Read these 30 Balance, Wobble, And Bongo Boards Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Balance tips and hundreds of other topics.
According to IDEA Health & Fitness Association, an organization of health and fitness professionals, wobble boards are just too good for trainers to ignore. They, along with foam rollers and small balls, are making their way into gyms because they challenge your muscles in a different way, improve balance skills, and help sculpt your muscles all over.
A wobble board can be used for health and fitness at home, work or school to provide a standing "balance challenge" or as a footrest under your desk to promote "active sitting."
They can be used to increase sports performances because they provide balance training stimulus to improve stability, agility, leg strength and core strength. Research has proven that regular use of a Wobble board dramatically enhances balance while also improving proprioception (the unconscious perception of movement and spatial orientation arising from stimuli within the body itself) and strength in all muscles, tendons and ligaments.
For beginning balance exercise, stand on one foot. Extend the time you can stand on one foot, and lift the non-supporting leg higher. The next step can be to advance to a wobble board. Go through the full range of exercises on the wobble board with two feet, then carefully switch to one foot. You can go on to sport specific devices, or do more balance exercises with an exercise ball.
Fitter1 Tip: Besides being great for balance training, a wobble board is useful for injury rehabilitation. The unstable surface stimulates joint proprioception so injured joints can regain sensory feedback that is often damaged with the injury. Adjustable angles let you use more range of motion as rehab progresses.
According to celebrity trainers who work with the Hollywood stars, stability balls will help give you a butt like Heidi Klum or Kate Hudson. Or at least send you down the right path toward it.
Celebrity trainers swear by a move called "stability ball prone scissors." Here's how to do it:
1. Lie face down with your hips resting on a stability ball, hands and feet on the floor for balance.
2. Walk your feet out behind you so your legs form a wide "V."
3. Slowly lift both of your feet about 12 inches off the floor and squeeze them together.
4. Lower your toes back down to the floor, spreading them into a "V" shape at the bottom of the move, and repeat for a total of 15 to 20 reps.
As you seek to master your balance board and do balance board exercises, think about what forces are at play that keep you balanced to really understand what you are trying to achieve.
In order to maintain balance, our bodies rely on three things: our eyes, our inner ear and our nervous system. In order to achieve balance, two of these three things must be in place.
You can test this by standing on one leg and taking notice of how the body relies on movement to stimulate the proprioceptive system. Now close your eyes and your body will respond by paying more attention to the other two elements - your inner ear and nervous system. You will notice a lot more movement in your ankle.
Now keep your eyes closed and shake your head. You will find that you cannot stay balanced. That is because you've taken away two elements - the eyes and inner ear. And the nervous system alone cannot keep you balanced.
The term vertigo refers to the sensation of spinning or whirling that occurs as a result of a disturbance in balance (equilibrium).
If you experience ongoing bouts of vertigo, no matter what the cause, you have a greater risk of losing your balance and falling. The benefits of doing balance exercises may include:
- Having better balance with less risk of falling and hurting yourself and others.
- Repeated bouts of vertigo may reduce inner ear function, which leads to a deteriorating sense of balance. Balance exercises will help you maintain your inner ear function and balance.
- Improving self-confidence and self-esteem. As your balance improves, you may feel more confident that you can get out more and do more with others.
- Within a few days to weeks of consistently doing balance exercises or balance board exercise, you should notice a decline in vertigo symptoms.
The most common sports injury is the lateral ankle sprain. It's also pretty common in everyday activities. Most ankle sprains heal so you can walk without pain, but if you don't rehabilitate a sprain, you may lose flexibility in that ankle. When your doctor says you can exercise, remember to work on flexibility. A great way is rehabilitate a sprain is to use a wobble board. This lets you move the ankle in different planes of motion, so you can regain flexibility.
Sometimes technique is as much mental as it is physical. The next time you start a set on your balance board or wobble board, decide how many repetitions you're going to do and count backwards rather than forward.
According to Fitness Magazine, this will add staying power to your workout because it gives you more of a finish line to cross, making it harder for you to quit too soon.
Fitness Magazine lists balance boards as a "must-have" work out tool in 2006.
Experts say you don't have to spend a lot of money on exercise equipment to get a toned body. In an industry overflowing with gadgets and gimmicks, a few tools have stood the test of time because they work your body without breaking the bank. A balance board is one of those tools. They sculpt muscle, burn fat and re-energize your workout. Balance boards work out the shoulders, chest, back, hips, glutes and, especially, abs.
Wobble board exercises can be broken up into beginner, intermediate and advanced. Choose which level is best for you based on your experience with the work out tool. And then follow these tips for working out:
Begin with a gentle range of motion on the Wobble board until you get used to the movement. Wobble Board Exercises such as moving side-to-side, front-to-back, and in a circular rotation are all excellent basic exercises to start with.
