Balance and proprioception skills are critical in almost any kind of athletic endeavor, from team sports like soccer and basketball, to individual sports like golf or tennis, to athletic hobbies such as dance. However, many athletes overlook the value that exercising and practicing balance skills can have on performance, not to mention preventing injuries.
How important is balance, really? Probably a lot more than you think. In fact, it’s arguably the most foundational athletic skill, even more so than strength or cardiovascular fitness. That’s because proper balance teaches your body how to work efficiently. In other words, if you have great balance, you won’t need to work as hard to build up your strength, because your body will be better at using and applying the strength it already possesses.
Benefits of balance training for athletes include:
Better stability and ability to maintain your center of gravity, even when knocked around in a sport like football or hockey.
Better ability to make use of the strength and power you already have.
More efficient technique with fewer wasted movements, which allows you to expend less energy, train harder, and stay in the game longer.
Improved speed and agility, and better ability to react and adjust quickly to new conditions in the game.
Better ability to prevent injuries.
As you can see, balance exercises aren’t just for older adults or those recovering from injuries—people of all ages and activity levels can greatly benefit from development of these skills. So, the next time you hit the gym or do a workout at home, be sure to mix in some balance exercises if you aren’t doing so already! Even simple exercises like standing on one leg while closing your eyes can help, and as you improve your skill you may want to incorporate balance boards, kettle bells, exercise balls, squats, or other tools and techniques into your routine.
For more handy information on care for your feet and ankles, be sure to check our blog regularly! If you need help with an acute or nagging sports injury that’s keeping you from performing at the level you want, please make an appointment with Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona by dialing (480) 963-9000 today.