Balance is an important aspect of fitness. Deficits can be an indicator that someone has a high risk of falling and will likely experience hip fractures.
As with other fitness related aspects, balance can be improved through practice, but who wants to stand on one leg for several minutes?
There's an easy way to integrate your pet into your balance workout making it more fun for both of you.
Balance can be practiced many different ways; I've listed some from easy to hard. I'd suggest starting with the easier ones at first especially if you are doing them with your pet. Once you both get used to it, you can move to the harder positions.
1. Stand with feet together.
2. Stand with feet in half tandem
3. Stand with feet in tandem.
4. Stand on one leg.
You can also make it more challenging by changing the surface that you are standing on. Find a foam cushion or rounded surface and go through the positions again. NOTE: when you're on uneven surfaces, make sure that you are barefoot, and start out with your feet shoulder width apart. Work up to the harder positions.
Now it's time to add your pet!
If it's a pet dog, play fetch while in the different positions. Throwing a ball is going to add to the workout and make it more challenging to balance.
If it's a pet cat, wave a stick with a ribbon on the end for your cat to chase while you're in the different positions. Again, moving the stick will challenge your balance.
If it's a pet horse, brush the horse while in the different positions.
Get creative if you have other animals as pets!
As you work on balance you are activating your core muscles to keep you upright. If you get to the point where you are standing on one leg, you are strengthening that leg. So you get increased muscle strength and balance and the best part is that you get to spend time playing with your pet!
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. Use your best judgement when you are participating in these activities. Do not try if you are already at risk for falls unless cleared by a health care professional.