The 10 Best Balance Boards
Health Benefits Of Balance Boards
The use of a balance board is likely to bring to mind images of a pro athlete taking their training to higher levels. In reality, balance boards offer a great number of health benefits to anyone who uses them, from the beginner to the highly advanced practitioner.
A balance board obviously trains the balance. Equilibrium is our center of balance, which is required in almost every activity we do. From walking to running, riding a bicycle and even sitting upright, daily life requires a strong equilibrium. As we age, this equilibrium naturally deteriorates if left untrained, leading to a greater number of slip and fall incidents, hospital visits, and a decreased quality of life due to reduced mobility. It does not have to be this way, however. People who regularly participate in balance training show less degenerative equilibrium as they age.
Balance boards also increase coordination. Using one requires all parts of the body and brain to work together, making minor changes as necessary in order to stay on the board. This concerted effort increases awareness of the body as a whole, and lets the brain make adjustments as necessary in the daily life, as well, protecting the muscles of the body from deterioration or atrophy due to lack of use.
Regular practice on a balance board is also effective for prevention of ankle sprain recurrences in those prone to ankle injury. As ankle sprains are the most common form of injury in sports, keeping the ankles strong is important to any athlete. Balance boards have proven themselves useful for strengthening the muscles and joints of the legs.
How Important Is Core Strength Gained From Balance Boards?
The strength training provided by balance boards is an important part of a healthy body. In addition to strengthening the legs and helping to protect the joints, balance boards also help to train the core.
In all athletes, an increase in core function directly translates to an increase in performance. The reason is that proper core strength allows a person to control the position and motion of the torso over the pelvis, which allows for optimal production and control of the force and motion exerted during athletic exercise. Any activity which helps increase core stability in an athlete can be seen as a beneficial training method. As such, balance boards are a highly effective method of core training.
As we age, core strength becomes even more important. Keeping a strong core helps to increase everyday balance, musculoskeletal performance, and fall prevention. A strong core also prevents back pain. As back pain is the single most widespread pain in the western world, this may be reason enough to use a balance board. Back pain is a direct result of having a weak core, and is influenced by activities such as sitting for long periods of time, slouching, and walking with incorrect posture. Regular use of a balance board positively influences core strength and posture, reducing the likelihood of experiencing chronic back pain.
For Whom Balance Boards Are Ideal
Balance boards lend themselves well to strength and coordination training in a wide variety of users. The first and most obvious users are those who seek to improve their expertise at various board sports. A skateboarder can use one to help hone their technique in a relatively risk-free environment. Many balance boards offer a more slim appearance which replicates that of a skateboard, making them especially useful for skaters who need to practice their technique with flip tricks without chasing their board after every failure.
A snowboarder will enjoy using a balance board to keep up their abilities when their is no snow around for practice. For serious riders, balance boards are nearly a requirement, as snow becomes harder to navigate on more advanced slopes. A balance board perfectly trains the core strength required to navigate a board with your feet locked into it.
Those who participate in water sports such as wakeboarding, surfing, kitesurfing, and skiing will also find a balance board to be an irreplaceable tool in their training regimen. All water sports require very specific core training, which can hardly be achieved through sit-ups. Water sports challenge the internal and external obliques, multifidus muscle, and the transverse abdominal muscle.
Competitive athletes looking to avoid common injuries, like a torn ACL, will also do well to use a balance board. The boards train the body to walk correctly, reducing stress on the ligaments and joints. They also help strengthen the thighs and hips, which further reduces the impact on the knees. Proper use of a balance board may also help treat ACL injuries, and may be used as part of a rehab treatment for a torn ACL instead of surgical options.
For people looking to reclaim lost equilibrium, a beginner balance board can be an easy way to train the body to keep itself more stable, strengthening the joints, ligaments, muscles, and even training the brain's ability to coordinate.