Balance training is often neglected when people are developing their fitness regime. This may be because they don’t understand the benefits of balance training. Balance is the ability to control your body’s position, whether stationary (i.e. a complex yoga pose) or while moving (e.g. skiing).
Balance is a key component of fitness, along with strength, endurance, and flexibility. There are various ways to perform balance exercises. Equipment like a stability ball, BOSU ball, or balance board can be incorporated. Improving your balance can also help with performing your daily activities like standing on tiptoes to reach something on the top shelf, walking up and down the stairs, or walking on an uneven sidewalk without falling.
1) Body Awareness – Body awareness is the sense of how your limbs are oriented in space, also known as proprioception. According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, balance training improves body awareness, which decreases the likelihood of injury.
2) Coordination – Balance training requires your entire body to work together, otherwise you will fall or stumble. Improved coordination during balance training will be transferred into coordination in everyday life.
3) Joint Stability – Balance training promotes stables knees, ankles, hips, and shoulders. This can prevent a large array of injuries including sprained ankles and serious knee problems.
4) Reaction Time – Balance training can improve one’s reaction time. If you happen to slip or stumble when performing balance exercises, your body needs to re-balance immediately or you will fall. This in turn will improve your reaction time in everyday life.
5) Long term health- Incorporating balance training into your exercise routine helps to maintain or improve your balance, which is needed to prevent falls and fractures. As we age, our balance can deteriorate, something we want to avoid.
It is evident how important balance is to living a healthy, functional life. It is important to incorporate balance exercise into your fitness routine. If you don’t know where to start, try these balance exercises:
If you find standing on one foot very challenging at first, try this progression to improve your balance:
Are you someone that is already incorporating balance exercises into your fitness routine? If so, share with us some of the exercises you have in your regimen by commenting below.Marlie DoristonB.S. KinesiologyPersonal TrainerBody In Balance Fitness Center