How to balance

How to balance

Tai Chi

Studies show tai chi, a gentle exercise often called “meditation in motion,” can help you cut down on falls if you’re older and having balance issues. A skilled teacher can show you the slow, precise movements that help you not only find more stability, but boost your overall health and mood, too.

One-Legged Stand

Start by holding yourself steady on the back of a chair or another sturdy handhold. Lift one foot to about calf level and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat 10-15 times and then switch to the other leg. Over time, as your balance gets better, you may be able to hold this position with your hands free.

How to balance

Weight Shifts

Standing with your feet hip-width apart, lean slowly toward one leg until it’s bearing all your weight while lifting your other leg off the ground. Hold for up to 30 seconds, then move to the other side.

Yoga and Pilates

To keep your balance, you need muscles that can hold you steady as you stand, walk, or make other movements. You might know these as your “core muscles.” Yoga and Pilates include moves that help you stretch and strengthen them. Check with your doctor before you start. To learn the moves properly, it’s a good idea to join a nearby class taught by a certified instructor.

Heel-to-Toe Walk

Walk slowly in a straight line, touching your heel to the opposite foot’s toe as you go. Go about 20 paces, using a wall for support if you feel unsteady.

How to balance

Back-Leg Raises

To build up your lower back and buttocks, try lifting your back leg while standing straight. Hold a chair and raise one leg backward without bending your knee or pointing your toe. Keep your anchor leg slightly bent. Hold your position for 1 second. Do this 10-15 times with the first leg before moving on to the other one.

Knee Curl

Once again holding the back of a chair with a slightly bent anchor leg, lift the other leg straight back, then raise your heel toward your buttocks. Keep your hips still. Hold for 1 second before slowly lowering your foot to the floor. Repeat 10-15 times and then switch to your other leg.

How to balance

Toe Stand

Also called calf raises or heel raises, this exercise can help make your calf and ankle muscles stronger for a balance boost. Hold a chair or wall to keep you from falling, and stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Raise up to your tiptoes and hold for 1 second before lowering. Repeat 10-15 times. Rest, then do another set.

Squats

To make your leg and pelvis muscles stronger, practice squats. Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips with your toes pointed forward. Bend your knees and send your bottom backwards, as if you’re sitting down. Keep your weight in your heels and your arms either out in front of you or on your thighs. Raise back up and repeat 10 times.

If that proves too hard, you can try to slowly sit in a chair from a standing position without using your hands.

How to balance

Side Steps

Slide sideways using small steps that move your legs apart and then together. Go across a room and back to target both sides of your body. This movement builds up your hip and thigh muscles.

How to balance

Back Extension

Lie on your stomach with your forehead facing the floor and your arms at your sides, palms up. Continue to look down (looking up will strain your neck) as you slowly lift your head and arms 1-2 inches off the floor. Hold for several seconds and then lower down gently. Do sets of 10 to strengthen your back and spine.

How to balance

Check Your Balance

To get a better idea about how strong your standing balance is, lift one foot and see how long you can hold it there. To test your balance as you move, try walking as if you’re on a tightrope for 10 steps and see how you fare. Balance exercises should improve both of these measurements over time.

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IMAGES PROVIDED BY:

1) Mike Powell / Thinkstock Photos

3) Amie Brink / WebMD

4) Hero Images / Getty Images

5) Senior Airman Krystal M. Garrett

6) Amie Brink / WebMD

7) Amie Brink / WebMD

8) Steve Pomberg / WebMD

10) Getty Images

11) Amie Brink / WebMD

Mayo Clinic: “Tai Chi: A gentle way to fight stress,” “Balance exercises,” “Pilates for beginners: Explore the Core.”

National Institute on Aging: “Tai Chi,” “How to Prevent Falls and Improve Balance.”

Harvard Health: “Easy ways to improve your balance.”

American Heart Association: “Balance Exercise.”

International Osteoporosis Foundation: “How to improve your balance.”

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson, MD on April 10, 2019

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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More In News

IR-2018-63, March 19, 2018

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today urged taxpayers to use IRS.gov/account to check the status of their federal tax accounts.

