The sense of balance consists of three components: visual perception, the balance organ in the inner ear, and deep sensitivity (receptors in muscles, tendons, joints).
Good balance is important, among other things, for an upright posture, muscles, tendons and joints. A study has also shown that people with a healthy physical balance have a longer life expectancy.
You can train your balance with balance exercises and special fitness equipment. We have summarized the best options for you.
Balance training is in fashion. Whether it’s a sling trainer (a full-body workout with a rope system), a plank or a balance board – there are now a variety of tools you can use to train your balance. But even without equipment or a gym, it is possible to stabilize muscle groups and joints. In this article you will discover why good balance is so important and what exercises we recommend.
A healthy balance is not only important in yoga or aerobic exercises. Even when we are standing or sitting, we need the ability to keep our body stable. Our sense of balance allows us to control the body’s center of gravity and compensate for imbalances. The sense of balance consists of the following three perceptual systems.
The balance consists of three components.
- visual perception: we can orient ourselves in space through our visual organ, the eyes.
- Vestibular perception: The so-called vestibular apparatus is our organ of balance in the inner ear. Here both rotational movements and acceleration are perceived and controlled.
- proprioceptive perception: this is the so-called deep sensitivity. Receptors in every part of the body send information to the brain about the activity and position of muscles, tendons, and joints.
The stimuli that the body receives through these three systems are transmitted to the brain and spinal cord. Our brain then sends signals to the muscles to make movements to keep the body stable.
Why balance exercises are so important
Balance exercises can help your brain and muscles work together smoothly. Anyone who regularly performs balance exercises can quickly notice the effects: posture and body awareness improve, joints stabilize. In particular, the deep muscles, which are located in the torso and around the spine, are stimulated. In this way, you can prevent back pain, for example, and the risk of injury, for example from falls or during sports, is significantly lower with good balance.
A recent study from the “Clinimex” sports medicine clinic in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil has also shown that good physical balance goes hand in hand with a longer and healthier life. For the test, the subjects, who were between the ages of 51 and 75, were asked to stand on one leg for ten seconds.
The result: Participants who failed the test had an 84 percent higher risk of dying in the next ten years than the rest of the group. The results of the study were summarized in the medical journal “British Journal of Sports Medicine”.
The best six exercises for balance.
The following exercises train the sense of balance and do not require any equipment. Advanced users can take a mat or blanket and perform training sessions on it – deep muscles are especially challenged on an uneven surface.
Start in an upright position and lift your right leg slightly forward. You can put your hands on your hips to better support the weight. Bend your upper body slightly forward and stretch your free leg back. Now stretch your arms parallel to your head. Hold the position for a few seconds and return to the starting position. Repeat the process five times, then switch sides.
The foot scale trains the entire leg axis and is particularly gentle on the muscles and joints, ideal for hip and knee problems. At the same time, the upper and lower back are strengthened.
single arm plank
The plank, also known as plank, is a popular exercise in bodyweight workouts. Lie on your stomach and bring your forearms parallel to your body. The elbows are at the level of the shoulders. Now lift your feet and raise your body. Make sure your hips and shoulders are level. Body tension is also important, so contract and tense your stomach.
The Single Arm Plank goes one step further and trains your sense of balance in particular. To do this, raise your upper body a little higher and place one arm by your side. The other arm remains on the ground. Hold the exercise for a few seconds, then return to the starting position and repeat the process with the other arm.
Lunges or lunges not only train the extension of the leg, the hamstrings and the large muscle of the buttocks, it also trains the balance. Here’s how the exercise works: Spread your feet hip-width apart and take a big step forward. Now lower your upper body by bending your legs at the knees. Your front thigh should end up parallel to the floor.
Important: the front knee should not protrude beyond the toes. Stay in the position for a few seconds. You then actively push yourself back to first position with your front foot. Repeat the exercise about five times, then switch sides.
You must use a mat for this exercise. Next, get into bull pose with your back on the mat, face down. The knees are hip-width apart. The hands are placed below the shoulders, the arms are slightly bent. Keep your back straight and your head in line with your spine. Keep your eyes on the mat throughout the exercise.
Now stretch your right leg back and your left arm forward. Hold the position for a few seconds. As you exhale, pull your navel in firmly and bring your elbow and knee under your breastbone. Repeat the exercise five to ten times, depending on how skilled you are. Then switch sides, that is, keep your left leg and right arm straight and bring them together.
Balance on the mat
Take a mat or towel and roll it into a roll. Then you swing barefoot from one end to the other. Advanced try everything blindfolded or balance your way back. You can also use your floor as a stepping stone or trampoline by placing one foot on it one after the other and varying your speed. Similar to the one leg stance, your balance will be put to the test. You can see more variations in the following video.
Keeping your balance on uneven terrain not only trains your sense of balance, but also your body’s tension and concentration.
Feet rotate in single leg support
In this exercise, one foot is placed on the ground and the other is raised slightly. You can put your hands on your hips or stretch them to the side. Draw smaller or larger circles or lines in the air with your foot extended. Switch legs after ten seconds.
And if you’re in the mood for a change: Yoga, Pilates or stand-up rowing are also great for training your body’s balance.