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Standing on One Leg Exercises for Health

I like to share information that makes life more joyful and meaningful. My main interests are health and general wellness in body and mind.

Me, doing one-leg stand with eyes closed.

Me, doing one-leg stand with eyes closed.

A Very Simple Exercise to Keep You Fit

There is no other way to keep the body fit and agile except to exercise. It calls for a disciplined approach to ensure a healthy body. I don't expect everyone to be like me and follow a healthy lifestyle with adequate exercise and proper nutrition, but at least everyone, especially older people, should at least do some form of simple exercise to keep the body functioning properly.

What about just doing this: Stand on one leg with your eyes closed for 10 seconds. Do this for each leg. Take a look at the photo on the right. That's me doing the "Golden cockerel standing on one leg" with my eyes closed. Remember I am 60 years old. No sweat. Easy meat.

So what are the benefits of doing this? You may think only birds like the storks and flamingoes do this crazy stance. Yes? No?

Please read on.

Me doing "the tree" yoga pose.

Me doing "the tree" yoga pose.

The Yoga "Tree" Pose

Before going into the benefits of this one-leg stand exercise, let me share with you the various styles or variations of this stance. Definitely, there must be some positive effects on the body. Otherwise, the experts would not have practised them.

The most popular is the yoga "tree" pose, with a number of variations. The photo above is of me doing the "tree" pose.

There are other variations like, with the arms fully stretched vertically upwards, or with the palms clasped in front of the chest.

Me doing the "Golden cockerel stands on one leg".

Me doing the "Golden cockerel stands on one leg".

Golden Cockerel Stands on One Leg

When you practise taiji, one of the stances is the "golden cockerel stands on one leg." In this position, one leg is raised, with the arm raised in a "blocking" position. Take a look at me doing the stance in the above photo.

The Qigong Stance

The version of qigong that I am practising also has a one-leg stand. This stance is quite "relaxing" if you are adapting to it with constant practice. The leg that is standing is slightly bent. In the photo below, you can't see my left leg bent as I was wearing long pants. The other leg is then comfortably "resting" just above the kneecap of the standing leg.

The more difficult part is to also raise both the shoulders. Take a close look at the photo and you'll see my raised shoulders. This you don't do for 10 seconds, but at least 30 seconds. I usually stand for 90 seconds. Of course, you do this with each leg.

Me doing the qigong stance.

Me doing the qigong stance.

Benefits of Standing on One Leg

The most obvious benefit of standing on one leg is definitely the ability to maintain one's balance and equilibrium at all times. If you are a beginner, you would find that you will not be able to stand on one leg even for 5 seconds; not to mention with both eyes closed! This doesn't mean that you are not healthy. Your body is simply not trained to maintain proper balance at all times.

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Standing on one leg is so important that the Chinese have a special name for it: "Golden Cockerel stands on one leg" or "Jin Ji Du Li." It is found that constant practice like this with both eyes closed can prevent dementia. By the way, dementia means "severe impairment or loss of intellectual capacity and personality integration, due to the loss of or damage to neurons in the brain."

Apparently, there is this Sifu (teacher) in China with an unusual name called Zhong Li Ba Ren who is an authority on this "standing on one leg with closed eyes."

According to him "diseases appear because of problem in coordination of the various internal organs and the body loses its balance. Standing on one leg can readjust the inter-relationship of these organs. This Sifu was said to have authored the "best seller" health book titled, "Self-help is better than seeking doctors' help" which he promoted this one-leg standing technique. Strangely, he recommended that the eyes should be slightly opened!

He pointed out that there are 6 important meridians passing through our legs. Standing on one leg, the weak meridians will feel sore and will get the required massage, and the corresponding organs of these meridians and their pathways will receive the appropriate fine-tuning. So much for the "technical" explanation.

Be that as it may, I believe that this technique of standing on one leg will greatly enhance your physical posture, if nothing else. So, how long should one stand in this position? I think if you can do it for 1 minute, it would be great. With open eyes, of course!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Justin Choo (author) from Malaysia on November 23, 2018:

Wow! Congratulations!

Chandravijay Agrawal on November 22, 2018:

I am able to do it for 1 minute and 23 seconds with eyes closed on one leg

nik on January 25, 2018:

I was told to do this by my physical therapist and wow, its definitely worked for me, I have been told by my children I look silly but yes I believe this is an good overall exercise you can do anywhere!