The online account is one of many useful online tools driving the impressive growth in visits to the agency’s popular web site. Already this year, visits to IRS.gov have jumped 24 percent over last year at this time.

The IRS.gov/account provides individual taxpayers with basic information to file, pay or monitor their tax payments. In addition, taxpayers can:

  • View the amount they owe.
  • Pay online or set up an online payment agreement.
  • Access their tax records.
  • Review the past 18 months of their payment history.
  • View key tax return information for the most recent tax return they filed.

To access their information online, taxpayers must register through Secure Access, the IRS’ two-factor authentication process. This identity-proofing process rigorously protects sensitive information. Taxpayers who already registered using Secure Access for Get Transcript Online or Get an IP PIN may use their same username and password. Taxpayers should review the Secure Access process prior to starting registration.

In addition to the IRS.gov/account, the IRS encourages taxpayers to visit IRS.gov to see many other self-service tools and helpful resources available for individuals, businesses and tax professionals. “Where’s My Refund?” for example, and the IRS2Go mobile app remain the best way to check the status of a tax refund. This tool is updated no more than once a day, so taxpayers don’t need to check more often.

The IRS doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media to request personal or financial information. This includes requests for PIN numbers, passwords or similar access information for credit cards, banks or other financial accounts.

How to balance

“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.”

As a Libra, my sign is the scale, which signifies balance. I’m not sure how much my “signage” plays into my desire to live a balanced life, but I do know that the more balanced I feel, the more free I feel.

In my work I am often reminded that what works for some people does not necessarily work for others, and that one person’s idea of balance may not constitute anything remotely balanced from another person’s perspective.

So I wanted to address the various elements of life that can require balancing and offer some suggestions to find the mix that works best for you.

To start, what does it mean to be balanced?

To me, it means that you have a handle on the the various elements in your life and don’t feel that your heart or mind are being pulled too hard in any direction. More often than not, you feel calm, grounded, clear-headed, and motivated.

How do you find your balance?

The elements in life that require the most balancing can be divided into two categories: internal and external. Oftentimes, people focus on one more than the other.

For example, you may find that you focus on external things, like work, relationships, and activities, and that you pay very little attention to what is going on inside your heart and mind.

On the other hand, you may find that you spend so much time being self reflective that you sometimes miss out on the experience of living.

Other people may be fairly balanced between the two but might want to balance out some specific elements within each category, so I created this little outline to help us better understand the beneficial components on both ends of each spectrum.

Internal (Mind, Heart, Health)

  • Mind: Challenging yourself intellectually vs. creating opportunities for your mind to rest
  • Heart: Giving love vs. receiving love
  • Health: Eating, drinking, exercising properly vs. resting. and treating yourself to some extra yummies

External (Work, Social, Family, Fun)

  • Work: Pushing yourself to achieve goals vs. seeing the bigger picture and enjoying the ride
  • Social: Satisfying your social desires vs. taking time for yourself
  • Family: Fulfilling your familial responsibilities vs. creating healthy boundaries
  • Fun: Allocating time for things you enjoy doing vs. making sure you don’t overdo it

As you can see, both ends of each spectrum are actually positive; but if either side is taken to an extreme, something that is intended to be positive can end up being detrimental.

It’s helpful to check in with yourself to see if you feel balanced.

If you feel pulled in any one direction and uneasy about it, these steps may help you get your life aligned:

1. Acknowledge.

Take some time to really look at your life, your state of mind, and how you’re feeling. Be honest with yourself and notice the areas of your life that you’re neglecting.

2. Examine.

Notice if you’re leaning more toward an internal or external focus, or if there are areas within each category that you would like to be more balanced.

3. Set Goals.

Look at the outline to help you decide which ways you want to balance your life. Make a list.

4. Plan Tasks.

Make a list of daily, weekly, and monthly tasks that you will need to do to achieve each of these goals. What have you tried in the past? Did it work? If not, what can you do differently?

5. Reflect.

What is the most important thing you’ve accomplished in the past? How did you stay focused toward this goal? How did you handle your fears, doubts, anxieties, worries, and negative self-talk? How does it feel to know that you accomplished the goal in spite of these parts of yourself?

