What is balance and why should we work on it?
Balance is how we are able to remain upright throughout the day. Balance is a component of fitness among muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular fitness and flexibility. It is one of our motor skills, its something that we take for granted even though we use it everyday, picking up things from the floor, reaching into cupboards, playing sports… the list goes on and we don’t spend enough time working on it.
So what are the benefits?
- Improved performance in sports
- Walking straighter
- Improved core strength
- Improved strength
- Be more agile
- Maintain optimal postural alignment when the body is challenged
- Better quality of life
- Faster balance reaction time
- Reduced risk of falls
How do I improve my balance?
All you need to do is put yourself in an unstable environment – for example if you are doing standing bicep curls, try standing on one leg, or on one leg with your eyes closed! Just by doing something as simple as that will immediately set you off balance making what originally started off as a simple exercise into a more challenging one.
Improving your balance can be as simple as standing on one leg and holding it for a few seconds, it depends on how good your balance already is. Try sitting on a fit ball and raising one leg-see how long you can hold it, easy?
Try these exercises to really put your balance to the test:
Squats on the Bosu – It doesn’t matter which way you have the bosu whether its flat or dome side up, try performing 10 squats without wobbling.
Single leg squats on the stability disk – Want more of a challenge? Try a single leg squat on a stability disk – try and go as low as possible (if its too hard, try holding onto the wall first).
Press ups on the stability disk – Place your hands on the disks (you can do full or half press ups) keep your wrists fixed into position.
Chest press on the ball – Try doing your chest press on the ball instead of the bench make sure your back, neck and shoulders are supported on the ball, keep your hips up.
Let us know how you get on!
By Kirsty Kemp, Fitness Instructor at Reynolds Fitness Spa, Rainham