Vishal Dixit on December 04, 2017:

I am 30 yes old & suffering from a disease in which loss of legs strength .balance. feeling weakness in legs after walking 5 minutes.does one leg standing help me to improve

Justin Choo (author) from Malaysia on August 07, 2013:

Hi Petermet,

I didn't make any claim on specific cures. But generally, in Chinese health regime, it is believed that once a person maintains a smooth flow of energy throughout the body, the body will have a better chance to stay healthy. Qigong techniques are based on this axiom.

Petermet on August 07, 2013:


can you explain, please, how this exercise helps in diabetes and high blood pressure...

Thank you.

Justin Choo (author) from Malaysia on July 24, 2013:

Hi amatulla ,

I don't think there is any harm. Try out and if you don't feel comfortable, stop it.

amatulla on July 18, 2013:

can this be practised with full stomach

yogesh balsaraf on March 08, 2013:

today i tried it i feel very fresh and get concentration on my brething. if u have more suggetions for me plz send me . thank you

Scot Nyman from Indonesia on December 10, 2011:

Well, here we go. Starting tomorrow. thank you

Ang V Qiong on November 27, 2011:

10 seconds seems like not a problem. It is, to me. I have been feeling uncomfortable in my stomach area for the last 2 hours after doing it, even with a little support with my finger on the wall.

I shall continue though for better health.

Larry Fields from Northern California on November 16, 2011:

Sorry. I was saying that I do the one-leg stand for one minute with only one eye closed. With both eyes closed, I couldn't even do it for 10 seconds.

By the way, I remember reading that the relative inability to do the one-leg stand is a biomarker of the aging process. Source: Biological Aging Measurements, by Ward Dean, M.D.

Justin Choo (author) from Malaysia on November 16, 2011:

Hi Larry,

1 minute is a long time if done with both eyes closed. I couldn't do it for such long period.

Larry Fields from Northern California on November 15, 2011:

I cannot do the one-leg stand for more than a few seconds if both eyes are closed. But with the NON-dominant eye closed, it's fairly easy.

With the dominant eye closed, it's more challenging. After reading your hub, I started to experiment. For the last few nights, I've been doing this variation for 1 minute. And it feels good afterward.

Rated up and useful. Thanks, Good Guy.

Justin Choo (author) from Malaysia on March 24, 2011:

Hi Brewed Coffee,

Constant practice will make perfect!

Justin Choo (author) from Malaysia on March 24, 2011:


You need to put some effort to gain some benefit. There is no free lunch.

Brewed Coffee from Manila on March 23, 2011:

Finally, I have come to the right place :-) I am a Tai ji student. We did this one leg stance on one of our classes. Our Lao Shi said to focus on an object as we stand on one leg. Easy! Then he told us to close our eyes...and I found myself slowly losing my balance. Tried it again, same thing happened.

I'll read up on your horse stance. A lot would think that is easy. LOL! I found out it's not

venuspop on March 23, 2011:

Sounds like a piece of cake. Thanks for sharing, Good Guy. I shall certainly give this a try. Ten seconds is cool. I think I can manage it.

Nick- The 6 Week Workout Program on September 11, 2010:

Standing on one leg is definitely underrated. I have people just looking to get in shape to athletes stand on one leg. There are a lot of muscles involved. Thanks for the article!

Justin Choo (author) from Malaysia on August 29, 2010:

Wow, now the ever popular (my neighbour*) Presatio is reading my hubs. I am indeed honoured by your presence.

Thank you for visiting and Vote Up.

(* Presatio is from Indonesia, and I Malaysia.)

By the way, Presatio, the plant at the background is Kesidang, its flowers are scented like the Pandan leaves.

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on August 29, 2010:

Why I missed this hub. Actually this is very useful for us. I hope many hubbers will read this information. You complete with step by step pictures. I am glad to follow your tips. Good work, my friend. Vote Up


Justin Choo (author) from Malaysia on June 15, 2010:

MPG Narratives,

You're welcome.

Maria Giunta from Sydney, Australia on June 15, 2010:

I really enjoy yoga, thanks for sharing your tips.

Justin Choo (author) from Malaysia on June 13, 2010:

Thank you Shealy Healy

Shealy Healy from USA on June 13, 2010:

This is great. Good job. I practice yoga and core conditioning every week. I teach it. You are doing well.

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