We tend to underestimate balance board benefits and the challenge involved in using a balance board.
Useful for people of any age and fitness level to improve balance and coordination, balance boards are also popular with professional athletes seeking to hone their sporting performance. But the benefits don’t stop there!
While they come in several different styles, the most common models comprise a domed slide with a circular board attachment. Being partially round, when you stand on the board, it moves.
The effort required to stabilize the board works various muscles, including some largely untargeted in day-to-day life and during most other forms of exercise.
This article looks at the primary balance board benefits and potential drawbacks to help you decide if balance board workouts are for you. It also touches on the three main types of board you can buy.
Types of Balance Board
The most common types of board are the rocker board, the wobble board, and the roller board.
Rocker boards comprise a flat, rectangular, or U-shaped board attached to a semi-circle-shaped base. They move from side to side and back and forth, and are the most newbie-friendly.
Wobble boards are flat, round boards that are attached to a dome-shaped base. They move from side to side, back and forth, and can also tilt in a circle.
Roller boards are best for people who have mastered using a balance board. They comprise a flat, rectangular board that sits on top of a separate cylinder.
The Primary Balance Board Benefits
Below are some of the balance board benefits.
One of the most valuable balance board benefits is that workouts improve balance.
The irony is that some people steer clear of balance board workouts because they think they’re too uncoordinated to do them. The reality is that almost anyone can participate in balance board training. In fact, when done regularly, it will quickly improve your balance.
You can start with basic easy-to-do exercises, progressing to more challenging moves as your skills improve. The type of board you choose will also affect how easy or difficult it is to use. The most straightforward board to use is the rocker board which tilts back and forth only.
If you’re worried about falling, start by doing your sessions near a wall or a table and use it to steady yourself.
Targets the core
The core, or trunk, comprises overlapping muscles which start at the lower neck and extend to the shoulders, the middle and lower back, and include the abdominals and hips. Along with supporting the torso, this network of muscles stabilizes the spinal column.
Every movement we make is dependant on the strength and stability of our core. When using a balance board, your trunk will be continuously challenged as you make minor adjustments to maintain an upright position. These movements strengthen the trunk’s stabilizing muscles.
Makes you stronger
Balance board training engages the so-called small stabilizer muscles. These are the muscles that support our main muscle groups, and they’re not usually employed when doing day-to-day activities or most forms of exercise. When exercising on a balance board, these more minor muscles contract, helping us to balance. During this process, our larger muscles work to keep us stable.
Studies have shown that along with improving muscular strength, balance board training can also address muscular imbalances. This makes it excellent for people whose body is stronger on one side than the other, which is most of us.
One of the most overlooked balance board benefits is that regular sessions can improve your posture.
Many of us spend hours each day hunched over a computer screen or texting on a cell phone. Over time, this can result in a rounded back and drooping shoulders that look unattractive and add years to your appearance. It is also detrimental to the spine, and it can lead to chronic back pain.
Regular balance board workouts can counteract this by strengthening the torso’s stabilizer muscles. With a stronger core comes improved proprioception. Put simply, proprioception enables us to align our body correctly without having to think about it. The benefit in this instance is that you will sit and stand taller naturally.
Lowers your risk of injury
Most exercise-related injuries occur due to a lack of core strength and poor coordination and balance. Regular balance board training can help on all counts.
The core strength that comes from training on a balance board will make you less prone to injury. For example, a strong core reduces limb strain. It will also help keep your back pain-free.
Balance board training will make you more spatially aware, so you will automatically adjust your body placement when faced with a potential injury.
Ankle sprains are a common sporting injury. Studies have shown that regular use of a balance board can reduce the risk by strengthening the ankle joints. Research has also proven that undertaking balance board exercises to rehabilitate an ankle injury minimizes the likelihood of it recurring.
May assist with weight loss
When considering the balance ball benefits, weight loss is not one that usually comes to mind.
While it’s true that balance board workouts don’t burn a lot of calories, they do burn some.
One study measured the energy expenditure of 30 adults who typed for 30-minutes while seated, standing on a flat surface, and standing on a balance board. The result was that the participants burned 14.2% more calories on the balance board than when seated.
Improves brain function
Another of the significant benefits of balance board training is that it enhance focus. Being more alert has various advantages, including a reduced risk of sustaining an injury.
Studies have shown that people who routinely undertake balance board workouts learn new things more readily. The reason is that the act of balancing on the board involves continually using your neural networks to sync your mind and your body.
When doing balance board workouts, you must focus on staying upright on the board for the duration of the workout. Giving 100% of your attention to the task at hand will enhance your ability to concentrate.
Improves sporting performance
Doing balance board workouts regularly will make you a better athlete. This type of training can help you change positions quickly, improving your coordination, balance, and agility.
When you are able to move from one position to another with ease, you won’t expend energy unnecessarily. This efficiency will give you a better result, regardless of your sport.
If you don’t participate in sport, the enhanced equilibrium gained from balance board training will make things like running after an active toddler and doing everyday tasks easier.
Balance Board Drawbacks
Not for everyone
While balance boards offer many benefits, they also have a potential drawback that should not be ignored.
If you suffer joint problems affecting your ankles, knees, or hips, this might not be the workout for you. Likewise, if you have balance issues.
Final Words on Balance Board Benefits
As you can see, there are many balance board benefits.
Balance board training is excellent for improving balance, coordination, and overall performance in the sporting arena. However, its advantages don’t stop there.
Regular sessions will make you stronger, lower your risk of injury, improve your posture, and enhance your brain function. Workouts may also help you burn some extra calories over time.
If you’re in the market for a balance board, click this link to read about some of the most popular models on the market.