Article originally from www.verywellfit.com
Balance training isn’t just for your grandparents anymore! Athletes have discovered how specific balance training exercises make them more explosive and powerful. Seniors have found it helps them prevent injuries from falls and maintain their independence. And fitness lovers all over have discovered that balance training helps improve their workout activities as well as their everyday life. In fact, just moving around efficiently in life requires postural alignment and good balance. Let’s take a look at the ways balance is important for everyone and try some exercises that will improve your balance today!
Balance is divided into two types: static and dynamic. Static balance is the ability to maintain the body’s center of mass within its base of support. Dynamic is the ability to move outside of the body’s base of support, while maintaining posture control. Both are important, and both can be improved with exercises that focus on balance. Here are a few to get started.
For the Athlete:
Proprioceptive training is used with athletes all the time both to rehab from and to prevent injuries. Simply put, proprioception is a sense of joint position. By practicing balance exercises, the athlete gains a sense of control and awareness of his or her joints and how they function when the body is in motion. Think about ankles. Ankle injuries are common in athletes due to all the twisting, turning, stopping and starting. Even the strongest ankle can be injured if the athlete hasn’t trained the neuromuscular system to react properly under specific surfaces. Balance training also gives the athlete more power and force because they learn to use their center of gravity more efficiently. A strong and connected core helps you jump higher, throw farther and run faster.
For the Senior:
When a child falls he or she gets right back up and keeps moving. But when an older adult falls the consequences can be severe and even deadly. Each year, thousands of older Americans die due to falls and broken hips. At the very least many will experience a loss of independence due to a fall. Just as the athletes can train their bodies, seniors can use exercise programs and moves that focus on balance to reduce and prevent falls. Harvard Health reports that exercise programs reduce falls that cause injuries by 37 percent, falls leading to serious injuries by 43 percent, and broken bones by 61 percent.
For the Average Person:
Let’s make this clear: balance training is for everyone. The list of benefits is long, but here are just a few:
With all of that in mind, you can start incorporating simple balance training into your life today. A few ways to do this at home include:
In terms of good exercises for balance training, one of the best tools to own is a BOSU (“Both Sides Up”). A Bosu is basically a half ball with a flat platform. The name is derived from the fact that you can exercise on both the ball side or the flat side. A Bosu provides an unstable surface on which to practice squats, lunges, jumps, planks and hundreds of other exercises. Try these exercises on for size and, if you don’t have access to a Bosu, you can easily modify by folding a mat in half and standing on it or rolling up a towel. Any kind of unstable surface will suffice. And if your balance is struggling, don’t use any extra equipment. Just practice these on the floor.
This pose is great on the floor, a folded mat or the Bosu. It will strengthen your ankles, improve your balance and engage your core.
With or without dumbbells, this pose not only strengthens your hamstrings and glutes but it challenges your balance and forces you to pull your abs in tightly!
This is one of the best core exercises around. This will challenge the transverse abdominus and teach your core to stabilize better than any other move around!
Adding the unstable surface of a Bosu to your basic squat will train your body to “grip” all the right muscles at the right time.
Lunges are naturally a balance activity because you are ending up on one leg at a time. Standing on a Bosu or a folded up mat will make them even more of a challenge.
Could you, or someone you know use more balance training? Of course! Give us a call at (602) 808-8989 to learn more about our Balance Matters program as well as our Balance and Proprioception Training.