I recently sprained my ankle as a result of coming down hard on my foot on uneven ground. It could have been worse, much worse. I could have broken a bone. What saved me was years of lateral stability training.
Typically, 90% of exercise is concentrated on the sagittal plane which focuses on forward and backward movement. Only 10% of most fitness training targets side-to-side or lateral movement or rotational training like training for a sport (think golf or baseball). Yet it is lateral stability that helps us balance and enables us to catch ourselves when we fall. Proprioception is the body’s ability to know where it is in space and it’s something we lost as we age. This is something we can use the gym to improve. By building joint stability in the gym we increases our bodies awareness. This is keenly important if we are going to prevent falls or reduce their severity.
One simple way to improve stability is to train in an unstable environment. I integrate this element into my training sessions. There are also simple exercises you can do at home. For example, practice standing on one foot while flapping your arms and moving your head from side-to-side. Standing on one foot while brushing your teeth, and closing your eyes and standing on one foot are other ways to build lateral stability.
When I work with clients, I incorporate tools like the Bosu® and wobbleboard to build core strength and lateral stability. I include twisting, turning and jumping, as well as, weights and cardio exercises that build range of motion and strength.
If you want to reduce the likelihood of falls, build bone density, and improve your overall fitness, meet me at my brand new 7000 sq ft gym at 120 Country Club Gate Ctr, Pacific Grove, California. One-on-one coaching and group classes are available everyday from 4am-10pm. Call or text me today to get started (831)236-6199.