Do push-ups on the wobble board by placing your hands flat on the board and keeping your wrists in full flexion. Start on your knees and work your way up to full push ups.
Work your abs by sitting on the wobble board and doing a slow rotational movement. Work your trunk and pelvic areas by kneeling on the wobble board and using your trunk muscles to slowly rotate your body. Keep your hands on your hips or by your side. Rotate both clockwise and counter clockwise.
Stand on the wobble board as you shoot baskets or volley or throw a ball. This improves hand-eye coordination and subconscious reaction. The key is to have your conscious mind focusing on one activity while your subconscious mind is working your ankle range of motion and overall stability.
Children can do balance exercises with supervision. However, check with your pediatrician to make sure it is safe for your particular child. Here are some tips for encouraging your child to do physical activity, courtesy of Littlefitness.com:
1. Lead by example. A research study showed that in families where both parents were active, 95 percent of the children were active.
2. Teach your child the physical skills you know, and try to develop additional skills to pass on to him or her - such as balancing on a balance board.
3. Emphasize that physical activity is a fun adventure, and avoid making negative comments about performance.
4. Encourage your child's school to make time for fun, age-appropriate physical activity taught by a knowledgeable instructor.
According to The President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, much of the physical frailty attributed to aging is actually the result of inactivity, disease, or poor nutrition.
Many of these problems can be helped or even reversed by improving lifestyle behaviors. Regular exercise can provide protection against:
- coronary heart disease
- adult-onset diabetes
- certain cancers
- osteoporosis and depression
- tension and stress
Tips for effective exercising:
Once you begin your daily exercise routine, keep these points in mind to get the best results:
- Always drink water before, during and after your exercise session.
- Make exercising a part of your daily routine. You may want to set a regular time to exercise each day and invite a friend to join you.
- Start gradually, about 5 to 10 minutes at first.
- Increase the amount of exercise each day, up to about 30 to 60 minutes.
- Breathe deeply and evenly during and between exercises. Don't hold your breath.
- Rest whenever it is necessary.
- Keep a daily written record of your progress.
- Exercise to lively music, TV, or with friends for added enjoyment
Tips for cooling down:
If you have been participating in vigorous physical activity, it is extremely important not to stop suddenly. Abrupt stopping interferes with the blood to the heart and may result in dizziness or fainting. Simply reduce the intensity of the exercise gradually and end with a few slow stretches from the section on stretching.
Fitter1 Tip: Regular use of a wobble board improves balance and coordination as well as increasing body awareness and improving posture. With an exercise ball, you can do beginning to advanced balance exercises, and add variety to your workout. The wobble board and exercise ball are the most popular balance trainers.
There are plenty of Web sites designed to let you compare prices and styles of balance boards or wobble boards should you want to purchase one for your home. They can cost as low as $20 and as much as $140, depending on the brand. There are pro boards, boards for kids, adjustable boards, fixed angle boards and many other kinds. Consult a fitness professional to see which kind will meet your needs best.
Foam rolls or foam rollers are important for functional stabilization programs and rehabilitation. They can be used by themselves or with resistance bands or loops.
Stand or lay on the foam rolls to build balance and coordination. Lay with the foam roll positioned length-wise down the spine to stretch shoulders, or across and under the lower back to stretch the back, shoulder and legs. While lying on the foam, roll back and forth to massage muscles and improve balance. Foam rolls are a great tool for improving flexibility, balance and strength. They are fun, easy to use, and inexpensive.
Here is a breakdown of what it can do for you:
- Firms and tones the butt, thighs, and abdomen
- Strengthens lower back, chest and arms
- Increases aerobic endurance and fitness
- Provides balance training to improve core stability
- Perfect for any age or fitness level
- Used by professional athletes
- Recommended by doctors
If you are not an athlete but want to get in shape, it is recommended you do "balanced push-ups" on your balance board. Grip your hands on each end of the balance board and then do a regular push-up off the board. Or sit on the board and do crunches, lifting your feet off the floor. (Warning: this exercise is not recommended for people with back problems).
Next, standing with one foot on the floor, place the other foot on the balance board and slowly roll it, gently stretching your lower leg and ankle muscles.
One-leg lunges are very effective. Be sure to plant your foot arch on the center of the board and move slowly. Or do squats, which are more advanced but work out your muscles fantastically. And lastly, try what's called "the plank" by slowly raising one leg up and holding.
Balance board for athletes:
Athletes should strive to maintain balance on the boards for at least 30 seconds.
Throw or pass balls back and forth while balanced. Try maintaining balance with your eyes closed. This is very advanced and risky, so you must use a spotter to do this.
