The one leg balance exercise is a simple yet efficient exercise. By practicing it, you will strengthen your proprioception, which is the awareness of your body in space. A good proprioception does not only prevent fall, it allows the whole body to move with more fluidity.
Start by doing this balance exercise by holding onto a wall or a chair with one hand. As you feel more confident, use only one finger to hold on, then you can do it without stabilizing support.
The exercise consists of simply lifting on leg off the floor while keeping balance on the other. Do a hip flexion bringing the knee up to about your waist level. You will feel the muscles on the other leg ‘working’ to keep you balanced.
Hold that position until you feel stable and relaxed. If you struggle to keep your balance, good! You need this exercise and your body is learning how to regain a healthy balance. Instead of twisting and jumping to keep your foot up, bring it down. Take a short break, and then give it another try. You can always go back to use a wall or a chair to give you some support until you improve.
As you do this exercise (one side, then the other) try to observe these points:
How much your foot on the ground has to work to keep you standing?
Do you feel your pelvis shifting to one side to help you maintain your balance?
Is there a side where it is easier to perform this exercise?
As you practice this exercise on a regular basis you will notice changes in these 3 points indicating that your balance is improving. Aim to do this exercise 2 to 3 times per week. As you strengthen your balance, you can do the one leg balance exercise with your eyes closed. Stay close to a wall to prevent unnecessary fall.
Following the one leg balance exercise here are some variations to make it more challenging.
Do it on a pillow or on a cushion board
Standing on a less stable surface will have you work harder to keep your balance. You can use a pillow, or a folded towel. You can also use a cushion board, which will make the exercise even more challenging.
Stand with one foot on the pillow and the other on the ground. Bend your knee lifting your foot off the ground. Once you gain stability, bring your knee up to your pelvis level. Hold it until you gain stability. Do on both sides.
As always, set up your environment to prevent falls and ensure safety.
Use a ball
For this variation you can use a regular ball or better yet a weighted ball.
Hold the ball in both hands. Lift one knee up. Now pass the ball behind your back and back to the front. Repeat about 8 times. Then pass the ball around your flexed leg about 8 times. This exercises will work your balance and strengthen your trunk stabilizing muscles.
Do on both sides.
You can combine these 2 variations, and once you gain more balance you can do these exercises with your eyes closed.