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BOSU Balls and Balance, a Perfect Match

26 September 2016

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Ever wonder what those odd, little blue domes sitting on the side of the gym are doing there? Turns out they can be used for a total-body and balance workout. That’s right — the seemingly humble BOSU ball is one of the most versatile and useful pieces of workout equipment around.

BOSU Overview

BOSU weighted plastic stability balls have transformed fitness since they debuted in 2000. At first, the bubble-like semi-circles may seem like an odd fit for your routine, but they’re worth incorporating. This powerhouse equipment offers a well-rounded advantage to your workout.

The balls can be used in a variety of exercises, both cardio and core. Flexibility, stability, core strengthening and sports performance exercises can be enhanced with the equipment. Even more, BOSU balls are extremely effective in strengthening balance, an often overlooked but vital aspect of personal fitness.

The squishy, plastic side of the ball is perfect for cardio and strength training. You can sit on it, stand on it, and more. The flat side of the BOSU can be incorporated into your work out, too. Just flip the ball over and use the platform for exercises like push-ups and planks. The ball works by forcing your body to maintain balance on the unstable surface. This requires the use of stabilizing muscles in both the upper and lower body.

BOSU and Balance

BOSU balls can be used as a balance-improving tool, especially among seniors. While not exclusively beneficial to seniors, the balls can be used in a series of fall-prevention exercises. The YMCA HEALTHY LIVING CENTER - INTEGRIS offers a BOSU class specifically for seniors. Participants step on and off BOSU balls positioned near a ballet bar and wall. If they feel stable enough, the exercisers can let go of the bar and stand atop the ball without assistance. The movements can strengthen ankles and core muscles, both important factors in balance.

The exercises might seem minimal, but they make a world of difference to participants who depend on the practice to strengthen their movements and balance. Working those muscles helps seniors safely perform everyday tasks often taken for granted by younger people.

“It may seem simple to us, but for seniors, it’s important to practice and strengthen their balance,” class instructor Gail Sullivan says. “A senior could be walking down the street and move her head suddenly and fall because they don’t have that control of balance.”

Fall Prevention Awareness Day

This year, Sept. 22 marks the National Council On Aging’s Fall Prevention Awareness Day.  If you or someone in your family needs to incorporate fall prevention, learn more about BOSU for active aging or contact the fitness center for more information about their balance-enhancing classes.