Why Should You Do Balance Exercises – A Complete Guide
Balance exercises aren’t usually an integral part of most people’s training. However, it should be for good reasons.
Benefits of regular balance training include lowering the risk of injury, better mobility, and improving one’s intelligence.
With that in mind, we have put together some tips to improve your balance, ideas to help you get started, and explain why you should do balance exercises regularly.
Why Are Balancing Exercises Important?
Below are top five reasons why you should add balance exercises into your training.
1. Injury prevention
Improving your balance has been shown to decrease the chances of injury. That means regular balance work can dramatically lower the risk of injury among sportspeople, athletes, and everyday people. For example, a sprained ankle becomes weak after a full recovery. However, if regular balance exercises are done, you can strengthen the surrounding muscles and decrease the risk of spraining the ankle again by 40%. For elderly people, improving one’s balance can help prevent falls, which are all too common as we get older.
2. Works the muscles and brain
When you focus on balance, you actually use a range of muscles from your head to your toes. This can result in improved control within the muscles, and it can help strengthen muscles that have laid dormant from years of sitting leaning. Learning to fire a lot of these small muscles used when balancing can improve your strength and posture. They can also reduce the chances of developing arthritis, back pain, or mobility issues.
3. Enhances performance
Improving your balance and muscle good coordination can naturally increase the ability to have better control when doing challenging tasks. That means for athletes it can improve their agility and reaction times, as well as overall performance. For non-athletes, it can help increase stability when walking offroad, and make challenging tasks (like reaching for something) much easier.
4. Improves brain function
Balance exercises have been shown to have cognitive benefits. That means it can help reduce memory loss and confusion. One study found that cognitive function improved significantly when a group of elderly women performed regular balancing exercises. The results of the study showed that challenging our brain through balance exercises can have a positive effect on our brain.
How Often Should You Do Balance Exercises?
Balance exercises can be performed every day or as many days as you like. Preferably as you get older balance exercises are more important. That means if you are over 50 you should be spending at least 3 days a week training your balance.
For younger people, balance exercises should be performed at least 1-2 times a week. This can be combined with other forms of strength training or cardio work. Alternatively, it can be a completely separate workout.
Generally, there is no reason you can’t improve your balance. No equipment is needed and it can be performed anywhere at any time. That makes it one of the easiest forms of training to add to your daily routine.
If you don’t have time to set aside 30 minutes of balance training or time to commit to a balance training plan, you can try to add it into your daily routine. One good example is brushing your teeth when balancing on one leg.
5 Balance Exercises You Can Do
There is a magnitude of balance exercises you can do. However, we have combined the best 5 balance exercises to help you get started.
1. Single leg lift
To do the single-leg lift, start by standing up straight with your feet close together. While keeping your head straight, slowly lift your left leg off the floor. Hold for 10-15 seconds and then slowly lower the leg back down to the starting position and repeat with the other leg. As you become more confident, you can lift the leg higher and even to the chest. However, if you start to wobble and lose your balance, lower the leg, start again and work your way up to a high knee position over time.
2. Single leg side lift
First, stand with your feet close together. Then focus on keeping your head and eyes looking forward. Take a deep breath and then slowly lift your left leg to the side. Try to keep your posture straight as you raise the leg sideways. Once you have held this position for 10 seconds, lower your leg and repeat with the right leg.
3. Dumbbells with leg lift
To make the front and side leg lifts, you can add weight to make it more challenging. While doing either of the front or side leg lifts, place a dumbbell in your hand of the opposing leg. Once your leg is in the highest position, lift the dumbbell above your head. Then slowly lower both the weight and leg back to the start position and swap sides.
4. Use a stability ball
Stability balls are one of the best tools for increasing your balance and they can usually be implemented with other stability exercises to improve your core. Some basic exercises include sitting on a balance ball while watching television or working at a desk.
5. Balance Walk
The balance walk exercise is often used when testing people for alcohol consumption. However, it is a great way to improve balance. To do this exercise, place a then piece of rope along the ground or a piece of tape. Extend both arms out from your side and start walking along the line by placing one foot in front of the other. This is done by placing your heel against your toe as your walk.
There are many other balance exercises you can do. However, hopefully, this article has given you multiple reasons why should you do balance exercises.
If you already have a good balance, you can instead practice more challenging workouts or start performing yoga 2-3 times per week. Either way, by improving your balance you can help reduce the chances of injury, improve cognitive function and work all those small muscles that usually lay dormant.