A study from 2007 that was published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research concludes that balance training shows benefits in injury rehabilitation. But, there is also little data to support the assertion favorably. Therefore, for athletes, this may not be definitive, but for an average person, it sure has lots of health benefits.
In this article, we try to focus on the best ways to undergo instability training or UST. In common language, it is a process way to improve your balance. This is a live issue these days because of lack of physical activity for a significant section of the population who work on the desk. In the end, it turns out that the best way to improve your balance is to keep one foot on the ground, rather than jumping on the wobble board because good balance is not just for athletes, skiers, and surfers. It is essential for every healthy human.
Sitting, standing, and walking require balance. So, running, biking, weight lifting, or chasing your kids as a mommy also needs balance. It is even more essential for the obese because even a small ankle sprain can cause a lot of associated problems. And, falling under your own weight can also be detrimental. This brings us to today’s topic of unstable surface training, or UST, or improving your balance.
Easy Ways to Do So
Well, besides the wobble board that studies show doesn’t do much, and neither data exists that says anything in the favor. There are few other things you can do as a start.
- Adjusting your stance deliberately. This is a way to take care of because being aware of not standing or sitting in the right posture can lead to imbalance. So, incorporate unilateral exercises such as one arm and one leg at a time to support your body. This might also include strength training eventually, and balancing a wider stance. Balance training is a key part of martial arts and kung-fu training as well because the “standing firm” is a big thing. So, start by deliberately making yourself aware of wrong posture, imbalance positions.
- Another thing is yoga. This is also a kind of balance straining because you learn how to breathe, become flexible, try to sand on your legs, support your body, and so on. Yoga is a healthy way of life that includes this balance training and strength training, as a part of it. For example, the “suryanamaskara” is one of the several yoga routines that do this in the best way possible, for the entire body. Its 11 poses, combine arm, leg, and even the spine.
- The exercise ball is one thing you might notice in training videos. That is because trainers want to offer some flexibility or lenience at the start. Among myriads of exercises that you wish to do, an exercise ball allows your body to share the support. For example, sitting on a ball while watching television, for example, and just being aware of it, help you condition your balance automatically. This is also a great stress buster when working on your computer where you sit on the ball instead of the chair. Just give it a try once, and you will notice how involuntarily you begin to adapt your balance.
Use of Wobbly Surfaces
In short, you don’t have to stick to Wobbel Boards. You can try better ways without using any such toys, equipment, trainer fee or spending any penny. However, research and studies focusing on the use of such surfaces are also absent. One reason why researchers ask you to avoid using unstable surface training is that not all surfaces use that. For example, a surfer might want this training, but if you play tennis, ride a bicycle, play basketball or do anything else, it doesn’t come into the picture.
So, when is UST or unstable surface training a good idea? When can one use wobble boards? The answer is simple unless the work that you intend to do happen on the non-solid ground, such as snowboarding, skateboarding, surfing, there is no need for that. It’s advised by doctors that athletes can even completely skip this as a part of their training routine.
In the same study, we mentioned above, the principal investigator put a group of athletes on a standard surface and another group on an unstable-surface. These two programs were monitored apart from each other’s influence. Was there any drop in power or output? It turns out that for those who do not need unstable surfaces as part of their workflow, such as running on a track; this can result in about a 2% drop in performance. This is because UST causes them to pronate. But, when surfers went through the same training, they showed an increase in performance.
Solid-Ground Balance Training Methods
So, after mentioning the easy ways, what methods work on stable ground. Of course, yoga, an exercise ball, and adjusting your stance are a few. But, the same holds on any wobbly surface as well.
- Alter Gravity
It is a method where you can improve your balance by trying to defy gravity. Force the center of gravity of your body upwards by using your spinal muscles, and legs, and work harder to stay and not fall down. You might have seen this in many movies with a bucketful of water.
- Closing Your Eyes
During exercises can help improve your balance. This improves concentration, and because of this, you stay aware of your posture.
- Training on One Leg
It is another way to practice balance. There are a lot of recreational sports like skipping, for example, to practice balance.
To conclude wobble boards and solid-ground can both improve your balance. Yoga and exercise balls can do magic as well for balance training. It completely depends on the type of work and final objective in your head. So, it is also advisable for an average person to undergo stable surface balance training, rather than an unstable source.