6. Prepare.

What is your inner “stuff” that will try to keep you from sticking to your plan (fears, worries, doubts, negative self talk)? Can you specify the things you will say to yourself to push you off track? (For example: “Just one more bite, I’ll start eating better tomorrow.”) Make a list.

7. Empower.

What do you need to remember in those times? What are things you can say to that self-sabotaging part of yourself? Be kind to yourself. Balance won’t feel good if you’re cruel to yourself in creating it!

8. Connect.

Is there a person or a tactic you can use to keep yourself supported, motivated, and focused in those hard times? I highly recommend connecting and sharing your inner process with someone. Find someone who can help you challenge your inner demons, and celebrate your little accomplishments.

Just like accomplishing any goal in life, it takes time and effort to overcome your habitual patterns and create new ones. If you stay on track with this detailed and intentional process for three whole months, then there is a good chance you will create new habits to enjoy a more balanced life going forward!

How to Balance Chemical Equations: 3 Simple Steps

How to balance

How to balance

A chemical equation tells you what happens during a chemical reaction. A balanced chemical equation has the correct number of reactants and products to satisfy the Law of Conservation of Mass.

In this article, we’ll talk about what a chemical equation is, how to balance chemical equations, and give you some examples to aid in your balancing chemical equations practice.

What Is a Chemical Equation?

Simply put, a chemical equation tells you what’s happening in a chemical reaction. Here’s what a chemical equation looks like:

On the left side of the equation are the reactants. These are the materials that you start with in a chemical reaction.

On the right side of the equation are the products. The products are the substances that are made as a result of a chemical reaction.

In order for a chemical reaction to be correct, it needs to satisfy something called the Law of Conservation of Mass, which states that mass can’t be created or destroyed during a chemical reaction. That means that each side of the chemical equation needs to have the same amount of mass, because the amount of mass can’t be changed.

If your chemical equation has different masses on the left and right side of the equation, you’ll need to balance your chemical equation.

How to Balance Chemical Equations—Explanation and Example

Balancing chemical equations means that you write the chemical equation correctly so that there is the same amount of mass on each side of the arrow.

In this section, we’re going to explain how to balance a chemical equation by using a real life example, the chemical equation that occurs when iron rusts:

How to balance

#1: Identify the Products and Reactants

The first step in balancing a chemical equation is to identify your reactants and your products. Remember, your reactants are on the left side of your equation. The products are on the right side.

For this equation, our reactants are Fe and O 2. Our products are Fe 2 and O 3 .

#2: Write the Number of Atoms

Next, you need to determine how many atoms of each element are present on each side of the equation. You can do this by looking at the subscripts or the coefficients. If there is no subscript or coefficient present, then you just have one atom of something.

On the reactant side, we have one atom of iron and two atoms of oxygen.

On the product side, we have two atoms of iron and three atoms of oxygen.

When you write out the number of products, you can see that the equation isn’t balanced, because there are different amounts of each atom on the reactant side and the product side.

That means we need to add coefficients to make this equation balanced.

#3: Add Coefficients

Earlier, I mentioned that there are two ways to tell how many atoms of a particular element exist in a chemical equation: by looking at the subscripts and looking at the coefficients.

When you balance a chemical equation, you change coefficients. You never change subscripts.

A coefficient is a whole number multiplier. To balance a chemical equation, you add these whole number multipliers (coefficients) to make sure that there are the same number of atoms on each side of the arrow.

Here’s something important to remember about coefficients: they apply to every part of a product. For instance, take the chemical equation for water: H2O. If you added a coefficient to make it 2H2O, then the coefficient multiples across all of the elements present. So, 2H2O means that you have four atoms of hydrogen and two atoms of oxygen. You don’t just multiply against the first element present.

So, in our chemical equation ( Fe + O 2 → Fe 2 O 3), any coefficient you add to the product has to be reflected with the reactants.

Let’s look at how to balance this chemical equation.

On the product side, we have two atoms of iron and three atoms of oxygen. Let’s tackle iron first.

When first looking at this chemical equation you might think that something like this works:

While that balances out the iron atoms (leaving two on each side), oxygen is still unbalanced. That means we need to keep looking.

