Importance of Balance Training
Balance is involved in about every activity of daily life like walking, bending over to tie your shoes, or going up and down the stairs. Balance training improves skills necessary for these real-life movements and helps reduce your risk of injury. Balance is a trainable skill, like riding a bike, but consistency is important. The more you practice, the better your balance will be.
Balance Training Improves:
- Body Awareness: Balance training helps you to understand where your body is in space and how it moves. It helps to know how far to reach for an item on a high shelf, or to move to avoid bumping into someone.
- Reaction Time: If you step off a curb and stumble, your body needs to react immediately to re-balance and keep you from falling.
- Coordination: The brain sends signals to your muscles to coordinate movement. Since maintaining balance requires many muscles to work together, balance training improves mind-body coordination.
How to Add Balance:
There are a variety of ways to add balance training into your existing exercise program or daily routine. Here are some ideas to get started.
- Yoga: This is a great low-impact exercise which helps improve endurance, strength, flexibility, and balance.
- Tai Chi: “Studies show that those who did tai chi had higher measures of stability and less likely to fall than those who did other stretching programs” 1
- Single leg balance: Try standing on one leg while brushing your teeth or when standing in line at the grocery store.
- Toe stands: Raise up to the balls of your feet and hold your balance for a count to 10. Repeat 3-5 times.
- Sit to stand: Sit down into a chair and stand up again without using your hands for support.
Reference: Mahoney, S. (2019, March 13). Falling Actually Kills More Women Every Year Than Breast Cancer. Retrieved from https://www.prevention.com/fitness/a20443104/6-ways-to-improve-your-balance/