Balance Pods Can Help Young and Old Alike with a Vital Skill
Balance is a key developmental skill for children, but as an adult it’s even more important. Falls are a leading cause of injury, including hip fractures and brain damage, among older adults. Greater balance can result in fewer injuries and greater stability as you age. Like any skill, balance is something that can be improved over time and is an important part of any exercise routine.
Small balance pods are an inexpensive, versatile exercise tool that can be used just about anywhere to get the whole family up and moving. The pods can be used in any number of fun ways to add balance training to compliment an existing exercise program.
National Jewish Health physical therapists recommend the following fun family exercise activities that can be done using the balance pods.
Who can stay on the pods the longest with both feet? Right foot? Left foot? Eyes closed? Coming up with balance contests among family members can be a great way to keep the whole family moving. The more you work on balance, the more it will improve. You can chart your family members’ results and set small rewards for hitting milestones.
Set the pods up in a classic hopscotch pattern: one pod, then two pods and repeat the pattern. Step with your right foot onto the first single pod. Hop with both feet onto the next two pods. Then, step onto the next single pod with your left foot, and finish by hopping with both feet onto two pods.
Line up the pods in three rows of two in front of you. Then think of football players at practice using oversized tires. You want to imitate that stutter-step thing they do. Start by putting your right foot on the first right pod; quickly move your left foot to the first left pod. Move your right foot to the next right pod, and your left foot quickly to the next left pod; continue until you've completed the rows. Turn around and repeat.
The pods’ main function is for balance, but they make great objects for a child’s obstacle course. Set up the pods around the room or outside and have your kids run between or around them trying not to touch the pods. The goal is to get kids moving, and an obstacle course is a fun way to get exercise.