Why is balance important in fitness?
By Rylee Baisden

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Why is balance important in fitness?

There are several reasons that balance is an integral part of any fitness routine. Good balance reduces the risk of injury to your joints, ligaments and tendons by ensuring they get the support they need throughout each exercise or stretch.  We all know how easy it is to pull or strain one of these when you are off-balance.

Good balance also increases the effectiveness of your workout by engaging more muscles in each exercise. More muscles working means a more significant expenditure of energy, which means you will get better results in less time. So good balance not only keeps you safer it also makes your workouts more efficient.

In sports and other forms of physical activity, balance is a crucial element for success. To be efficient in any sport, you must possess good balance because it improves your core strength, coordination, agility and speed.

The connection between fitness and balance continues even when you are not exercising or playing a sport – consider the chores you do around the house, holding a small (or bigger) child, or reaching for something on a high shelf. Balance is vital in almost everything we do.

 

1. What is balance, and why is it important?

Balance is the ability to maintain equilibrium and poise in an upright position against uneven terrain or unstable conditions.  It is most closely associated with athleticism, coordination and endurance. Even if you are not an athlete per se, we can all benefit from having a certain standard of balance in our lives.

Balance is important because it helps you avoid falls, the leading cause of injury among older adults. Balance not only affects how our bodies move but also how we think. When one is unbalanced, anxiety levels increase, and there is no sense of control or security.

Some of the most common injuries resulting from the lack of balance are falls, the leading cause of injury among older adults. Other injuries include muscle tension or strain, back pain, eye strain, and sore feet.

Why is balance important in fitness

2. How does balance affect your body, mind, and everyday life

You may not see how you are using your balance on a daily basis, but think about the last time that you had to get up from the couch or climbed stairs. These are simple tasks that require balance. There is less chance for injury when you have good balance because your joints are being properly supported every time you stand or walk. Good balance also reduces the risk of falls for people who are already at a greater risk because of their age or other health issues.

Good balance contributes to good health and directly affects your body’s ability to stay in optimal shape.  When your balance is good, it means that you can maintain the proper posture and body positioning to get the most out of your workouts.

Good balance helps increase performance in sports because it uses more muscles at one time. It also keeps your core strong and healthy. If your core is weak and you lack good balance, injuries are likely to occur because of the stress on other areas of your body. In athletics, balance enhances performance by allowing a more fluid motion and stronger stance. In everyday life, good balance reduces falls by improving stability.

Finally, good balance has mental benefits. Just like fitness routines increase energy levels and elevate moods, so does maintaining a sense of stability. When you focus on improving your balance, you constantly refine your body’s natural ability to adapt to continually changing conditions. This boosts your confidence while relieving stress which can cause tension in the mind and body.

 

3. Tips for improving your sense of balance

There are several ways to work on your balance, no matter how old you are or your fitness level. A few exercises that will help strengthen your core and improve your sense of stability are yoga, Pilates, tai chi, and low impact aerobics.

So what are the best ways to work on your balance at home? There are several things you can do at home to improve your balance. One of the best is to tackle some simple core exercises, strengthening your abdominal muscles and lower back. Try out some of these simple exercises:

      • Pose standing on one foot for 30 seconds and then switch legs. Do this three times with each leg.
      • Stand on one leg with your eyes closed for 30 seconds. Then repeat the exercise, but this time try to touch the wall in front of you with your free hand. You might need to take a step or two forward when you open your eyes to reach the wall. Do this three times with each leg.
      • Toe taps. This is an excellent exercise for the ankles, often the most injured body part when you lack balance. Try to touch your toes with your fingertips three times. Then move your hands back an inch further and try again. Repeat this process until you can reach beyond your feet.
      • Hula Hoop or jump rope while standing on one leg. You can start this exercise with your eyes closed, but only if you are very steady on one foot. Try to do 20 hops or jumps with each leg before switching feet. Maintain good balance throughout the exercise and remember to change feet after 10 seconds of hopping jumping.

Keep in mind that not all exercises can be done without losing your balance at least a little bit. So do the above exercises regularly and start working on enough variety, so you don’t get bored, but keep in mind to always stop immediately if you feel any pain or discomfort.

The key is to listen to your body as you work out and accept that some days will be better than others.

 

Conclusion

Balance is a crucial part of any fitness routine. If you want to improve your overall fitness or have trouble maintaining balance, it’s time to take action! The exercises we mentioned use different muscles to keep challenging yourself and work on more than one aspect of improving your balance. In addition to these exercises, try some yoga poses with standing balances or stretches that require holding positions for several seconds. You may even find an exercise program online explicitly designed for people who are looking to work on their sense of stability – there are plenty available out there! Whatever method works best for you, make sure that balancing becomes a regular part of your workout regimen.

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