It isn’t just luck!
Balance is extremely important. We know that balance is important as we age, and tends to get more difficult; however, it is important for other things, too. Balance is especially important for the following:
Ankle, knee or hip injuries, both for prevention and in recovery from any of these injuries.
Running and walking with ease.
Many sports, including, but not limited to, bowling, dancing, soccer, etc.
General health and fitness.
Balance work can be as simple as working on standing on one leg. That said, there is actually a lot more that goes into balance than most people think.
Consider ballet dancers for a moment. They are able to do impressive things with balances. A great ballet dancer can balance on one leg, on flat, demi-pointe (ball of their feet), or pointe (the tip of a pointe shoe), without wiggling or moving their arms and can even turn multiple times while in that balance. Some dancers can even do fancy lifts where the girl is balanced on nothing more than one of the man’s hands. True, these things take years of training but the how comes down to a combination of three things: alignment, strength, and practice.
Oh yes, balance is a key element, but true balances can only be achieved by
Having the strength to hold a position, particularly strength in the feet and ankles, but also the legs, glutes and abs, sometimes even arms and back.
Proper alignment of bones in the body, which allows for a better point of balance (like building a house of cards in just the right way) as well as better muscle activation.
Enough practice that the balancer can feel what is right and what is wrong.
Of course, dancers can and do fall. No one is infallible and sometimes gravity wins, but lessons can be learned from these incredible athletes to help all of us improve our balance throughout life.
That is why, at Urban Fitness, we help our clients improve their balance by teaching them about alignment, helping them build strength in weak muscles in order to balance out the strong ones and finding multiple ways to practice balancing (none of which include pointe shoes)! We ensure that our clients truly strengthen and improve their balance to help keep them doing what they love for as long as they can with as much ease and comfort as possible.
This blog was contributed by our pilates instructor, Kaethe Birkner.
Ready to start working on improving your balance? Schedule your free 90 minute consultation.
Addie Kelzer is a certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant. She believes that by making fitness and good food practical, her clients will hold the power to positively change their health and the health of those closest to them.