Remember as a child you were asked to walk across the balance beam in gym class? Riding a bike and standing on one leg all might seem pretty incidental skills in life, but balance is the key to good fitness and mobility.
There are stacks of special balancing equipment that you can buy, or you’ll find loads at the gym, but you don’t necessarily need much to improve your balance. Yoga and Pilates, and anything that requires a bit of hand-eye coordination, can all help and in turn strengthen your core.
Here’s why you should be balancing a bit more:
Improvement of brain to muscle coordination – basically your link with the brain and the muscles you use in order to do a certain activity is improved and you can perform the activity much more efficiently.
Calorie burning – trying to balance uses a lot of energy and the body uses more calories trying to keep you upright.
Muscle isolation – Rather than using lots of muscles to do one job, balance training helps you isolate the one muscle you need, so you use that one more effectively.
Stabilises hips – The gluteus medius, situated on the outer surface of the pelvis, is engaged during balance on one leg and single leg exercises, so your hips are stabilised.
Works the core – The all important core muscles which strengthen and give good posture are worked extra hard in balancing exercises. The stronger your core, the better you will be at a number of exercises.
Think you've already got good balance? Next time you're at the gym, try running through this simple series of exercises and get a feel for your core control:
Interesting article. I have never really thought about including balance in my workouts. Even better - it's something I can do while standing around waiting for food to cook!
I badly need these exercises thanks - I have terrible balance and really need to work on it!
Older people really benefit from balancing exercises - I had a relative who could still touch her toes at 90!
I've never given balance a second thought really so it was interesting to see just how useful these types of exercises can be.
good article! I shall be following that video, my wobbly knees will appreciate it.
I like the idea of balancing exercising your mind as well as your body. As I get older I reckon I need this more and more. Thanks for the reminder!
Aren't very old people who have practiced lots of balancing yoga moves meant to have very strong ankles and legs? Seems like it's worth adding a few to your workouts.
my physio is also very keen on this kind of thing. Get the small muscles right and you solve a lot of problems for the big ones.
I used to be dreadful at the balance beam as a child! But I have to say balance "practice" has certainly improved my overall fitness.