Taking iron first, we know that we’ll be working with a multiple of two, since there are two atoms of iron present on the product side.

Knowing that using two as a coefficient won’t work, let’s try the next multiple of two: four.

That creates balance for iron by having four atoms on each side of the equation. Oxygen isn’t quite balanced yet, but on the product side we have six atoms of oxygen. Six is a multiple of two, so we can work with that on the reactant side, where two atoms of oxygen are present.

That means that we can write our balanced chemical equation this way:

How to balance

3 Great Sources of Balancing Chemical Equations Practice

There are many places you can do balancing chemical equations practice online.

Here are a few places with practice problems you can use:

  • Khan Academy: 7 practice problems
  • ScienceGeek: 15 practice problems
  • TemplateLab: 49 free balancing chemical equations worksheet downloads

Balancing Chemical Equations: Key Takeaways

Balancing chemical equations seems complicated, but it’s really not that hard!

Your main goal when balancing chemical equations is to make sure that there are the same amount of reactants and products on each side of the chemical equation arrow.

What’s Next?

Writing a research paper for school but not sure what to write about? Our guide to research paper topics has over 100 topics in ten categories so you can be sure to find the perfect topic for you.

Want to know the fastest and easiest ways to convert between Fahrenheit and Celsius? We’ve got you covered! Check out our guide to the best ways to convert Celsius to Fahrenheit (or vice versa).

Are you studying clouds in your science class? Get help identifying the different types of clouds with our expert guide.

Have friends who also need help with test prep? Share this article!

How to balance

Hayley Milliman is a former teacher turned writer who blogs about education, history, and technology. When she was a teacher, Hayley’s students regularly scored in the 99th percentile thanks to her passion for making topics digestible and accessible. In addition to her work for PrepScholar, Hayley is the author of Museum Hack’s Guide to History’s Fiercest Females.

A Step-by-Step Guide

How to balance

PM Images / Getty Images

Balancing a checking account is a financial task that should be performed regularly to track your spending, monitor your account, and ensure that your money is actually there when you need it.

It takes just five steps to complete this essential task and rest easier about your finances. Learn why it’s important and how to get it done.

What Is Balancing a Checking Account?

Balancing a checking account means comparing the money coming into the account to the money going out of the account. This shows you how much money you have for spending. It’s also an opportunity to match your records with the bank’s records and catch mistakes that can lead to bank charges or identity theft

Balancing a checking account helps you:

  • Budget for upcoming expenses
  • Avoid bounced checks and overdraft fees
  • Identify mistakes that you or the bank made
  • Catch suspicious or fraudulent charges quickly
  • Keep track of any interest you are earning

You should plan to balance your checking accounts regularly—at least once per statement period. If you find yourself bouncing checks, however, you should balance your account anytime you’re about to spend money, for example, before paying bills or going shopping.

What You Need to Balance a Checking Account

To get started with balancing a checking account, gather everything you’ll need:

  • Most recent bank statement (mailed or printed from your online account)
  • Check register
  • Calculator

There are templates available to help you manually do the calculations needed if you prefer to use pen and paper. If you prefer to do them electronically, you can build a spreadsheet or use accounting software.

Five Steps to Balance Your Checking Account

To balance your checking account, you want to look at how much has gone in and out, then make sure these numbers match the values you are expecting. If they do not, then your account is unbalanced and you have money that is unaccounted for.

You will be finding and comparing three numbers:

  1. Bank balance
  2. Withdrawals
  3. Deposits

1. Assess your Balance

Start by writing down your bank balance. This is the month-end account balance shown on your account.

You can ​check your account balance online, with an app if your bank has one, at an ATM, by phone, or by text.

2. Compare Your Check Register to Your Statement

Next, compare your check register to your bank statement. Place a checkmark (on both the bank statement and the check register) next to matching items.

Your bank statement and your check register should have all the same items listed, including:

  • Debit card charges
  • Paper checks
  • Cash withdrawals
  • ATM fees
  • Overdraft fees
  • Interest earned

If anything is missing from your check register, either add it (if it is a legitimate transaction) or make a note to ask your bank about it (if it looks suspicious or you can’t remember making it).

