The Relationship Between Balance, Coordination, and Flexibility
Flexibility, coordination, and balance are key in athleticism and martial arts. There are lots of questions on how to improve balance. That’s because Improving balance increases strength and coordination, allowing you to move freely and steadily.
Enhancing these three aspects will make it easier for you to perform your daily tasks. It will also improve your martial arts and athletic performance. Read on to find out more about these three.
The Importance of Improving Balance as You Age
As we grow older, our ability to balance also deteriorates, and we should prevent this from happening. Many people take balance for granted until it interferes with their daily functions.
Before balance becomes shaky, most people don’t consider preventive maintenance; this lack of attention could be harmful. Good balance is key to having a healthy and functional life. The elderly struggle with many problems, severely affecting their capacity to remain steady.
Medical conditions such as heart disease and arthritis can lower their ability to stay balanced and move freely. This instability eventually results in falls and, consequently, injuries. That is why you must learn how to improve your balance as you age.
One in ten falls could lead to a fracture or other co-occurring conditions. This number increases with aging. Thus, leading an active lifestyle is the surest way to improve your odds of staying upright and injury-free as you age.
Besides chronic illnesses, several other reasons make older people more prone to falls. These include side effects of medications, impaired eyesight, and a decline in physical fitness.
Understandably, people become less physically active as they grow older because their body cells take longer to repair. However, moderate exercise is vital to improve balance, flexibility, and coordination.
Exercises to Improve Balance and Stability for Seniors
Head rotations can help seniors improve their balance when vision changes are involved. To perform this exercise, first, you need to stand straight with your feet in line with your hips. Gently rotate your head from right to left and up and down for 25-30 seconds.
Suppose you start to feel dizzy; pause or move your head at a slower pace. If the dizziness doesn’t vanish, stop the exercise. You can also try this workout while seated first and work your way up to doing it on your feet.
This exercise can help seniors to improve their balance and movement. To carry out this exercise, stand upright with your feet hip-width apart. Slowly bend your knee, and lift one foot until the thigh is parallel to the floor. It’s okay if you can’t lift your thigh so high, just lift it as high as you can.
If you feel unsteady, you can hold on to the back of a table or chair for added support. Switch legs until you do 12 reps on each leg.
This exercise involves moves that can be challenging for some seniors. You may use a sturdy chair or a cane for added support. Stop the training if you feel dizzy. You may also hold on to the shoulder of a loved one instead.
Begin by standing straight with your feet hip-width apart. Gently lean forward while
Maintaining your lower body in place and keeping your upper body straight. Lean slowly to the right, back, and left, moving your body in a circular motion. Take care not to lean too far forwards or backward.
You can stretch your hands out to make balancing easier. To increase the challenge of the exercise, bring your feet closer together.
If dancing and grooving were your things back then, you must be familiar with this move. To make the workout more enjoyable, you can use your phone to play music or pop in your favorite CD while working on your balance.
To carry out the exercise:
- Stand with your feet together at right angles to the line.
- Keep your arms loosely sideways.
- Slowly cross your left leg in front of your right leg.
- Ensure your left leg is firmly on the floor.
- Move your right leg and cross it right behind your left leg.
- Continue moving like this until you reach the other side of the room.
Try looking in front of you to increase the challenge in this exercise instead of focusing on the floor or your feet.
To carry out this exercise, start by standing before a step. You can do this using a sturdy step stool or at the bottom of your staircase. It’sIt’s advisable to have a wall, a strong stick, or a cane on hand for extra support if needed.
Have your feet hip-width apart. Slowly lift your right leg and tap the top of the step or stairs. Repeat the move 15 to 20 times and switch to your left leg. As your balance improves, you can increase the challenge by stepping up the stair instead of just tapping.
How to Improve Balance and Coordination in MMA
All athletes need a well-developed core and stabilized muscles, but no one needs this more than a mixed martial artist. MMA artists need strength in these areas as it increases balance, coordination, and muscular endurance. These three are crucial attributes for all MMA fighters.
There are lots of questions about how to improve balance and flexibility. Others want to understand how to improve balance and coordination. The ability to stay balanced and on your feet as an MMA artist has everything to do with how well you have trained your strength, balance, and coordination.
Balance and coordination are also the basis for powerful strikes and take-downs. Therefore developing these attributes in your MMA training workouts will help you defensively and offensively.
The best way to improve your balance and coordination is to include core and balance exercises in your MMA training workouts.
How Does Martial Arts Improve Balance?
There are many exercises to improve balance. Martial arts, in particular, can improve various aspects of your mental and physical capacity, which directly affects your balance. Being able to control your body’s position more so while performing physical activities and moving has many proven benefits.
Martial arts work out the entire body, from the upper torso to the base and, most importantly, the core muscles. It strengthens your legs and improves your flexibility. Martial arts will also enhance your focus and mental sharpness, so you are always conscious of your positioning.
If you are looking for tips on how to improve your balance, we suggest you consider trying martial arts.
