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Balance Exercise Benefits

Stability and balance exercise benefits everyone, young and old

Stability and balance exercise benefits are often overlooked as important aspects of your health and fitness routine. Even if you aren’t a performance based athlete, simple balance exercises can add real value to your life, exercise programs and sporting performances.

Balance Exercise Benefits

Lauren – professional dancer

General Benefits

You do not need to be as advanced as professional dancer Lauren (see picture) to get the benefits of balance exercises. For non-exercisers these exercises can be even more critical as they may not get these in other ways. Some benefits include:

  • improved posture – If our ankle strength and stability are limited, our muscles through our hip complex have to work harder and become tighter, causing muscle imbalance which can lead to a variety of different aches and pains.
  • improved core strength and function
  • improved co-ordination
  • burns greater calories e.g. the difference between walking lunges and static lunges
  • reduces injuries from falls, which is so important in our older generation
  • greater fun and variety e.g. playing games with the kids by throwing a ball while standing on one leg.

Benefits for Exercisers

Balance Exercise Benefits

Georgia (Australian netball representative) improving her core strength and stability

Most recreational exercisers tend to focus on the technical skills, fitness requirements and strength demands of their specific sport. As a result they can get some great performance improvements with:

  • faster response times
  • greater power as the body has to stabilise first before using its strength e.g. try jumping from a unstable surface versus a flat surface. With which one do you get higher?
  • less sporting injuries due to better postural alignment
  • greater neuromuscular connection by improving the pathways between the brain and the muscle.
Balance Exercise Benefits

Gillian completing the 1 legged standing balance test

Let’s test your balance
Step 1. Make sure you are in a safe place and free of any trip hazards or sharp edges. Lift one leg off the ground and time how long you can hold it without putting the leg down or moving the foot.
Step 2. Stop if you have reached longer that 2 mins
Step 3. Repeat Step 1 for the opposite leg.
Step 4. Start on the original leg, get your balance and focus then close your eyes. Don’t forget to time how long you can stay balanced.
Step 5. Repeat Step 4 with the opposite leg with eyes closed.

Results: If you are over 2 mins, this is considered good. 1 mins to 2 mins is normal with under 1 mins needing improvement. You may also notice a difference between your left and right legs as well as the difference between your eyes open to closed. To get the best results, focus on your weaker side or eyes open/eyes closed so that you will become more balanced!

See other “Balance exercise benefits” related articles and videos

Proudly published in March 2015 edition South City Bulletin

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