Add up all the deposits and withdrawals so you know how much you should have in your account you should have.

3. Find Outstanding Transactions

Outstanding transactions generally fall into two categories: deposits and withdrawals.

To find outstanding withdrawals, look through your check register for any transaction that does not have a checkmark next to it. These transactions are items that did not appear on your bank statement.

Most likely, these are outstanding checks. Outstanding checks are checks you have written but the recipient hasn’t yet deposited. Add these values to your total withdrawals.

Make a list of deposits you have made to the account, such as direct deposit from your payroll or deposits that you mailed to the bank but which have not yet appeared. Add these values to your total deposits.

4. Run the Numbers

You’ll have several numbers on your sheet of paper by this point. Now, you need to use your calculator to make sure all your money is accounted for.

  1. Start with zero
  2. Add “Bank Balance”
  3. Add “Deposits”
  4. Subtract “Withdrawals”

The result should be the exact amount your check register shows.

5. Fix Mistakes and Problems

If the numbers don’t match, you’ll need to figure out why. If you find fraud or a bank error, contact the bank immediately to contest the problematic transaction—otherwise, you might have to live with the problem.

Most checking accounts offer protection from fraudulent transactions. But if you wait more than two months to find and report a problem, you might have to absorb the loss.

Fortunately, errors and fraud are relatively rare. In most cases, the numbers won’t match because:

  • You made an arithmetic mistake
  • You missed a fee or an interest payment
  • You listed an item twice
  • You transposed numbers (345 instead of 354, for example)

Double-check that none of these common errors happened before you contact your bank.

Create a System That Works

Now that you have balanced your checking account, you’ll need to keep it balanced. The key to staying balanced is creating a system you can follow easily and consistently.

If you don’t record transactions from your checking account, you will need to monitor your online charges multiple times a week—even daily—to ensure that your account is balanced and free from fraud.

There’s no best system for balancing your checking account. Take time to figure out which system works for you. That could be:

  • Pen and paper
  • Building a spreadsheet
  • Using accounting software

To monitor your checking account even more closely, you can find out about transactions as they occur. Set up text alerts on your bank account to know when big electronic withdrawals hit your account.

Alerts will help you remember important transactions when it’s time to balance your account, as well as making it easier to detect fraud and errors. This will both save you time and protect your assets.

How to balance

Imagine a tightrope walker in a circus. He is on a rope suspended a few feet above the straw covered floor. His purpose is to walk the rope from one end to other. He holds a long bar in his hands to help him maintain his balance. But he must do more than simply walk. On his shoulders he balances a chair. And in that chair sits a young woman who is balancing a rod on her forehead, and on top of that rod is a plate.

If at any time one of the items should start to drift off balance, he must stop until he can get all of them in perfect alignment again—for the tightrope artist doesn’t begin until all the elements above him are aligned. Only then does he move forward, carefully, slowly, across the rope.

Life is very much a balancing act, and we are always just a step away from a fall. We are constantly trying to move forward with our purpose, to achieve our goals, all the while trying to keep in balance the various elements of our lives.

If any aspect of our life draws a disproportionate amount of energy, we have to shortchange the other aspects. That throws us off—and we are unable to move forward on life’s tightrope until a balance can be reestablished. We have to deal with any areas that are taking too much energy and put them in perspective, align them, so that we have energy available for all areas.

It’s important to understand that others cannot do this for us. No one can think, breathe, feel, see, experience, love or die for us. It’s up to us to balance all the different aspects of our lives. We just have to decide to do it.

How? What’s the first step? To stop and assess how we’re doing. To look at all the various aspects of our lives that we are constantly juggling, constantly trying to keep in balance—marriage and family, money, health, social circles, spiritual development, mental growth.

Are we able to devote ample energy to all areas? Or are we tipped to one side, unbalanced in one direction? Here’s how to balance it all out:

1. Assess your life as it is now.

Looking at ourselves as we really are is the first step in restructuring our lives. Do you feel physically exhausted, mentally stagnant or find yourself without close relationships? Would you call yourself a workaholic? Do you feel a lack of spiritual alignment? If you answer yes to any of these questions, your life is probably out of balance.