Next stand on the balance board with just one foot. With the other foot, draw numbers, letters and shapes in the air.
As you can see, the tasks designed for athletes are much more dangerous and require intense agility and concentration. So exercise caution when choosing the right exercises for you.
Use a small balance board, wobble board or weeble boards (a mini wobble board for each foot) as a footrest at your desk. Creating a dynamic surface under your feet will help you get more ankle and lower-leg training, improve your ankle range of motion, promote better joint mobility and reaction skills, and facilitate better balance and overall body awareness.
As you begin breathing heavily during your workout, do you ever wonder how many breathes you should actually be taking?
According to Fitness Magazine, you should aim for about 12 inhalations and exhalations per minute. Inhaling and exhaling evenly and completely makes any workout more effective by bringing extra oxygen to your muscles.
So the next time you're working out on your balance board, be mindful of your breathing as well as your core training.
If you are tired of your workout routine and want to add some pizazz, check out these three hot workout trends for 2006, courtesy of Fitness Magazine.
Taking a class to help you gear up for a sport is becoming a popular way to work out. Whether you're gearing up for a triathlon or a snowboarding trip, you'll find a class to help you reach your goal. Some classes might include a competition or an adventure trip when the training is complete. Other sports-specific classes to look for: golf, surfing, skiing, and even basketball.
Physical therapy tools for everyone:
Think Bosus, foam rollers, small balls, and wobble boards. According to IDEA Health & Fitness Association, an organization of health and fitness professionals, these rehabilitating tools are making their way into gyms because they challenge your muscles in a different way, improve balance skills, and sculpt sexy muscles all over.
Trainers for two:
One trainer working with more than one person (anywhere from two to six) allows you to get one-on-one attention with the motivation of a group, according to the American Council on Exercise. Plus, it's more affordable - you'll save up to about $50 a session.
The wobble board is a versatile tool that can be used for sports-specific and general balance training. It's commonly used with both feet on the board, but advanced exercisers with good balance can use one foot. One-leg exercise is useful if you want to improve acrobatic or gymnastic skills. The average exerciser will get plenty of benefit from the basic exercises.
While performing an exercise, gently move your head up and down and side to side while keeping your eyes open. This changing field of vision will place greater demands on your proprioceptive organs. Another, even more difficult variation is to perform the exercises with your eyes closed. Taking away vision, a key input to your balance, will make your other sensors work harder. Make sure you have a spotter!
Because the Bongo board creates such dynamic instability, it is very, very important that you have a spotter – a friend or a trainer - until you are accustomed to the motion of the board. Also, remember that the Bongo board moves faster on harder surfaces. Start on a grassy or carpeted surface, then move up to a spongy surfaces, such as a mat or a weight-lifting floor, and then tackle very hard surfaces once you have mastered your basic balance. Most balance board exercises can be performed using a Bongo board – they'll just be even harder! As you try more advanced exercises, you may want to re-enlist your spotter and move back to softer surfaces.
Experts say poor balance has been found to be associated with all the following health care problems:
- Low back pain
- Neck pain
- Arm numbness and tingling
- Chronic ankle pain or instability
- Acute ankle sprains
- Chronic knee pain or instability
- Osteoarthritis of the knee
Balance board exercises and balance exercises in general have been shown to be successful in remedying many of these conditions.
A Bongo board looks like a skateboard, but it has a single rotating wheel that allows you to maneuver it in any direction. It provides an even less stable surface than does a balance board or a wobble board, and is s great for improving balance and coordination, and for toning the muscles that are used to maintain stability. Training on Bongo boards will help you learn proper distribution of body weight to achieve constant equilibrium, and that makes it a great training tool for skiers, snowboarders, skateboarders, surfers, boxers, runners, golfers and soccer players.
One of the best, and safest, ways to work on balance, agility, and core strength is to use some sort of balance board. This can be as simple as walking forward and back on a two-by-four board. The wobble board is a simple and traditional training tool. Athletes may want to move on to something more advanced. If the wobble board becomes too easy for you, or you just want variety, get a board with more options and more angles so you can continue challenging yourself.
Balance training devices have been around for a long time, though people may have originally used them for skills training, or just for fun. A good example of this is the Bongo Board, which was first used by surfers and skiers, and is now also used by skateboarders, in-line skaters, gymnasts, and snowboarders, and still by people who want to have fun. Riding a Bongo Board will automatically strengthen your core and improve your reflexes without you having to do anything special.
Fitter1 Tip: A Bongo board may limit you to one direction of movement - side to side. Other balance boards on the market offer multidirectional use. Talk to a fitness professional about which type of board suits your needs best.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|