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About Balance Training

Some have seen many fun-looking toy like devices in gyms, fitness stores or in magazines these days.  These fitness tools are specifically designed to help improve balance and develop a strong core.  


Balance Benefits

Whether you are a top athlete in the world class, someone recovering from an injury, a toddler learning to walk, or an older person recovering from a stroke, balance training is beneficial and necessary.  


The Major Benefits to Balance Training Include:

-  Improves neuromuscular coordination and proprioception – basically it helps improve the communication between your brain and muscles. 


-  Your body has to work harder to stabilize.  With single leg type balance exercises your gluteus medius is engaged and worked.  Therefore, this helps with hip stabilization and this in turn improves core stabilization.  Core stabilization in turn improves coordination, athletic skill, and posture.   


Self Test Your Balance

Here is a good test to evaluate your own balance. Stand up and imagine you're going to walk forward on a straight line, placing one foot directly in front of the other so that the heel of your front foot touches the toes of your back foot. Keep both feet flat on the floor. Hold that position and close your eyes. If you can maintain your balance for 30 seconds, you're doing pretty well. If you are wobbling just about as soon as you close your eyes - or before - your balance is poor. 


You don’t need to buy expensive equipment to improve your balance. You can do several exercises without any equipment.  


-  Try standing on one foot with your arms out to your sides (hands on your hips for more difficult, or closing your eyes).  Hold that position for 30 seconds, then try the other leg. 


-  Try taking a giant step forward and balancing on one foot for 10 seconds, then take a giant step backwards and balance on one foot.  Repeat 5 each leg.  


-  Try taking a large step to the side and hold position for 10 seconds, then step to the other side and hold for 10 seconds.  Repeat 10 repetitions. 


-  Try adding 5 or 10 minutes of balance exercises to your workouts three times a week. You can tell if you are getting better when you can maintain your balance during the various exercises for longer periods of time.

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