2. Make a conscious decision to become balanced.

Choosing reality as our basis of decision is the second step to becoming balanced. Achieving balance allows us to reach our goals and our purpose in life while creating less stress to do so. A conscious decision to change is now in order.

3. And make that decision on a minute-to-minute schedule.

We are all instant forgetters. Remember all those resolutions you made way back in January? Renewing our decisions on a daily, minute-to-minute basis allows us to ease into change, instead of expecting things to change overnight.

4. Set goals in every area of your life.

Set realistic goals in all areas of your life to assist yourself in remembering that your ultimate goal is balance. Your goals should cover:

• Your relationships
• Your physical being
• Your spiritual alignment
• Your mental development
• Your job
• Your finances

5. Be willing to take the risk.

Being willing to assess ourselves and take the risk to change will not only enhance our lives, but you will feel more energy and an expanded awareness of what life is all about. Acknowledging that balance is essential and recreating your life to encompass your decision is worth all the risk.

6. Make time to reassess yourself on a daily basis.

None of us can really know how well we are doing with change in our lives unless we are willing to reassess our position. Don’t feel that your decisions are made in concrete; if something feels that it isn’t working, be willing to look at a new decision. Make time for yourself every day, in a quiet meditative state, to relax and “check yourself out.”

Balancing flavour is both a science and an art, based on professional training, intuition and experience. Here’s an introduction to balancing the five key flavours in your cooking.

Sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami are five taste elements that build our overall perception of flavour. When each element is perfectly balanced – not only on the plate, but across an entire meal – the dining experience is lifted above and beyond.

Mastering flavour balance takes an understanding of the process as a science and an art.

Flavour balance as a science

Understanding how flavours become balanced starts with knowing the basic rules behind preparing each element. Remember that adding salt to a dish does more than just making it salty – it enhances or counteracts other flavours within the dish.

These are the simple rules dictating how each element will affect the overall flavour:

  1. Sweetness: From sugar, honey, fruits or otherwise, sweetness will counteract bitter and sour flavours. It can also be used to cut down the heat of a particularly spicy meal.
  2. Saltiness: Salt plays two very important roles in flavouring a dish. Firstly, it balances against bitterness. Secondly, it enhances most other flavours present in the dish – particularly sweetness. Think about salted caramel – this flavour combination works so well because of the balance created by the salt and sugar. Similarly, salt is commonly used in tomato-based dishes to bring the natural flavours of the tomato forward.
  3. Bitterness: Though not the most popular flavour generally, bitterness is critical to balance. The taste of grapefruit, dark greens or beer can help to cut through the richness or sweetness of a meal.
  4. Sourness: Think of vinegar and citrus. Acidity works wonders in balancing a dish, adding liveliness and counteracting sweetness and heat.
  5. Umami: This flavour can be hard to pin down, but is the inherent savoury notes in soy sauce, mushrooms, oysters and many cheeses. Umami is best used to complement other flavours – perfect for a dish that seems balanced but is still lacking.

How to balance

Flavour balance as an art

The above rules will help you navigate the balance of most dishes, but taste still remains subjective. A recipe cannot truly tell you the perfect measure of ingredients for a balanced dish as (for example) one brand of soy sauce may be saltier (or more savoury) than another. Therefore, balancing flavours is also somewhat of an art.

Tasting as you cook and adjusting flavours is a skill that chefs must master to perfect the dish. Stay aware of flavour saturation and cleanse your palate as you taste to ensure your tastebuds do not adjust to the flavours before they are balanced. Mastering the balance of the five key flavours is the hallmark of a skilful chef.

To find out how to become a Le Cordon Bleu qualified professional chef, contact us today.


CRICOS 02380M / RTO 4959

How to Balance Chemical Equations: 3 Simple Steps

How to balance

How to balance

A chemical equation tells you what happens during a chemical reaction. A balanced chemical equation has the correct number of reactants and products to satisfy the Law of Conservation of Mass.

In this article, we’ll talk about what a chemical equation is, how to balance chemical equations, and give you some examples to aid in your balancing chemical equations practice.

What Is a Chemical Equation?

