1. It benefits your neuromuscular coordination - basically it helps improve the communication between your brain and muscles.
2. It helps with muscle isolation - during balance training you have to maintain stabilization and you are forced to engage an individual muscle predominantly so that you are not using other muscles to help you "cheat".
3. During balance training your body has to work that much harder to stabilize - in turn this helps you to burn more calories.
4. It helps with hip stablization - with single leg type balance exercises your glute medius is engaged and worked. Therefore, this helps with hip stabilization.
5. It helps with core stabilization - this in turn helps to improve your coordination, athletic skill, and posture.
Is your balance up to par?
Take the 30-Second Balance Test (from saveourbones.com)First, you’ll need to find a partner to time you, because your eyes will be closed. It’s also important to have someone close by in case you fall.
- Stand barefoot on a hard floor. Now close your eyes.
- Bend one knee and lift the foot – if you’re left-handed, stand on your left leg and lift the right foot; do the opposite if you’re right-handed. You don’t need to lift it high; even though your eyes are closed, you can probably estimate about 6 inches off the floor.
- Ask the person with you to check his or her watch, and time how long you can hold that position without wobbling or opening your eyes.
- Repeat the test 3 times, and then add up your total time and divide it by 3 to find your average balance base. (For example, if test 1 was 4 seconds, test 2 was 8 seconds, and test 3 was 6 seconds, you’d add up 4, 8, and 6 to get 18. Divide by 3, and your average balance time is 6 seconds.)
Not surprisingly, the chart shows that the number of seconds decreases with age. In the 25-30 year group, for example, the average eyes-closed balance time is 28 seconds. For 50-year-olds, it’s 9 seconds; 65-year-olds average 5 seconds, and 70-year-olds 4 seconds. That’s because…
Balance Tends To Decrease With AgeAs we get older, our eyesight tends to diminish, throwing a wrench in the first step in good balance (vision). Muscles tend to shrink and your reaction time may be a bit slower. But there’s good news, because…
You Can Improve Your Balance Regardless Of AgeYou don’t have to be resigned to poorer balance as you age. You can take action to improve and maintain it.
A study published last year shows that there’s scientific validity to the "Flamingo trick" which involves standing on one leg while doing an every day chore.
Researchers conducted a trial to study the effectiveness of the “dynamic flamingo exercise” in preventing falls. They found that periodically standing on one leg does in fact improve balance, prevent falls, and even improve independent living.
In a meta-analysis review of 17 trials involving a total of 4305 participants aged 60 and older, researchers concluded that regularly engaging in balance exercises not only prevented falls, but actually prevented injury (including fractures) when falls did occur. Even in the case of severe falls, injuries were less common among those who exercised regularly.
We suggest you practice balancing Bikram postures for a few weeks, and then repeat the balance test!