What is fitness? Is it functionality or aesthetics? Is it strength or speed? Is it low cholesterol or low resting heart rate? Well, it is obviously all of those and much more.

Wading through the endless books, magazines and journals can be exhausting and many times ideas, theories and disciplines are contradictory. Why? Because fitness is not an absolute science. Fitness takes science and develops it to best suit an individual or team.

Fitness is comprised of, but not limited to, cardiovascular strength, endurance, muscular strength and power, core training, flexibility and range of motion, balance and proprioception, speed and reaction time and body composition. Let’s take a moment to focus on balance. How do we improve our physical balance capabilities? So what’s a novice or, for that matter, an experienced athlete to do? Listen to your body, use common sense and incorporate the fundamentals below.

  • Train core, without a solid core, balance training will be difficult and less effective
  • As applicable, do lunging and its progressions
  • Do “eyes closed” training
  • Utilize disks, boards, foam and other balance devices
  • Use Stability ball for training
  • Do one-leg training
  • Consider plyometric training
  • Do line walking and its progressions
  • Use medicine ball work
  • Combine various forms of balance work

As we know, a great foundation of fitness begins at an early age. So how can we encourage balance in our children? Be safe yet promote health and wellness. Here are a few activities that can help:

  • Have children hop on one foot from room to room
  • Have children stand on one leg as they do activities such as brushing teeth, doing dishes, etc.
  • Play hopscotch with your children, but use the off leg (that usually means hop on right leg for right-handed children or hop on left leg if left-handed children)
  • Do a pushup position (hand plank) and lift one arm and opposite leg, see how long they can hold
  • Have children stand one leg with their eyes closed

Draw from your academic knowledge, be creative and enhance client’s balance through these principles. Most importantly, do some activity daily and make it fun!