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Balance

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Balance

  • A key component in achieving optimal fitness levels
  • Required in everyday situations
  • Prevents injuries
  • Important for everyone

According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), approximately 70% of all anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries are considered non-contact injuries.  70% of all knee injuries are due in part to a lack of balance!

Balance is no longer just an issue with seniors.  Statistics show that most ACL injuries occur between the ages of 15-25.  Inactivity is affecting the youth; kids and young adults are injuring themselves everyday because they lack the ability to balance themselves in everyday activities.

Performing common balance exercises help build the necessary balance to prevent serious injury. Balance exercises can be simple yet effective and should naturally progress in difficulty. One good thing about increasing balance is that balance exercises can be done anywhere.

*Safety is the main thing to keep in mind when doing balance exercises. Begin all balance exercises by using a doorway, chair or table to hold onto (you can also ask a family member, friend, or staff member to spot you). If spotting yourself, begin securing yourself with two hands, as you progress, move to one hand, various fingers, hands-free and lastly eyes close.

*Only do exercises that you are safely capable of doing. The goal is to prevent injuries, not to create them.

Here are some exercises you can try to help improve your balance:

  • Single Leg Stand

Alternate standing on one leg. Hold in place for 10-15 seconds. Try various  surfaces around your home a few times per day. Standing on one leg will help you build balance and find areas that need improvement.

  • Heel-to-Toe Walk

If you have ever watched the television show COPS, you may have seen this exercise performed by many “productive” members of society.  Place the heel of one foot directly in front of the toes of your other foot. Alternate feet with each step.  Use your arms to help balance you, if needed.

  •  Chair Dips

Getting in and out of a seated position can be a challenge for some. Getting out of a chair requires balance and  strength, so practice standing up and sitting down first by using your hands, hand, and lastly no hands.

As you progress in difficulty in your balance exercises, it may be necessary to use balance equipment to continue to challenge yourself.  Balance equipment is great for building greater core stability and strength. Try some of these balance exercises to increase your balance and to help prevent injuries on your journey to greater health and fitness.

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Ilen & Lauren Bell are the husband and wife team behind Black Fitness Today, born, in 2011, out of their motivation to change culture, build a platform and lead the charge. Their purpose is to help change the culture towards health and fitness in the African-American community, showcase those who are making an impact, and promote healthier living. They also aim to serve as a platform for African-American fitness and health professionals and enthusiasts who are otherwise overlooked in traditional fitness media.

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