Touch Four Parts of the Foot Balance Exercise
Some balance exercises can be done almost anywhere and do not need any equipment. Touch the Four Parts of the Foot is such an exercise and is considered to be within the basic skills level for balance. It is one that can be used by adults as well as children. Participants get instant feedback on how well they are doing. The goal is to get better and better at it every day. For older participants it is a challenging exercise as well as a difficult one to master.
The procedure is very simple. It involves standing on a firm surface (e.g., the floor), standing on one foot, then bending over and touching the foot that is on the ground. The participant moves upright again but keeps the one foot in the air. The procedure is repeated until all four sides of the foot has been touched. The participant finally gets to put the other foot back on the ground and the foot that was on the ground, up into the air. The new foot on the ground is touched four times, with the participant streightening after each touch. This escercise is very simple yet very powerful in balance work.
This exercise is not appropriate for children younger than 5 years old. It will not hurt them to try this exercise.
Step by Step Instructions: Touch Four Parts of the Foot Balance Exercise .
1. 1. Stand on a flat surface (e.g., the floor, the ground). Make sure the participant can balance relatively well on one foot. If the participant can not balance on one foot, have them practice every day until they can. Plan for safety issues in case the participant falls (e.g., make sure not sharp edges are around).
2. The participant stands on the dominant foot and brings the other foot off the ground. The goal is to have the non-dominant foot remain in the air for the next 5 steps of this procedure. It will be difficult for most participants to keep their foot in the air. If the participant has their foot touch the ground, simple direct them to put their foot back off the ground.
3. While keeping the non-dominant foot in the air, the participant (as gracely and smoothly as possible) bends over and touches the toes of the dominant foot and straightens up again.
4. While keeping the non-dominant foot in the air, the participant bends over and touches the right side of the dominant foot and straightens up again.
5. While keeping the non-dominant foot in the air, the participant bends over and touches the left side of the dominant foot and straightens up again.
6. While keeping the non-dominant foot in the air, the participant bends over and touches the back side of the dominant foot or heal and straightens up again.
7. The participant counts to 5 and then brings the non-dominant foot to rest on the ground besides the dominant foot.
8. Steps 2 - 7 are repeated with the dominant foot in the air and the non-dominant foot is touched.
9. This is the end of the exercise. It should be repeated daily. Mastery is when the participant can do the complete procedure smoothly and with grace in a very quick and efficient manner. The non-standing foot should remain in the air until the end of the count of 5 in step 7.
Exercise:Touch Four Parts of the Foot Balance Exercise .
Time: about 2 to 5 minutes.
Recommended Frequency: one to two times daily, every day for 5 or 6 days a week.
Materials Needed: none.
Pretest Assessment: participant has poor balance as compared to other age peers. They may also have poor reading or writting skills.
Mastery: standing on one foot, the participant can bend over touch the foot and straighten 8 times without the foot that is in the air touching the ground or floor. The procedure should be done smoothly and efficiently to be considered mastered. Older adults may wish to repeat this exercise at least monthly even after mastery has been achieved.
Additional comments: This is a great exercise to do when you are very busy and away from home. The participant should keep working at it until they have mastered it. You may wish to combine other skills into the procedure (e.g., reading letters off a paper on the wall at eye level as they straighten themselves up, trying to remember a phrase that was said to them earlier). Other balance exercises should be performed in addition to this one.
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