5 Exercises To Improve Balance & Why They Are Important
Balance training is one of those things that tends to get neglected, mainly because the benefits of balance training are rarely talked about.
Balance is the ability to control your body’s position, whether you are standing still or moving, making it an important component of fitness along with strength, flexibility and endurance, which should not be ignored.
Benefits Of Balance Exercises
- Prevents falls during training and outdoor cardio exercises
- Reduces the risk of lower-extremity injuries, such as knee and ankle injuries
- Improves proprioception (the ability to know where you are in space)
Let’s start off easy with the tree pose. Most people should be able to complete this pose with one foot flat on the ground, so if this is a little too easy for you, try doing the tree pose on a Bosu (either side) or on a folded over mat. The tree pose is great to strengthen ankles, improve balance and engage your core.
- Stand with feet together, keeping your spine tall, and arms outstretched.
- Slowly lift your left foot up to the side of your calf and balance on the right foot only.
- Slowly lift arms overhead to make the branches of the tree.
- Hold for 30 seconds, then switch legs.
Squats on Bosu
Squats are great for balance on their own, but performing squats on a Bosu will train your body to engage all the right muscles at the right time. If you consider yourself to have adequate balance, squatting on a Bosu is a great way to humble yourself.
- Stand on the ball side of a Bosu with feet hip-width apart.
- Sit back into a squat position with weight sinking into your heels.
- Engage your glutes and hammies as your push back up to a standing position.
- Try 8 to 10 reps.
Sumo Squat With Outer Thigh Pulse
This exercise will strengthen your lower body and force your core to engage while improving your balance. If you want to make this more difficult, try holding a medicine ball using the arm that isn’t extended.
- Start in a wide stance, feet turned out 45 degrees.
- Bend at your knees and hips to lower into a sumo squat. Keep your torso upright.
- As you stand, extend one leg and the opposite arm. Hold and pulse your leg up 2 to 3 inches three times.
- Put your leg back down to start position and repeat.
- Alternate sides for 12 reps.
Plank With Arm Raise
Planking with arm raises is a multi-functional exercise that improves balance, shoulder and spinal stability while developing strength in the core and lower back regions – that’s a win, win, win, win, win if you ask us!
- Starting in a high plank position with your arms extended and hands directly under your shoulders.
- Keep your hips stable and core engaged as you lift one arm straight out in front of you.
- Keep holding this arm up and fan it out to the side.
- Return your hand to the front again, then lower it to the ground.
- Repeat this sequence on the opposite side.
- Continue to alternate sides for 12 rounds.
Rolling Forearm Side Plank
This exercise really challenges your balance as your body moves between creating momentum and stabilising in a static hold. To make this more difficult, try lifting the top leg before rolling to the opposite side, or to make it easier, place your bottom knee on the ground for some additional support.
- Starting in a side forearm plank, prop up your body weight on your forearm.
- Stack your feet on top of each other and extend the top arm.
- Roll under your body to the opposite side, switching which arm is on the ground and which is in the air.
- Hold on each side for 2 to 3 seconds.
- Continue to roll from side to side 12 times.