Importance of Balance Exercises

21 June 2023

Balance is one of those elements that we take for granted, until it is shakey or lost. There are a number of factors that combine for good or bad balance, including age, muscle tone and strength, joint range of motion, and the ability to distribute weight evenly. Balance training can help anyone of any age stay safe.

Good balance improves reaction time, so you can be quicker catching a ball or changing direction in many sports. This also means that in daily life, you can move better when someone bumps into you or you encounter some unforeseen obstacle. The training engages muscle fibers which will increase power and endurance. If you are on an unstable surface, core muscles (abdominals, back, etc.) should engage providing better balance and lower the risk of injury during workouts or just walking over cobble stones or broken cement. Activating glutes and inner thighs helps strengthen knee tendons and can help prevent undue stress or damage in the ACL or patella.

Agility training improves coordination and strengthens the same muscles that provide endurance like core muscles and ankles. Using the entire body is far better than isolated parts. This benefits everyday activities as well as athletics. In the long run, strength and agility reduces the chance for injury, improves reaction time, and can help with speed.

Balance training can range from the simple to intense. They can involve other items like balance balls or skateboards, or just the use of your own body. Examples include:

  • Standing with weight on one leg and raising the other to the side or behind you.
  • Using a balance board.
  • Standing up and sitting down from a chair without using your hands to push.
  • Tai Chi, yoga, or Pilates.
  • Walking in a straight line heel to toe like on a tightrope.

Unlike some other training, balance does not require high impact but relies on slow and methodical movements. Incorporating some of the above into a daily routine will help. Over time you can add other factors like closing your eyes, letting go of a support like a chair, or adding more movements to the yoga poses. You can also try adding some strength training to the regimen like hand weights to build arm muscles. For a real challenge, join a ballet class where you will learn about correct spinal positions, core strength, and balance as well. Exercises can be done daily or even multiple times a day.

You will find that improving balance also will help with overall flexibility. Slower exercises won’t help with aerobics, but they are low impact for those out of shape, older, or previously injured. Unless you enroll in a class (like yoga or pilates), there is no cost. You don’t need a lot of fancy or expensive equipment, although Bosu balls or other apparatus is available. Generally they can be done indoors or out and can even accommodate a busy travel schedule because they only take a few minutes and can be done in a hotel room as easily as your living room.

Finger Lakes Events

See Your Business Here!

For more information on our listings, advertising, coupons, and mailers, please contact us today!