The Health Stance: Standing on One Leg to Boost Fitness

Photo credit: Bigstockphoto
Photo credit: Bigstockphoto

To achieve optimum health even if you’re pushing 50, it’s important to maintain agility by exercising coupled with having a healthy diet and an active lifestyle.

And when it comes to exercising, there are so many routines and positions that you can master to improve flexibility, increase muscle mass, and tone specific muscle groups. But one effective exercise position is also the simplest and most overlooked — the one-leg stance.

The one-leg stance is a frills free, simple exercise that anyone can do. Simply stand up, close your eyes, and lift up. Maintain the position for 10 to 15 seconds and switch to the other leg. You can do variations of the one-leg stance to improve flexibility and achieve balance.

This exercise position is meant to determine the postural steadiness of the young and elderly. A health practitioner analyzes the pattern of the ground reaction force variability when a person does the one-leg stance. When you are able to stand on one leg for a long time, it means you have better postural steadiness. On the other hand, if you cannot hold the position for more than a few seconds, then it could indicate poor balance or even musculoskeletal issues.

One-Leg Stance Exercises

The Yoga Tree

To do the yoga tree position, stand on one leg with your raised leg tucked on the sides of the opposite leg’s thigh. Raise your arms upwards or with your palms clasped above the head.

The Taiji Stance

This is a common stance in Tai-chi. To perform the taiji stance, raise one leg and place the arms in a “blocking” position. Maintain this position and then gradually shift to the opposite leg.

The Qigong Stance

The qigong stance is a tai-chi stance that isn’t performed on one leg, but you can do a variation of this position. Stand with your legs slightly bent. Raise one leg over the upper thigh of the other, forming a 4. Clasp your palms together in front of your chest and maintain this position to several seconds before switching to the other leg.

Benefits of One-Leg Stance

Maintains or Improves Stability

Perhaps the most obvious benefit of doing the one-leg stance is it helps maintain a person’s balance and equilibrium. Don’t be fooled by this simple position; beginners are unable to stand on one leg for more than five seconds! This is because the body is not made to maintain its proper balance all the time! When you stand on one leg and you keep practicing, you identify the balance of your body and this allows you to stay in the one-leg stance longer.

It May Prevent Dementia

Doing the one-leg stance with your eyes closed has one surprising benefit: it could prevent dementia according to ancient Chinese medicine! When you stand with one leg and your eyes are closed, the body is able to gain balance in the organs. As you train your body to regain its balance and harmonize the organs, it causes the pathways of the brain to fine-tune themselves preventing mental disorders.

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