Balance boards also known as wobble boards are a great item to have on your New Years list this year. Using a balance board is an effective training tool to improve your fitness. Additionally, studies show that balance board training decreases your chances of injury and limit the chance of falling. Most importantly they can be darn fun to use!
Start with basics exercises. You can stand on the board with both feet, using the wall or chair for balance, trying to keep the board level and parallel with the ground.
- try to maintain balance on the boards for 30 seconds.
- try this with eyes open with a ‘spotter’ present, progress to eyes closed balance.
- progress to balancing on one foot.
- progress to moving the non-weight bearing foot in the air, drawing shapes or ABC’s.
As your balance improves you can progress to more difficult exercises:
- moving the board forward – backwards and side to side while doing any of the above activities (great to develop balance for walking in snow and on icy sidewalks or snowboarding on the slopes)
- doing squats on the board (great for pre season cross country, telemark or alpine ski training)
- one leg lunges on the board (great for ice hockey training)
Not just for the lower body:
With the help of your community physiotherapist, you can safely use the balance board for a variety of other training possibilities.
- gripping the board with your hands, perform balanced pushups.
- sitting on the board do abdominal exercises (your tobogganing skills will improve great with this exercise)
- balance one hand or forearm on the board, do side planks.
There is always a good chance of falling when using a balance board, careful use of this tool is advised. Children, those with a greater risk of falling or poor bone density should not use the balance board without adequate supervision and instruction. Those with spine or limb problems should discuss use of the balance board with their physiotherapist.