Because of that, our balance often suffers. That may not seem like a big deal (especially if you run on roads instead of trails), but good balance is key for avoiding injuries.
Jay Dicharry (who wrote the excellent book Anatomy for Runners) explains that since runners only ever have one foot on the ground, and it’s not there very long, it’s vital that your body is able to stabilize itself quickly to handle the forces being placed on muscles and joints.
He recommends doing the following exercise a few times a week in order to improve your balance:
- Stand on one foot with the other lifted slightly off the ground and a Theraband or other elastic loop around both legs
- Adjust your weight so that it is evenly distributed throughout your entire foot
- Bring your raised foot forward, back to center, to the side, back to center, backward, and back to center
- Repeat this for 2-3 minutes on each leg
This exercise doesn’t take long, but the benefits to your balance should be seen quickly, and you’ll be on your way to being a better runner.