Standing on One Leg Exercises for Health

Me, doing one-leg stand with eyes closed.
Me, doing one-leg stand with eyes closed. | Source

A Very Simple Exercise to Keep You Fit

There is no other way to keep the body fit and agile except to exercise. If you are as young as me at age 60 (year 2010) it calls for disciplined approach to ensure a healthy body. I don't expect everyone to be like me following a healthy lifestyle with adequate exercise and proper nutrition. But at least everyone, especially those who are adding on the years 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 the 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 the 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. | Source

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 on the right with me doing the pose is "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". | Source

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 on the right photo.

Me doing the qigong stance.
Me doing the qigong stance. | Source

The Qigong Stance

The version of qigong that I am practising also has the one-leg stand. This stance is quite "relaxing" if you are adapt to it with constant practice. The leg that is standing is slightly bent. In the photo on the right 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.

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 the eyes closed! This doesn't mean that you are not healthy. Your body is simply not trained to maintain proper balance at all times.

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.

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Comments 21 comments

Shealy Healy profile image

Shealy Healy 6 years ago from USA

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

Good Guy profile image

Good Guy 6 years ago from Malaysia Author

Thank you Shealy Healy

MPG Narratives profile image

MPG Narratives 6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

I really enjoy yoga, thanks for sharing your tips.

Good Guy profile image

Good Guy 6 years ago from Malaysia Author

MPG Narratives,

You're welcome.

prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

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


Good Guy profile image

Good Guy 6 years ago from Malaysia Author

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.

Nick- The 6 Week Workout Program 6 years ago

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!

venuspop 5 years ago

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.

Brewed Coffee profile image

Brewed Coffee 5 years ago from Manila

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

Good Guy profile image

Good Guy 5 years ago from Malaysia Author


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

Good Guy profile image

Good Guy 5 years ago from Malaysia Author

Hi Brewed Coffee,

Constant practice will make perfect!

Larry Fields profile image

Larry Fields 5 years ago from Northern California

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.

Good Guy profile image

Good Guy 5 years ago from Malaysia Author

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 profile image

Larry Fields 5 years ago from Northern California

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.

Ang V Qiong 5 years ago

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.

Scot Nyman profile image

Scot Nyman 5 years ago from Indonesia

Well, here we go. Starting tomorrow. thank you

yogesh balsaraf 3 years ago

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

amatulla 3 years ago

can this be practised with full stomach

Good Guy profile image

Good Guy 3 years ago from Malaysia Author

Hi amatulla ,

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

Petermet 3 years ago


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

Thank you.

Good Guy profile image

Good Guy 3 years ago from Malaysia Author

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.

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