How Core Training Can Improve Balance
Almost every single one of our senior fitness clients list that one of their main goals when starting with us is to improve balance. It makes sense, given that falling is the most threatening event to older adults. Falls also make up the leading cause of all fatal and non-fatal injuries. So the million dollar question is,
“How Do I Improve My Balance?”
Unfortunately, there isn’t just one thing that will do it. There are lots of different activities and exercises that can and have been proven by science to improve your balance. Exercises like tai chi, strength training, vestibular (inner ear) stimulation, as well as improving sleep have all been shown to help improve balance.
Over the next couple weeks we’ll be covering what the latest research has shown as the most beneficial ways to improve balance.
Improve balance by training the core
One aspect that is crucial to address when talking about balance is your core stability. As we age, we lose muscle mass and tone. This is problematic when it comes to your core. Your core stabilizes your spine preventing injury and pain. An often overlooked job of the core is the help stabilize not only the spine, but the hips. Keeping the hips in line with the ribcage is how we maintain balance.
What does research have to say about core training and balance?
Core Instability Training
In a study found in the Journal of Gerontology in 2013, researchers wanted to see the effects of core instability training on older adults. Core instability training is challenging the core with an unstable surface. Think of doing a plank and instead of doing it on the floor or a bench, your arms are on an exercise/Swiss ball. That’s core instability training (CIT). Here’s what researchers concluded about the study,
“CIT proved to be a feasible exercise program for seniors with a high adherence rate. Age-related deficits in measures of trunk muscle strength, spinal mobility, dynamic balance and functional mobility can be mitigated by CIT. This training regimen could be used as an adjunct or even alternative to traditional balance and/or resistance training.”
Basically, it improved balance, and other core strength measures. So even though balance wasn’t being actively trained, it improved by strengthening the core.