What are Balance Boards?
For many, health, well-being, and fitness is a definite goal. In doing so, many are finding all sorts of ways to maintain good balance and to make sure that they stay in perfect shape. Balance and fitness are two essential factors that contribute to health and well-being.
In the field of physiotherapy, balance boards are used for postural, athletic, balance, falls, and coordination exercises and training. It is circular in shape, made with an uneven base that is designed for users to attempt to maintain their balance.
It also has types such as wobble boards, Rocker-roller boards, Springboards, Sphere and Ring boards, and Rocker boards. Most balance boards are used in order to prevent people from experiencing unwanted injuries due to falling and for athletes in which want to exercise in order to prevent sports injuries, especially in the leg, ankle, or knee area. Balance boards are also good for rehabilitation.
For many years now, balance boards became popular to athletes in fields of hockey, football, and snow board riders. They have been commonly used for preventing falls, balance maintaining, and performing lower limb rehabilitations in the physiotherapy department.
Nowadays, balance boards are being sold in the market for those who wish to maintain alertness and establish well-being and fitness.
Uses of Balance Boards
There is a lot you can do with balance boards that can help in improving balance and fitness. Uses of balance boards include the following.
Performing Core Exercises and training
For preventing injuries and functional activities, having stable and strong core muscles is important and essential. Balance boards are great tools that can help in training the core muscles and making it strong and stable. Using balance boards are also advantageous in balance training and exercise for a sturdy and fit core muscle.
Lower Limb rehabilitation and strengthening
Balance ability and proprioceptive ankles can be improved under a 40-minute session on balance boards, according to a study conducted in 2018. This is also possible and effective for those ankles that function unstably.
Another study conducted on female soccer players, however, says that ACL tear and other major injuries cannot be prevented through balance boards. Instead, the reduction of overall new injury rates can be made possible through training and exercise using balance boards.
Proprioceptive training and Upper Limb training
Training the upper extremities can be good in improving stability, proprioceptive awareness, and balance. This training of the upper extremities can be done on balance boards.
Those who wish to do this training must first be able to perform exercises like push-ups while having a good form before being able to proceed to train on the balance board. Without doing so, they run and have a big tendency to acquire injuries to elbows or wrists and on the shoulders.
Fall prevention training for Seniors
Balanced boards are not just made for the benefit of younger ages, but it can be used by elders as well. A study in the year 2011, finds the effectivity of improving standing balance for the elderly through the use of balance boards. Studies also suggest that at least using balance boards and training 3x a week on a balance board can help in reducing the risk factors of falling in the elderly population.
Benefits of Balance Boards
Doing exercise and training using balance boards is hard and challenging at first, but once you get the hang of it, you will definitely find that balance boards are good and beneficial for the balance and fitness of the body.
As you go through with training and exercise using balance boards, you will immediately notice significant changes and improvements on your balance. The more you use balance boards, the more tendencies of improving your balance will increase and progress.
When using well-designed balance boards, you must keep your focus and concentration on keeping the board balanced and leveled. Because you need to keep the balance of the board, your body stays in continuous motion. Thus, you will need to work and use micro-movements to keep the level and balance.
Using balance boards are beneficial in working the hidden core muscles of the body. Some major core muscles targeted by exercises on balance boards are the Lats, Adductors and abductors, Glutes, Lower Back Muscles, Abdominal Muscles, including the External and Internal Oblique.
Exercises that can be done on Balance Boards
There are a great number of exercises that can be done on balance boards. Exercises that can be done on balance boards are some of the following.
Basic Stance Balance
The exercise’s key focus is to achieve confidence in developing your stance.
- Stand with your feet on the outer edges of the balance board. Make sure to keep your torso upright and that you keep a neutral spine.
- By shifting your weight from both sides, balance on the board, and prevent its edges from touching the floor. The goal here to maintain at least 20 seconds of balancing on the board. One set of this exercise is 5 reps of 20 seconds.
Forward and Back Tilts
This exercise targets the stabilization of muscles in the ankles.
- What you need to do is to first stand on the outer edges of the balance board.
- Then, stand upright with a neutral spine position.
- Make the board tilt to the front, making the board touch the floor.
- After, make it tilt backward until it touches the floor again behind you.
- Continue tilting front and back for 60 seconds while maintaining steady, slow, and controlled motion.
“Round the Clock” or Two Leg Tilts
Another exercise for stabilizing ankle muscles is the Two Leg Tilts.
Stand in an upright position while standing on the outer edges of the balance board. This exercise is a combination of the Forward/Backward Tilt, Basic Stance Balance, and Side Tilts.
- What you need to do is a roll in a 360-degree motion on the board.
- Start moving by tilting the balance board to the left.
- As the board touches the left ground, you should now transfer the weight to touch the floor ground in front.
- Next step, you now have to transfer your weight to make the balance board touch the right side of the floor.
- Complete the movement in a circular motion by tilting the board to touch the floor behind you.
- As you get used to the movement, you can use your arms in order to maintain balance as you continue to be in motion. Execute the reverse motion as you complete the first set. Do this for 60 seconds.
This is also an exercise for the stabilization of the ankle muscles.
- Standing in an upright neutral spine position, stand on the board with two feet on the outer edges.
- Shift your weight from left to right by tilting the balance board from left to right.
- Continue doing so with maintaining a tight core and an upright torso. So the motion in a controlled and slow manner.
Single Foot Balance
- The exercise is done by standing with One foot positioned in the middle on the balance board. Raise the other leg by drawing your knee up near toward the torso. Do not let your two legs come close to each other.
- For those who are doing this for the first time, you can position the balance board near a wall to hold for support. As you continue doing the sessions, you must aim to do the exercise without any support. Hold your balance as longs as you can.
- Execute the same manner with the other leg.
Safety Tips on Exercising on Balance Boards
You have to make sure that you will maintain a neutral and balanced spine position. Be sure that your workout or training area is well lighted. Don’t do exaggerated movements on the balance board, especially if it’s your first time.
Move slowly and according to your body strength. Stay in control and exercise in slow motions. Never exercise on slippery surfaces because accidents are prone to happen. Take it easy and take time to assess your fitness level and move according to your ability. Finally, drink lots of water and stay hydrated before and after workouts or training sessions.
Making your own DIY Balance Board
To those who want to make their own balance boards, you will need plywood, a gallon, and a board and other tools to do the cutting and measuring to put all the pieces together.
Begin by cutting the pieces. Use the bucket/gallon to trace two rockers for the board. Dust off all the pieces. With both of the rockers screwed and attached, sand and file all of the pieces of the balance board. Make sure that every piece carved is in the right size and shape.
Finally, stick and glue the board in its place. After doing so, place the two curved rockers in its place, separately from each other. It is up to you if you wish to leave your balance board bare or painted. Now you have your very own balance board.