Practicing martial arts will significantly improve your balance, improving your life quality. Besides having better balance, martial arts have many other advantages. But today, we will only focus on how martial arts help improve balance. Here are the four ways in which martial arts improve your balance.
Engages Your Core Muscles
Directly engaging your core muscles will give you a better sense of balance. The core is the most important of your physicality. Individuals with strong, developed cores are always more athletic and stable. A strong core can help enhance the way you move, which increases your efficiency and execution.
Martial art is the ultimate full-body workout. Therefore you should expect your core to get consistently stimulated. Most techniques performed in striking arts, especially Muay Thai and boxing, actively engage the core muscles, including the obliques, the abdomen, and various lower back parts.
Performing striking techniques is the perfect way to engage and strengthen your core without having to do a single crunch or sit-up. (sit-ups and crunches are still a recommended part of martial arts training).
Developing your core is perhaps the most vital component of improving balance and stability. With a strong, healthy midsection, you will be less wobbly and sturdy, even with sudden impact rock.
It is crucial to note that the midsection includes a series of stabilizing muscles responsible for keeping us upright and in good posture. So martial arts is the way to go if you want a stronger, healthier core.
Strengthens Your Lower Body and Base
Besides the core, martial arts also target the lower body and base. The base is the main foundation of an individual’s balance because the legs are what keep us on our feet. Martial arts disciplines like Muay Thai place a lot of emphasis on lower body movement. The countless kicking techniques in MMA ensure we use our legs to their total capacity.
Martial arts disciplines such as Muay Thai involve various kicking techniques daily. These kicks engage the glutes, hamstrings, and oblique muscles.
Muay Thai practitioners are used to the daily grind of multiple striking combinations. You will experience improved power and strength in your legs after a few Muay Thai training sessions.
Other martial arts, such as wrestling and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, also emphasize a strong base; they have exercises and drills on improving this area. Having a strong base is crucial to maintaining great posture and balance.
When moving around on our feet, understanding good feet placement and distancing learned through martial arts will keep you sturdy and well-balanced. Through continuous training, we can run more efficiently, jump higher, and with better technique. We are also able to improve balance and gain better flexibility overall.
Improves Your Flexibility
Flexibility is a crucial factor in having a good, solid balance. Flexibility is being able to widen and change your base by extending your legs and body. Having good flexibility allows your body to use less energy for movements while at the same time increasing your range of movement.
Great flexibility comes through practicing martial arts. If you don’t engage your muscles, they will naturally lose size and strength.
Martial arts focuses on a full-body workout experience. That means during your training, you will be utilizing nearly every muscle in the body. This full-body workout results in joint strength and stability. You will also gain better flexibility and muscle efficiency, which are essential for excellent balance.
Gives You Enhanced Sharpness and Focus
Most people don’t realize that balance is also a mental activity. Strong situational and spatial awareness allows us to consciously be stable and balance ourselves. This consciousness is critical when we encounter unexpected impacts.
In martial arts, it is common for anyone to take a hit or two. Depending on the force of impact, you can easily get knocked off balance. But, when you are spatially aware and know how to anticipate certain situations where you can move off balance, you are able to maintain it. However, his kind of balance needs enhanced focus and sharpness.
Martial arts require the same mental and physical activeness. Constantly practicing meditation, techniques, and self-reflection will greatly improve your sharpness and focus, making you mentally alert always. The above aspects go hand in hand with martial arts training.
Mental sharpness will enable you to maintain balance when stressed or when in situations that cause duress. It is also important to note that mental edge can cover up for a compromise or a lack of balance. When you find yourself unavoidably off balance, mental sharpness can often save the day.
A List of MMA Balance-Improvement Exercises
Although most people don’t spend time thinking about balance, good balance is essential to everyday living. Simple tasks like leaning over to tie your shoelaces, getting out of a chair, or walking are possible because of good balance.
Good balance plays an even greater role in athletic performance. Movements used in athletics, like martial arts, require one to have a good deal of balance to execute. Engaging in balance exercises for athletes will help strengthen muscles that keep their body stable.
Balance exercises differ in intensity. While some are simple movements that anyone can perform, others will require you to put in some effort to carry them out effectively. You can also use equipment such as a balance ball to target your stabilizer muscles. Balance exercises for MMA athletes target the following muscles:
Core – Balance training often targets deep core muscles such as the abdomen and oblique muscles. Strong core muscles play a vital role in having a good balance. That’s because the core is your center of gravity. It’s where all movement begins.
Glutes – Having Strong glutes will improve your stability and explosive movement.
Legs – The legs are what keep the rest of the body upright. Therefore having strong legs will help improve your balance.
Back – Back muscles make up part of the core and are critical to improved stability. Strong back muscles also help improve posture, leading to improved balance.
You will often find yourself in an unstable position as an MMA fighter. The right balance exercises will ensure you’re effective and comfortable in the ring in an unstable situation. Here are some exercises that can help improve balance for martial arts artists.
