Balance work has been a cornerstone of my own movement practice and incorporated into all of my professional work with clientele. It is overlooked in the modern fitness world in my opinion though due to the recent developments in neuroscience, it is seeing a bit of a renaissance.
I initially began experimenting with balance training in the 90’s when introduced to the made in Vermont, Vew Do boards of some of my action sport junkie friends. It instantly made sense to me..this mimicked the feeling of action and adventure sport and seemed logical that it should be incorporated into the mix. While it had obvious crossover to sports like surfing and snowboarding, it also really made sense to bulletproof the body a bit and preparing for imminent falls and crashes. It also really made sense for the seasonal tradesman work that I’ve done for many years. Carrying heavy loads up ladders, balancing on a two by four on the second story while doing carpentry or staying strong and balanced on slippery terrain while running a chainsaw..these real life scenarios were even more dangerous than biking or surfing. Adopting balance work made me more prepared and less injury prone. Logically it made for some interesting progressions, like one arm cinder block presses on a balance board, grabs, spins and jumps on Indo Boards or just substituting swiss balls for chairs.
Once I guinea pig a modality, research it, study, guinea pig and develop mastery, its time to pass it along and share and spread the stoke! Clients from all walks of life loved it. People with sedentary jobs loved it, kids who were chained to desks all day loved it and athletes loved it too. They not only loved it, but they were getting stronger, more mobile and confident. And they put it into their own practices, and worked out their own workarounds, games and routines. I also introduced many to the practice of substituting balance boards or balls for desks or chairs.
***Photo Courtesy of Indo Board***
Balance training is core training… far more than silly crunches or isolative exercises that load up your spine more than anything. There have been numerous conclusive studies proving the benefits of training in regards to neuromuscular control and functional performance.
I realize now that balance training is one of my specialties at Mocean365. Time flies by and its been about 20 years since those first days on my friends balance boards started to change my perspective! Now as an “aging athlete”, it is more vital than ever to incorporate. I am sure to continually progress and keep my brain as engaged as possible.
Balance training in my opinion could be incorporated into every single persons movement practice whether you are 10 or 60, healthy or deep in the throes of an illness or coming back from a serious injury. It is all about applying balance training with your ability and current physical condition. If you have a broken leg, you can practice juggling. If you have a broken arm you can challenge yourself on a Swiss ball or slackline.
So if you are not incorporating balance work into your life, I implore you to do so. It could be simple as a walking down a 2×4 that costs less than $3. Once you master basics, slowly add professions…walk backwards, close your eyes, walk sideways, contralateral crawls, do medicine ball tosses with a friend..mix it up as you master..and the great thing about it is, you Will be having Fun so I won’t have to remind you of that@!