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Balance. Why does balance training needs to be included in your training routine?

Balance is one of the most important skills we need in our lives. Yet, it’s the one skill that most people don’t train. Balance becomes more and more important as we age. Improving our balance, though, can help all of us to perform better, whether we’re playing sport, carrying the groceries or running on the treadmill. Though it might not cross your mind, you need good balance to do just about everything, including walking, getting out of a chair, and leaning over to tie your shoes. Strong muscles and being able to keep yourself steady make all the difference in those and many other things you do every day.

Balance training involves doing exercises that strengthen the muscles that help keep you upright, including your legs and core. These kinds of exercises can improve stability and help prevent falls.

Doing balance exercises can be intense, like some very challenging yoga poses. Others are as simple as standing on one leg for a few seconds. Or you can use equipment that forces your body to stabilize itself, like a Bosu half-circle stability ball or a balance board you use along with a video game.

The key to overall fitness and vitality lies in choosing a variety of exercise options. If you train just one way, you will be limiting yourself. By cross training so as to challenge all of your body’s systems and movement patterns, you’ll have a far healthier, more functional body. That means that you’ll become stronger, more stable and more in control as you perform the demands of your day.

In a young, healthy body, the senses of the body such as hearing, sight and touch help us to remain balanced. As we age, however, we may suffer a loss in the sensitivity of one or more of those senses. Other effects of aging, such as degenerative diseases and accumulated joint injuries, may also cause us to lose our balance.

According to the Vestibular Disorders Association website, one of the leading health concerns for people over the age of 60 is falling, which is often related to balance issues. That’s why a balance program is a great idea for retired folks.

Examples of balance exercises include:

– Standing with your weight on one leg and raising the other leg to the side or behind you
– Putting your heel right in front of your toe, like walking a tightrope
– Standing up and sitting down from a chair without using your hands
– Walking while alternating knee lifts with each step
– Doing tai chi or yoga
– Using equipment, like a Bosu, which has an inflatable dome on top of a circular platform, which challenges your balance.

Over time, you can improve your balance with these exercises by:

– Holding the position for a longer amount of time
– Adding movement to a pose
– Closing your eyes
– Letting go of your chair or other support
– You can do balance exercises as often as you’d like, even every day. Add in two days a week of strength training, which also helps improve your balance by working the muscles that keep you stable.