The importance of balance training is commonly emphasized in older adults. However, strengthening your balance is good for all ages and audiences for various reasons.
Having good balance is good for joint stability and reducing risks of injuries. If you sprain your ankle, you have a good chance of re-injuring it if you don’t retrain your balance since the muscles around the ankle stop contracting in a coordinated way. This leads to the destabilization of the joint. When you practice balance post-injury, it retrains the muscles to contract in unity for better joint stability and it prevents injury.
Balance is also key to reduce falls. Balance exercises help your body control and stabilize its position. This is why balance training is very important for older adults. As people age, the ability to know where you are in space, known as proprioception, gets worse which reduces balance. Lora Stutzman, a physical therapist with the Johns Hopkins Rehabilitation Network, works with elderly adults who have injuries from falling. She says exercises that that focus on balance and and strength training “can help improve balance and build strength to help prevent future falls.” These exercises are also beneficial for people that are pregnant or have recently gained a lot of weight since both can affect your center of gravity.
If you’re an athlete, you might want to do some extra balance exercises as well. Many times, athletes are on one foot at a time when doing their sport. Practicing balance will improve performance during those activities.
You can do balance exercises everyday as many times a day as you want. The American Heart Association recommends older adults at risks of falls to do balance training three or more days a week. Exercises like Tai Chi and yoga are also very popular for balance training since it also improves strength and flexibility.
Balance Exercise. (n.d.). Retrieved July 23, 2020, from https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/balance-exercise
Fall Prevention: Balance and Strength Exercises for Older Adults. (n.d.). Retrieved July 23, 2020, from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/fall-prevention-exercises
Rettner, R. (2016, July 08). Balance Exercise: Everything You Need to Know. Retrieved July 23, 2020, from https://www.livescience.com/55321-balance-exercise.html