Sitting up may be a challenge for individuals who have recently suffered from a stroke, spinal injury or other injury that may affect balance and body position awareness. Doing sitting balance exercises can help rehabilitate those who have suffered from these conditions and help them regain the ability to sit up on their own for an extended period of time.
Benefits of Sitting Balance Exercises
For a person rehabilitating from an accident or health condition or for those who need to strengthen their ability to sit up unassisted, doing sitting balance exercises can be very beneficial. Sitting up can help a person complete many everyday tasks and reduces the risk of bed sores. According to Stroke4Carers.org, gaining sitting balance will improve a person's mood, circulation and breathing as well as her ability to communicate, eat and drink.
Weight-shifting exercises can help a person practice transferring weight from side to side or front to back. This strengthens the spine and surrounding muscles to help support the person in the sitting position. To perform the exercise, sit on a flat bench without back support with a phone book, or other similar size book, on each side of you. Place your hands on the books to allow your arms to bear weight without coming up off of the surface. Move your rib cage from left to right without bending at the sides. Work up to 10 repetitions. Then, arch and round your lower back to shift your weight front to back, working up to 10 repetitions.
Leaning down to the side on one elbow at a time can also help with sitting balance by helping an individual practice transferring weight from their arms to their torso. This is a common movement often used to sit down or get up, so it is important to develop the strength to perform this movement. Sit on a flat bench and lean down on the right elbow, using your forearm for balance and support. Push yourself back up to the center and then repeat for the other side. Try to do this exercise 5 times.
Sitting down and standing up requires a person to transfer her weight from the leaning forward position to the upright sitting position. Reaching exercises can help establish the balance needed to perform these tasks. Sit on a flat bench and clasp your hands together with your arms straight out in front of you. Reach forward using your arms to lead while keeping them up and out straight. Return to the upright sitting position and do 10 times or as many as you can, working up to 10.
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