One of the simplest ways to add variety to your workout is to add an element that challenges your balance.
Many people don’t think about exercising to improve their balance until they become elderly and have suffered a fall.
I encourage my clients of all ages to include balance exercises in their regular routine. Why would this be beneficial to you, no matter how old you are?
- Balance exercises get the front and back of your body working together. This is the ultimate functional core work – how your body needs to work in real life.
- You stimulate your vestibular system, which is part of your inner ear. What’s fascinating is that all your other senses are based on your vestibular system, so all your other senses improve as your ability to balance gets better.
- About 20 percent of your visual system is devoted to keeping your place in space. As you develop better balance, you take the stress off your visual system.
- You are less likely to fall down and hurt yourself.
- If your sport requires good balance – such as surfing, snow skiing or snow boarding – having the ability to adapt quickly is crucial to being able to stay upright on your surfboard, skis or snow board.
- You learn to develop grace and ease in all your movement.
- You challenge the small stabilizer muscles in your back, which develops a stronger lower back.
- You will notice you work so hard your heart rate will naturally go up, so you get a great aerobic response.
In my studio, I have collected over the years a variety of equipment to challenge your balance in a regular workout. Some of my toys for this purpose include:
- Squishy disks you can stand on
- A rectangular balance board that tips right to left
- A round balance board that circles in all directions
- Yoga blocks
- A Bosu
- Swiss balls
- Soccer balls and weighted balls
So how are you going to do this great exercise, bicep curls on a Swiss ball?
- Grab the weights you would normally use for your bicep curls.
- Stand in front of a Swiss ball.
- Kneel on the ball. Be sure to engage your abdominal muscles by lifting the pit of your abdomen towards the crown of your head.
- Keeping your core engaged, perform your repetitions.
- When you are complete, step backwards off the ball and return your weights to the rack.
Looks easy, right?
Next time you work out, be sure to try this exercise. Then send me an email and tell me how it went. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Of course, if you have had trouble falling down, I would not start you with this exercise!
In the past year, I have worked with a client who has Parkinson’s Disease and another person who had surgery on her inner ear as well as a client in her late 70s.
With these clients, I set up a progressive obstacle course so they could train their nervous system to be able to handle the challenges of walking, turning and overcoming the challenges of daily living without falling.
My advice is don’t wait until you have degenerative brain disease, an operation on your ears or have become frail and elderly.
No physical fitness training is ever wasted because your kinesthetic memory is your longest term memory – your body will remember what to do if you take the time to train it to perform at its highest capacity.
If you would like to improve your balance or want to include balance exercises in your fitness routine, set up an appointment by emailing me at email@example.com or call 678-612-8816.
In addition to physical fitness exercises, I also do kinesiology and healing work to improve the functioning of your vestibular system. As a yoga teacher for the past 20 years, I have incorporated yoga asanas to challenge and fine tune balance in my classes and one-on-one sessions.
No matter your age, you will benefit on all levels from including balance exercises in your workout.