5 Balance Drills With Your Hula Hoop

Look, we get it.  Balance exercises aren’t “sexy”.  The exercises alone don’t produce rapid, amazing, shocking body transformations, or RIGHT NOW results.  And in a busy, fast paced world we tend to deal with the “right now” problems versus the prevention of the “what might be” problems.  Adding another session of exercises to your routine on when so many of you struggle to fit in your workouts now can seem overwhelming.

Luckily, we have created a series of short yet super effective exercises you can use in three different ways, whether you are focused on weight loss, hoop dance flow, or preventing falls and injury.  It’s like a transformer workout.  (Bear with me, I’ve been spending time with my five year old son and transformers and legos are at the center of my vocabulary these days!)

3 Ways to Use This Exercise Series

Your Main Workout

Turn Weight Loss ``On`` By Reducing Stress

If you have belly fat or are post menopausal, adding in this sequence can give a boost to your weight loss efforts.  The old mantra of “exercise more and eat less” is ineffective in the weight loss gain.  It creates additional stress on the body.  And if you have belly fat and are post menopausal, stress is a factor holding you back.  We’re not just talking emotional stress but physical stress in the body, created by too much exercise, reducing calories, processed foods, food that cause inflammation, etc.

Adding in this sequence, especially if set to a very soothing, rhythmic type music can challenge muscle activation without increasing hunger, cravings, and mood swings like too much cardio can.

Frequency:  Try this series a couple of times a week.  Complete each exercise 1-2 times, depending on your level of fitness.  Focus on your breathing, moving fluidly through the exercises and relaxing.

For Balance Only

Improve Balance to Help Prevent Falls

This series addresses the balance triage (cognitive, visual disturbance and poor reaction time) simultaneously.  This will not only save you time, but drastically increase the effectiveness of the exercises when faced with a fall or balance challenge

NOTE:  IT is very important to perform your balance exercises before engaging in your cardio waist hooping or dance sessions.  Engaging in balance exercises AFTER your workout can negatively impact the progress of your balance work.

Frequency:  Try this series a couple of times a week.  Complete each exercise 1-2 times, depending on your level of fitness.  Finish up each session with 5 minutes of waist hooping at the end.

Hoop Dance Flow

Ever Felt Dizzy or Off Balance In Your Flow?

These are excellent drills to help you “ground” your balance while constantly turning, changing foot position, changing direction, and multitasking if you work with more than one hoop.

You can add this series in the beginning of your flow session as a warm-up, in the middle as a “reset” if you’re having difficulty with tricks, or at the end to slow things down and cool down.

Frequency:  Try this series a couple of times a week.  Complete each exercise 1-2 times.

Why These Exercises Are Kick Butt

  1. The exercises combine cognitive AND balance challenges together. Training balance problems in isolation doesn’t simulate real world conditions – for example, falling in the dark or falling when you are distracted by other thoughts or activities.
  2. The advanced exercise (see #5) at the end of the series won’t allow you to anticipate the disturbance in your balance, making it simulate real world more effectively.  We do well when we KNOW what’s coming, right?  But it is your ability to recover from an unexpected balance disruption that causes the most serious problems.  This can occur from bumping, slipping, tripping,  bending, reaching, and turning.
  3. The exercises combine strength training AND balance challenges.  This is very effective, as muscle weakness is a major contributor to balance problems as we age.  These exercises develop core strength and balance at the same time.
  4. The balance exercises include sensory challenges that stimulate real world conditions – lighting changes, loss of vision, moving your head from side to side.  To simulate lighting changes you can dim your room lights or even wear sunglasses.

Balance Exercise Series

Each exercise contains modifications based on balance skill level.  Choose which version you are most comfortable with and can safely perform.  Be sure to work in a space that has enough room and wear smooth bottom shoes or go barefoot.

Exercise #1:  One Leg Balance Drill Series

Aim for 10 balance holds on each leg.  Repeat 2-3 times.  You can choose which one leg balance drill best suits your current balance skill level.

Exercise #2:  Body Circle Series

Aim for 10 body circles in each direction.  Repeat 2-3 times.  You can choose to perform these with or without your hoop based on your current balance skill level.

Exercise #3:  Walk the Line

Aim for 10 steps both forward and backward.  Repeat 2-3 times.  You can choose to perform these with or without a lifted leg balance based on your current balance skill level.

Exercise #4:  Object Stepping

Aim for 10 steps over your objects.  Be sure to use soft objects.  Repeat 2-3 times.

Exercise #5:  Obstacle Course

Aim for 10 random steps over your soft objects.  Repeat 2-3 times.  You can increase the challenge by having someone call direction changes for you, as demonstrated in the video and also tossing a ball back and forth as your skill level increases.

About the Author:

Llittle0915v11 150x150 Rock Your Balance!

Leigh Little is a certified Personal Trainer, Fitness Nutrition Specialist and Precision Nutrition Certified.  She is a regular Canyon Hoops contributor with blog articles and videos and is the creator of Canyon Hoops Hoop Fitness DVD.  To work with Leigh one on one for hoop fitness, dance, or weight loss contact her at leighlittle@real-fitness-solutions.com

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