Balimo (BALance In MOtion) is an exercise program designed to help an equestrian maintain her balance while in the saddle. This exercise program can also improve the rider’s flexibility and muscular strength, which helps her move in harmony with her horse, suggests Eckart Meyners and Jill Hassler-Scoop, co-founders of the program. But you don’t need to be a rider or even own a horse to benefit from the exercises. If you want to improve your posture, balance and pelvic range of motion and strengthen your core muscles, try doing a few of the exercises. The only piece of equipment you need is a wobbly stool.
Perform a pick-up-your-feet warm-up routine to improve your balance and coordination and warm up your muscles. Take a step with your right leg, lift your left knee, cross your left foot in front of your right thigh and touch it with your right hand. Return your foot to the ground and then take a step with your left leg, lift your right knee, cross your right foot in front of your left thigh and tough your foot with your left hand. Return your foot to the ground and continue walking 30 steps, alternating your legs. For the next 30 steps, lift and cross your legs behind you and reach back with the opposite hand to touch your foot.
Improve your flexibility with spinal twists. Lie on your back, bend your knees 45 degrees and put your feet together and flat on the ground. Extend your arms above your chest and put your palms together. This is the starting position. Keep your legs together, slowly move them to the left and try to get the outside of your left leg to touch the ground. At the same time, and while keeping your arms straight and palms together, move your arms to the right toward the ground. When your legs and arms can't go any farther, return to the starting position and repeat in the opposite direction. Repeat the side-to-side movements for two to three minutes.
Sit on a Balimo chair and rock or wobble your way to an improved pelvic range of motion. Put your feet flat on the ground, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. If necessary, adjust the height of the seat so your knees are just below the level of the seat. Using the clock face as a reference, sit up tall and start by rocking back and forth from 12 o'clock to 6 o'clock. After one minute, change direction and rock side to side from 9 o'clock to 3 o'clock for another minute. Now, rock around the clock. Start at 12 and move clockwise in a circular manner. Switch to a counterclockwise direction after one minute.
- Try using the Balimo chair at your desk, when working on your computer or when watching television. You may be surprised at the improvement in your balance, flexibility and core strength.
- If you have had any lower back or hip injuries, check with your doctor before doing Balimo exercises.