Sumo Squat With Outer Thigh Pulse
This workout forces your core muscles to work to keep you steady while strengthening your lower body. Once done with the basic training, you can increase the challenge by holding dumbbells when performing the movements. Here’s how this move goes:
- Position yourself in a wide squatting stung. Your feet should be at a 45-degree angle.
- Lower your hips slowly while bending your knees to perform a sumo squat. Ensure you keep your upper body straight when dropping down.
- Return to the original position and stretch one of your arms and the opposite leg. Maintain the position while slowly pulsing your legs up and down for about five seconds.
- Go back to the starting position and repeat the squat. Stretch your other leg and arm this time to complete a rep.
Plank With Plane Arms
This workout helps strengthen your core and improve your stability. There are many benefits to this exercise for MMA fighters. Planks are one of the best core balance exercises there are, that’s because this workout hits the back and abdominal muscles simultaneously.
- Stability is vital to most martial arts and wrestling moves. Adding planks to your routine workout is an excellent way to improve balance and coordination. Doing a plank workout is quite simple;
- Hold your body flat, in a high plank position. Your hands should be right under your shoulders.
- Engage your core muscles and keep your hips stable while you lift one of your arms straight ahead.
- Move the raised arm to your side in an arc parallel to the ground. Ensure you keep it elevated. Extend the raised arm to your front before returning to the starting position.
- Execute the motion using the other arm to complete a rep. Set a goal of ten reps in each set.
Weighted Balance Ball Squats
Squats are a great way to strengthen your quads, core, and glutes simultaneously. Adding weights and carrying out squats on a balance ball will improve your strength, stabilization, and balance. Squats exercises help to increase athletic performance. Here’s how to carry out weighted ball squats;
- Position the balance ball before you with the flat side up and the round side on the ground.
- Use a barbell, dumbbell, or weighted vest, to add extra weight to the exercise.
- Stand on the ball with your feet wider than your shoulder-width distance. Get into a squat starting position.
- Perform the squats dropping down until your shins and thighs form a 90-degree angle. Return to the original position to complete a rep. Aim for at least 12 reps in each set.
Standing Crunch With Under Leg Clap
This workout involves clapping your hands during a static hold. It makes it hard to balance on one leg, but the results are advantageous. You can increase the challenge of this motion by holding on to dumbbells as you carry out the moves. Here’s how to perform a standing crunch with under leg clap:
- Start by balancing on one leg with the other straight ahead of you at a 90-degree angle. Have your hands together over your head.
- Clap your hands below the raised leg as you crunch forward.
- Return to the original position and repeat motion twelve. Alternate with your other leg and repeat the motion twelve times for a complete exercise.
Single-Leg, Cross-Body Punches
This workout is a great place to start for MMA artists who want to improve balance because it stabilizes the core and leg muscles. It also strengthens your arms and shoulders.
The one advantage exercise has is that it increases the power of your punches and is relatively easy to perform. You can stand on a balance ball while exercising to increase the intensity. Here are the steps to perform this workout:
- Start by holding the dumbbells at chest height.
- Stand in a single-leg, at a quarter squat position.
- With one leg elevated, throw controlled cross-body punches with both hands. Focus on staying balanced. Do not reset the elevated leg when performing the exercise.
- Switch legs to complete a rep. Aim for twelve reps in each set
Banded Triplanar Foot Taps
This workout helps to strengthen your core muscles by forcing you to balance on one leg. When performing this exercise, you will work against a resistance band to maintain your balance. You can increase the training challenge by doing a deep squat when performing it.
You can also make the exercise easier by doing it without using a resistance band. Here’s how to carry out this workout:
- Place a resistance band above your knees and slow down to a single-leg, quarter-squat position.
- Sustain your weight on one leg and lift the other.
- Move the elevated leg forward, sideways, and behind you without touching the ground. Your core and hip muscles will help you stay balanced as the resistance band cripples your movements.
- Alternate the legs for a complete rep. Aim for at least ten reps in each set.
Any exercise that improves the rotational power of your body is good for you as a mixed martial artist. It involves generating a twist that produces power in the strike, whether a punch or a kick. Russian twists help to improve stability and core strength.
This exercise will also make you more flexible in the trunk and hips. Russian twists involve constant rotations while holding a plate, medicine ball, or other weight. When doing Russian twists, ensure your upper body is elevated, forcing your core to support you as you move the weight from side to side.
Here’s a guide on how to perform Russian twists:
- Sit on the ground with your feet flat on the ground and your knees bent.
- Hold your weight, lean back slightly, and twist your torso to the left and right.
- Be sure to keep your back straight and your core involved throughout the entire movement.
- Aim for at least 15 eps in each set.
Wrapping Things Up
Martial arts are the best way to improve flexibility, balance, and coordination. Martial arts have many physical and mental benefits. Other than improving your physical health, the above exercises will improve your sleep and mental sharpness. If you’re looking for a way to better yourself each day, we suggest you try martial arts!