Balance is not something we think of until a problem arises. It is something we expect to come naturally. Usually, babies struggle with their stability but once it is mastered, we don't think of it again until a simple thing like a pet running under our legs, throws off the balance and we fall. Or maybe, we get injured from a misstep and we start to consider our agility. In addition to working on cardio, strength, and even flexibility, adding balance training can prevent accidents and falls. It will also strengthen the whole body and enable its many parts to work in unison.
No specialized equipment is needed to implement this into your training schedule. You are likely working on your balance without knowing it. If you use free weights, you've already started your balancing training because you are coordinating your muscles to perform the motion while keeping your body upright. For example, a simple bicep curl while standing is an exercise in balance. Another example of strength exercises that are not typically thought of as balance training are lunges or planks. These exercises strengthen not only your muscles, but also your stability and proprioception, and are used in balance training.
Having a little experience in balance training is a great way to prevent injury inside and outside of the gym. As you work on your balance, your body awareness will also increase. It trains your brain to become accustomed to controlling all your muscles throughout various activities, thus reducing the possibility of falls and injuries. For those who are athletes or whose work is laborious, better balance results in better performance because agility is strengthened while reaction time is shortened.
Muscles send messages and signals to your brain to help you move but this process can be trained and made even more efficient. This is called balance training, or proprioception training, and it enables your muscles to send signals back and forth more quickly, thus giving you the upper-hand when your opponent suddenly makes a move you weren’t expecting or you hit a bump while skiing.
Many people don't realize that strong balance is required to make gains. Your muscles, joints, tendons, and receptors communicate, and balance training strengthens this dialogue. This enables you to push through plateaus and make more gains. You will also be more aware of what muscles you are using, and which ones are getting left behind or not being targeted. Such information will enable you to make adjustments and improve in many ways you may not have thought possible.
Because balance is such a huge component of a healthy, coordinated, and efficient body, a well-rounded fitness routine ought to include strength training, cardiovascular work, flexibility exercises and, you guessed it, balance training.
If you would like help in developing your own personalized fitness regimen,then please reach out to one of our experienced personal trainers at Junkyard Training.