Jeannie Tucker Online

Younger in 40 Seconds... ©

By: Jeannie Tucker:

Let's try something...I want you to try standing still, on one leg, for 40 seconds.

Go ahead. Try it.

Stand tall and still on one leg. Bend the other leg to 90 degrees at the knee and hip such that your thigh is parallel to the floor and lower leg points to the floor. Arms at your sides. Now, stand still. Completely still. No wiggling - not even a little. Just stand still. Time your self. The moment you lose control of the perfectly still position, the test ends.

Not as easy as you thought? This simple exercise is so important.

Balance is essential for movement. Movement is the transition from one point of balance to the next. Dancing is the movement not the step. It is sequential episodes of balance - imbalance - balance. Walking and dancing require you to lose and catch your balance. You move yourself forward, are momentarily imbalanced, then catch your yourself.

Balance is one of the main elements of a complete dance training program. It not only improves your movement but reduces the risk of falls as you age and keeps your brain healthy. Yeah, that's right, it turns out that balance is a great anti-aging weapon for your brain.

Remember the phrase "Use it or loose it"? Well, when you do not use your brain for certain things, like balance, the connections in the brain fade away. Before long, you not only have trouble standing on one leg but doing things like bending to pick something up off the floor or reaching high above your head to get something down from a cabinet become challenging events. The cerebellum is a region of the brain that coordinates all of the muscles and joints needed to maintain your balance. And, the cerebellum isn't stimulated much when you sit all day pounding a computer keyboard.

Injuries and a sedentary life create imbalance and the only way you get your balance back is by facing the imbalance and working on it. The temptation is to skip over something so simple.

After testing yourself if you find your balance is out of whack, start practicing balancing on one leg and when you get good at that consider things like Tai Chi, Yoga, or Pilates - all great avenues for improving your balance and thus your dancing.

Balance not only helps your dancing but keeps you as young as possible for as long as possible.

Are you standing on one leg yet?

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