FINDING BALANCE THROUGH REGULAR EXERCISE
One of the greatest benefits of exercise is that it creates a healthy balance in your life. When you engage in a regular full body workout, you’re more likely to follow a healthy eating plan and pursue other activities that are good for your mental and physical health. Turns out, the right exercise routine helps another type of balance, too—the kind that keeps you steady on your feet.
Good balance is important for nearly everything we do, be it walking, going up and down stairs, and doing your full body workout at Curves. Perhaps most importantly, balance prevents falls, which are more common in women as they age. Balance also helps women who are in the process of getting in shape, because it helps correct imbalances due to unevenly distributed weight.
Why do we lose balance as we gain in years? Unfortunately, all the body systems that help keep us balanced start to lose function as we age - our brains, central nervous systems, vision, and muscles. The sensory information our eyes and ears take in also takes longer to get to our brains, which can throw us off. We have slower reaction times. And the medications we take for age-related ailments may cause drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion, all of which are balance busters, too.
In many cases, women don’t realize their balance is off until they try balance exercises (or worse, after they fall). So, the sooner you start to improve your balance with a workout plan that includes balance exercises or classes, the better off you will be. Here are some health tips on how to bolster your balance, both in and out of Curves:
Make balance a regular part of your workout plan.
Along with strength, endurance, and flexibility, balance exercise is one of the four main types of physical activity. The Curves circuit and classes address all these elements of a comprehensive workout plan. Many of the moves that improve balance are quick and easy—things you can do in a few spare minutes here and there. Ideally, you should try to engage in balance training three or more days a week as part of a full body workout.
Here are a few balance-promoting health and exercise tips
- Stand on one foot for as long as you can. Aim for at least 10 seconds on each side.
- Walk heel on toe for 20 steps.
- Walk, bike or climbing stairs regularly to strengthen the muscles of your legs and lower body.
- Perform stretching exercises to keep your joints supple.
- Try yoga to strengthen muscles and improve flexibility.
- Regularly engage in the Curves circuit to build upper and low body muscle strength.
The ancient Chinese practice of Tai chi consists of slow, gentle movements. Studies show it can harness the mental health benefits of exercise, increase muscle strength, and make you steadier on your feet. In a study published in Medicine and Sport Science, researchers found Tai chi improved both static and dynamic balance. Ask your coach about Curves Tai chi speciality balance class.
Boost balance for your brain.
In a 2017 study published in Scientific Reports, researchers looked at the effects of balance training on memory and spatial cognition (awareness of your surroundings). They assigned 40 healthy people aged 19 to 65 to either a relaxation training or balance training group. Each group exercised two times a week for 12 weeks. At the end of the three months, the balance group saw significant improvements in both memory and spatial awareness compared to the relaxation group.
Take the Balance class at Curves.
Balance results from a combination of muscle strength and the mind-body connection. In order to have good balance, you need to strengthen the muscles in your arms, legs, and core. You also need to challenge your mindfulness and body awareness with the right moves. Combined with the Curves Circuit, the Balance class at Curves addresses all these things. By working your way through the circuit, you will strengthen your muscles with a complete whole-body workout. And by performing single-leg balance exercises (think the tree pose from yoga) in the Curves Balance Class, you’ll boost your physical stability and mental confidence at the same time.