Ever heard of balance boards? These nifty new exercise tools are great for physical rehabilitation, strengthening, and extreme “boarding” sports like surfing. If you think a balance board isn’t an exercise tool you can use, think again.
What Balance Boards Are
Balance boards are basically boards or small platforms with a cylindrical or half-spherical fulcrum at its middle. Most boards are used by standing with the feet on both ends of the board, balancing on the fulcrum, and making sure none of the edges of the board touch the floor.
Some balance boards even have fulcrums that move around — cylinders that move from one end to the other, or spheres that act like ball bearings. These are obviously for more advanced exercises, particularly those that only extreme athletes need to master.
A popular variety of the balance board happens to be the “wobble board.” These boards are disc-shaped and have a half-spherical fulcrum at their middles. Wobble boards are more difficult to use because you don’t only have to focus on keeping two opposite sides off the ground, but ALL sides.
How Balance Boards Work
Balance boards are meant to train the body to stay in balance no matter what position it’s in. The act of balancing also strengthens the core, improves flexibility, and boosts your motor skills. It also helps individuals coming off ankle injuries to build strength in their ankles without any risk of sudden impacts.
As mentioned before, extreme athletes such as skateboarders, surfers, and snowboarders also use balance boards extensively — after all, their lives DO depend on their ability to keep their balance. Gymnasts also use balance boards extensively, for practice and exercise outside the gym.
Balance Board Exercises
Simple bodyweight exercises get a new dimension to them when done with a balance board. For instance, try doing pushups with your hands on a balance board — aside from resisting your own body weight, you also need to compensate for the wobbling, which means the secondary muscle groups in your back and core also gets a workout.
The same thing goes with squats. When your regular squats get too easy, try doing them on a balance board — now you have to work much harder to keep your balance.
If you’re a practitioner of Yoga, then a balance board might also make your routines more interesting. Many Yoga positions can be done on a balance board — now, aside from improving your flexibility and cleansing your soul, you also build your core strength all at the same time.
Is The Balance Board For You?
The balance board is definitely a versatile exercise tool, and it complements any exercise regimen, no matter how simple or complicated. It’s compact and lightweight enough to take anywhere you go, and it can be used for a growing number of exercises.
But if you’re just coming off an injury, ask your doctor and fitness trainer for their opinion on the tool. Just, you know, to keep things in the balance.Dec 28th by jack