Simply put, a chemical equation tells you what’s happening in a chemical reaction. Here’s what a chemical equation looks like:

On the left side of the equation are the reactants. These are the materials that you start with in a chemical reaction.

On the right side of the equation are the products. The products are the substances that are made as a result of a chemical reaction.

In order for a chemical reaction to be correct, it needs to satisfy something called the Law of Conservation of Mass, which states that mass can’t be created or destroyed during a chemical reaction. That means that each side of the chemical equation needs to have the same amount of mass, because the amount of mass can’t be changed.

If your chemical equation has different masses on the left and right side of the equation, you’ll need to balance your chemical equation.

How to Balance Chemical Equations—Explanation and Example

Balancing chemical equations means that you write the chemical equation correctly so that there is the same amount of mass on each side of the arrow.

In this section, we’re going to explain how to balance a chemical equation by using a real life example, the chemical equation that occurs when iron rusts:

How to balance

#1: Identify the Products and Reactants

The first step in balancing a chemical equation is to identify your reactants and your products. Remember, your reactants are on the left side of your equation. The products are on the right side.

For this equation, our reactants are Fe and O 2. Our products are Fe 2 and O 3 .

#2: Write the Number of Atoms

Next, you need to determine how many atoms of each element are present on each side of the equation. You can do this by looking at the subscripts or the coefficients. If there is no subscript or coefficient present, then you just have one atom of something.

On the reactant side, we have one atom of iron and two atoms of oxygen.

On the product side, we have two atoms of iron and three atoms of oxygen.

When you write out the number of products, you can see that the equation isn’t balanced, because there are different amounts of each atom on the reactant side and the product side.

That means we need to add coefficients to make this equation balanced.

#3: Add Coefficients

Earlier, I mentioned that there are two ways to tell how many atoms of a particular element exist in a chemical equation: by looking at the subscripts and looking at the coefficients.

When you balance a chemical equation, you change coefficients. You never change subscripts.

A coefficient is a whole number multiplier. To balance a chemical equation, you add these whole number multipliers (coefficients) to make sure that there are the same number of atoms on each side of the arrow.

Here’s something important to remember about coefficients: they apply to every part of a product. For instance, take the chemical equation for water: H2O. If you added a coefficient to make it 2H2O, then the coefficient multiples across all of the elements present. So, 2H2O means that you have four atoms of hydrogen and two atoms of oxygen. You don’t just multiply against the first element present.

So, in our chemical equation ( Fe + O 2 → Fe 2 O 3), any coefficient you add to the product has to be reflected with the reactants.

Let’s look at how to balance this chemical equation.

On the product side, we have two atoms of iron and three atoms of oxygen. Let’s tackle iron first.

When first looking at this chemical equation you might think that something like this works:

While that balances out the iron atoms (leaving two on each side), oxygen is still unbalanced. That means we need to keep looking.

Taking iron first, we know that we’ll be working with a multiple of two, since there are two atoms of iron present on the product side.

Knowing that using two as a coefficient won’t work, let’s try the next multiple of two: four.

That creates balance for iron by having four atoms on each side of the equation. Oxygen isn’t quite balanced yet, but on the product side we have six atoms of oxygen. Six is a multiple of two, so we can work with that on the reactant side, where two atoms of oxygen are present.

That means that we can write our balanced chemical equation this way:

How to balance

3 Great Sources of Balancing Chemical Equations Practice

There are many places you can do balancing chemical equations practice online.

Here are a few places with practice problems you can use:

  • Khan Academy: 7 practice problems
  • ScienceGeek: 15 practice problems
  • TemplateLab: 49 free balancing chemical equations worksheet downloads

Balancing Chemical Equations: Key Takeaways

Balancing chemical equations seems complicated, but it’s really not that hard!

Your main goal when balancing chemical equations is to make sure that there are the same amount of reactants and products on each side of the chemical equation arrow.

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How to balance

Hayley Milliman is a former teacher turned writer who blogs about education, history, and technology. When she was a teacher, Hayley’s students regularly scored in the 99th percentile thanks to her passion for making topics digestible and accessible. In addition to her work for PrepScholar, Hayley is the author of Museum Hack’s Guide to History’s Fiercest Females.