Posted by Sara Zuboff on 24th Apr 2017
When people think of fitness, they usually list cardiovascular efficiency, strength and flexibility as the top three important skills. However, balance should definitely be added to the list. For most people, balance goes unrecognized, because it’s easy to take this skill for granted. Unfortunately, activities like walking, standing and even jogging may be considered a simple activity and when you’re considered healthy and relatively fit, it is.
It can be easy to forget that these skills evolved through the acclimation of balance skills. Most people don’t remember those first efforts to sit up or those uneasy first steps as a toddler, but the truth is our first attempts were often met with failure as we encountered gravity and had to build balance skills in order to conquer it.
Proprioception refers to our body’s ability to understand the sense of our body in an environment and the effort needed to perform specific movements, like sitting up or walking. In order to balance, the body must interpret a complex system of feedback from diverse areas of the body: from the soles of the feet, the inner ear in relation to gravity, and from visual cues.
Balance is lost when the information is too complex to process. For example, learning to ride a bike, ice skate or walk on a balance beam are difficult, dynamic challenges to our balance skills and must be practiced in order to master.
Anyone who has ever suffered an inner ear infection will sense how easily our sense of balance which ordinarily works without much effort can simply malfunction causing difficulty performing the simplest tasks like standing and walking.
Unfortunately, research has found our balance ability diminishes significantly with age. From age 25 to age 75, we can experience a staggering 75 percent loss of balance ability.
The good news is that balance skills can be improved and expanded from an individual’s current baseline to more advanced skills with practice. Improvements in balance can offer many benefits.
Balance skills improve all areas of fitness. For example, an increased kinesthetic awareness also increases energy efficiency in activities like running and weight training while also improving the effectiveness and safety of overall fitness training, making for a more efficient and successful workout.
Stand with feet together in a line--with heel to toe contact. Then close the eyes and hold the position for thirty seconds. If there is difficulty balancing or wobbling with the effort to maintain the position, balance skills need to be improved.
As with any type of fitness skill or training, it can be difficult to know where to start. And with balance training, there are myriad fitness training tools and devices to choose from. We’ve shared some of our favorite pieces of balance training equipment, from beginners’ to advanced, to show the varied and innovative tools that can be easily incorporated into a fitness regimen.
Balance training usually relies on creating an unstable surface or environment in which to strengthen necessary stabilizing muscles and joints needed to maintain balance. This instability can be intimidating to train in for beginners, so it’s important to find a safe, yet effective balance training tool that can introduce beginners to balance training successfully. Togu’s Senso Vein Trainer is perfect for beginners! With a reduced height to create more safety and stability, the Togu Senso Trainer is completely adjustable with a convenient air valve in order to provide added resistance as balance skills improve. The Senso Vein Trainer is great for fitness as well as working with balance skills while recovering from an injury.
Once balance skills begin to improve, an intermediate balance training device can be used to provide some variety and challenge. Togu’s ABS Powerball offers a next-level balance training device perfect for the intermediate trainer!
With Togu’s patented Anti-burst technology and double-groove design to avoid slippage, the ABS Powerball is a safe and effective balance training tool that is perfect for:
The Togu Powerball can be used with dynamic functional training exercises with or without weights adding variety and diversity to workouts. What’s more, the ABS Powerball can be used for pre or post-natal exercises!
As balance training skills continue to advance, finding a fitness device that incorporates higher levels of strengthening for the trunk, hip, and core is important for developing increased functional output.
The Togu Posturedo Balance disk is the perfect piece of fitness equipment to develop all three! For more advanced balance training, Posturedo Balance disk was designed with four adjustable height stabilizers, that can be used to set different inclination degrees offering incremental training progression as skills continue to advance. Not only that, but with its wide base platform, the Togu balance disk is appropriate for functional training exercises in either standing or prone positions.
When looking for an all-levels appropriate piece of balance training equipment, it can be difficult to find one that isn’t too strenuous or heavy. The Togu Brasil Balance Plus is a dynamic, full-body balance training device that combines a balance trainer with a therapy disk in one. With a simple yet effective design, the Togu Brasil strengthens the back and core muscles with exercises appropriate to all levels of fitness. Made of non-slip material, the Brasil Balance Plus can be used at home or in the gym. Not only that, but the Togu Brasil Plus is air-filled and created with Togu’s patented ABS technology making it easy on the joints and perfect for use during injury recovery.
Balance is one of the most overlooked skills in fitness and is easy to take for granted until we start losing the ability to maintain our own stability in movement. However, with the right innovative balance training tools, it’s easy to incorporate balance training in all fitness regimens: from beginning to advanced balance training. What’s more, as balance skills advance the benefits are reaped in all areas of fitness and our overall well-being and health.
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