If you haven’t already tried it, why not go for a balance board? Also known as a wobble board, this piece of equipment is gaining popularity among athletes.
Aptly named, balance boards don’t remain stationary when you stand on them. They resemble a see-saw. You balance one leg on each end of the board, and then work to maintain your balance. Ultimately, you need to keep the board’s edges from touching the ground, and avoid falling off the board.
Why a balance board is useful
#1 Performing exercises on a balance board improves your balance and coordination, by strengthening your peripheral muscles and forcing your body to use its core. Improving your balance leads to a an improved response, and awareness. Even your posture improves.
#2 Balancing helps you burn more calories than you would, doing the same exercise without the added challenge. This ultimately shapes and tones your core muscles.
#3 Not all balance boards are the same. While two-year-olds can master some, others require a little more precision and training because of their steepness and speed. However, athletes, elders, and even children who struggle with cognitive and sensory skills can benefit from using a balancing board.
How to start
Balance boards can easily be purchased online through various e-retailers. And you can get onto the Internet, to learn how to use one. Check out YouTube videos for the right cues.
When first using a balance board, begin by trying to stay on balance while standing on the board. Balance your feet shoulder-width apart with your toes pointing forward. You may wobble back and forth in the beginning, but your stability will increase, with practice.
Once you are used to it, you can challenge yourself further by trying to balance with your eyes closed. Another challenging activity includes trying to control movements of the board – moving side to side while making sure the edges don’t touch the floor.
Words of caution
Falls from balance boards can break bones, sprain joints, and tear tendons, ligaments and cartilage, so follow the following precautions for self-protection.
#1 Try to stay calm while using a balancing board. You may experience a sensation of falling triggered by any quick movements or leaning too far on one side. But don’t panic! Just sharply move your weight to the other side, as that may lead to a fall in the opposite direction.
#2 Make sure you use the board in an area free of obstacles. Prepare the space, wear protective gear when starting out, and always follow the manufacturer’s’ safety recommendations. You can further ensure freedom from injuries by ensuring that the surface you fall onto is soft.