Why Focus on Balance?
After all you lift weights, do your stretches and go for a run, that should suffice – right? Well, not exactly. And, if you think you need Balance Exercises, you probably do and if you don’t think you need Balance Exercises, you will want to read this.
Why it’s Important to add Balance Exercises to Your Workout Routine
Important benefits of maintaining your Balance:
- Improves your postural alignment
- Improves core strength
- Increases energy in a vertical jump
- Improves physical and functional longevity
- Supports mental clarity and eases anxiety
So you see that everyone should incorporate balance exercises into their routine, not just athletes. Balance exercises are especially recommended if you are starting to feel the effects of aging. As we age, staying active and exercising has great benefits. Helping your aging relatives by recommending lower-body exercises will improve their balance and help keep their bones strong, both of which are crucial to quality of life and ability to be independent.
Note that medications, medical or other issues may cause you to feel unbalanced so always check with your doctor before starting balance training or any exercise routine. To make it more convenient, you can review our exercises, print the ones you want to perform, then show them to doctor so he/she can advise if they are right for you.
Men vs. Woman – Are Their Balance Issues Different?
Generally speaking, women a have a lower center of gravity than men so you would think that would the answer would be YES, but we’ve read that there isn’t evidence of differences. One such trial read:
Although women have a higher reported incident of falls, there is no evidence that there are balance differences between men and women. The benefit of performing balance exercises is of importance to everyone.
Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon). 2005 Mar;20(3):330-5. Clinical Trial; Controlled Clinical Trial
The Definition of Balance Exercises:
Balance training involves doing exercises that strengthen the muscles that help keep you upright, including your legs and core.
Source: Balance Training: Benefits, Intensity Level, and More
How to Get Started
If you haven’t used an exercise ball before, it can be a bit challenging because you have to use your muscles differently on the unstable surface to maintain your balance. So start slowly by practicing simple balance exercises. When you are ready, increase the challenge by adding movement of your legs or arms. Graduate to moving both arms and legs then add more dynamic movements such as jumps or steps as these are the most difficult types of balance exercises.
Select the correct size Stability Ball: Stability balls come in different sizes and are not sized in inches. If you have a ball available, sit on the ball with both feet flat on the floor. Your knees should be bent at 90-degree angles. If you don’t have a ball available, you can use one that is appropriate for your height:
Under 5’ = 45cm ball = 17.7 inches
5’1” – 5’ 7” = 55cm ball = 21.6 inches
5’ 8” – 6’ 2” = 65cm ball = 25.5 inches
6’ 3” and above = 75cm ball = 29.5 inches
Source: How to Measure a Fitness Ball
I have to say that of all the exercise equipment at the gym, the Bosu and Balance exercise balls are the ones I look forward to using. There are so many exercises you can do with them. There are some exercises that can be done without any equipment, with a BOSU Ball or Balance Ball – BirdDog, Plank, Side-Plank are just a few.
Bosu Ball Exercises
Bosu Ball Exercise - 1. Compressions
- Stand on top of bubble with feet spaced evenly. Keeping torso tight, shift weight from foot to foot using arms for balance.
- Keep shoulders and hips straight. To make it more difficult, you can run on top of the BOSU.
- Repeat for the required time.
- Do this between other exercises to relax the legs and feet and to work on balance.
Bosu Ball Exercise - 2. Leg Abduction
- Stand with right foot on the top of the bubble letting left leg hang free.
- When you feel stable, try to lift left leg off the BOSU to the side or front, keeping abs are tight and shoulders level.
- Repeat for desired reps and then switch sides
Bosu Ball Exercise - 3. Push-up and Plank
- Turn the BOSU so platform is up and hold on widest portion, chest directly over
middle. Either on knees or toes, hold your body in this push-up position with abs in, body in a straight line.
- Repeat for the desired time or repetitions if completing push-ups.
- Add difficulty by bending elbows and lowering into a push-up.
Balance Ball Exercises
Stability Ball Exercise - 3. Swiss Ball Bodyweight Wall Squat
- Hold a Swiss ball behind you and stand so that the ball is pinned between your back and the wall.
- Place your feet shoulder-width apart, about 2 feet in front of you.
- Keeping your back in contact with the ball, lower your body until your upper thighs are at parallel to the floor.
Stability Ball Exercise - 4. Stability Ball Plank
- Facing down, place your forearms on a stability ball and extend your legs directly behind you. Your body should form a straight line from head to heels.
- Brace your abs and hold for 60 seconds.
Stability Ball Exercise - 5. Side Plank with Feet on Swiss Ball
- Lie on your left side with your knees straight. Prop your upper body up on your left elbow and forearm. Place both feet on a Swiss ball.
- Brace your core by contracting your abs forcefully as if you were about to be punched in the gut.
- Raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from your ankles to your shoulders.
- Breathe deeply for the duration of the exercise.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds.
- Turn around so that you’re lying on your right side and repeat.
We hope you find this information and exercises useful and incorporate them into your routine. Thanks for visiting us – stay active & healthy!