Gimme a B… Gimme an A… Gimme an L…A…N…C…E…
What’s it spell?
Foot speed; more distance on your kicks/punts, golf drives, hits to the outfield gap, 3-point jump shots; more velocity on your slapshots; higher position in the water…
Stability, my friends is (an often overlooked) key to physical wellness – not its health but its performance aspect. You simply will move better and feel better moving the better your stability.
But you didn’t make us spell out ‘stability.’ What does balance have to do with stability?
BALANCE is the CORE of STABILITY. A play on words there because stability is a by-product of core strength, which is stimulated when you do balance work. So, recalling grade-school geometry and using reasoning, if A then B and also C. Please don’t pin me down for the exact theory but you get the gist, and most important science has the evidence to back up what most of us just know – a stable core is a strong core is a happy core.
Balance work is very subtle. You aren’t necessarily going to ‘see’ balance—it’s not a displayable vanity muscle—but you can instantaneously feel even subtle improvement regardless of your place on the activity performance spectrum, meaning it applies to elite athletes as well as those just getting into an exercise routine, and to any age.
Subtle process, yes, but the product pays huge dividends. Strengthening your balance can be the mecca of conditioning considering its web of benefit. Improved motor skill capacity – in fact the more proficient your skill execution the more you need to think past skill practice to catalyze improvement. And beyond catching, throwing or kicking a ball, or running fast(er), balance has quality of life implication for how it can sustain functional independence as we age. Ah, ageing. The risk of falling increases drastically as we age, and with it the chance of losing independence. Active balance work lessens the likelihood of falls, thus decreasing the risk of diminished quality of life due to lessened independence.
So, whether elite athlete or targeting functional independence, structure balance work into your ‘Footprint FitBASE routine just as cardio, weights and flexibility work, and use FitBESTS to track your balance-related benchmarks.
And with that I rest my case.
Below are examples of simple balance exercises. Please consult with a qualified fitness professional or access the senior fitness download at the fitness pavilion of www.ironfootprintfitness.com for more ideas.
Stand on one foot with other foot drawn @ 6” off the ground
Stand on one foot with other foot drawn @ 6 “ off the ground with eyes closed
Stand on one foot with eyes closed and bicycle other leg: forward, backward, side-to-side
Stand on one foot and repeatedly draw the other knee upward while at the same time crunching your opposite elbow to meet it
Triple back flips on the balance beam
Oops, maybe I missed a few steps in the progression…