No more falling off your paddle board by practicing your balance even better on a balance board or wobble board
Do you want to control your balance better before stepping on an inflatable paddle board, or just generally improve your balance for any activity? A balance board or wobble board can help you with this, so that you are even more firmly in your shoes (or on your bare feet 😉).
If you’ve been curious about how a balance board can help and what it can do for you, this article will give you more information about it. I will tell you how these boards work and how they are used by people to improve their balance and athletic skills.
In addition, I will tell you about the different types of boards and my top 5, so you will eventually know which balance board is right for you.
What is a balance board?
A balance board is a kind of lever or round plate that is used to train the balance. The board consists of a flat surface on which you can stand, with a base underneath. On most balance boards you place the left foot and the right foot on either side of the base.
Because of the unstable surface it is difficult to stand straight and you have to make an effort to balance. As users, you will have to make small adjustments to your posture and movements in order not to tip over. Otherwise the board will hit the ground with its side and you will fall off.
What is a Balance Board user for?
Balance boards are used to develop a range of skills, all of which are somehow related to balance. Because of their versatility, many different types of people use these boards, both for recreational purposes and to improve the aforementioned skills.
Below are some examples of groups that use balance boards and why they use them.
Who uses balance boards?
Athletes: This group is of course the most obvious, because they need to have their balance perfectly under control. These boards were first used by skiers, who wanted to keep practicing out of season in order to keep their balance optimal.
Eventually this was taken over by other athletes who could not train at their normal spot due to circumstances, as is often the case with surfers or SUP boarders due to weather conditions or lack of time.
Meanwhile, many athletes from all kinds of sports use these boards, because a good balance eventually plays a role in every sport. Whether you play soccer or tennis, being on your feet in every situation is a necessity everywhere.
But it doesn’t stop with athletes, every person ultimately wants to improve and keep a good balance. If you ever start physical therapy it is almost inevitable that you will end up on a balance board. This helps to train muscles and make your body stronger, so that future injuries can be prevented.
For children it is also ideal to practice balancing, because they often tend to fall down and thus can practice at home in a safe environment to keep their balance. In this way you can go outside a lot more relaxed, knowing that the chance of the little one hurting himself with a fall is a lot smaller.
What does a balance board help you with?
The short answer, of course, is to improve your balance, but there are many more benefits to using these boards, which I will briefly list for you:
- Less chance of injuries
- Improve sports performance
- Strengthen your core
- Solving problems with your posture
- Sharpening cognitive skills
Less chance of injuries
If you often have injuries while playing your favorite sport (I love tennis, but my knees often bother me), a balance board can help you with this. Important joints are strengthened by regular exercise and you enlarge muscle groups that support the body. Strength and coordination are improved to prevent injuries in the future.
Improve sports performance
This is partly linked) to the prevention of injuries, if you don’t have an injury your performance will eventually improve 😉. As a paddle boarder this is an important advantage, you will be more comfortable on your board and less likely to lose your balance and end up in the water. Depending on the type of sport you practice you can choose a certain type of balance board, but I’ll come back to that later.
Strengthen your core
Strengthening your core muscles is also one of the goals of paddle boarding and also plays an important role in a balance board. By strengthening your core, back pain can be relieved and you’ll one day get the tight abs I do (I wish…). A balance board forces you to tighten your core every time you make a movement, no matter what exercise you do. That’s why balance boards are often used in physiotherapy.
Solving problems with your posture
In many of our activities, especially while sitting or walking, we adopt the wrong posture. Just think about how you lean forward to the computer screen or walk around town with your shoulders down.
We spend too much time lying down or sitting down. A balance board builds the muscles that make it easier to stand upright and you can also sit straight on your chair during computer work.
Sharpening cognitive skills
Perhaps the least obvious advantage, but a balance board can also help sharpen your cognitive skills. As you develop your body better, your brain also has a better sense of balance and place and it becomes easier to focus. A strong balance can help eliminate other distractions and free your mind to work harder on everything else.
What should you pay attention to when buying a balance board?
By now you already know more about balance boards and their advantages, but what should you pay attention to when buying a balance board? There are several factors that are important when buying a board, which I will briefly go into in more detail here.
Some balance boards are one-size-fits-all, while others are only suitable for people with certain heights or weights. Be sure to check these specifications when buying a board so you can choose one that fits your body.
Balance boards can be made of many different materials, but the most common are plastic and wood. In general, wooden boards wear out a little less and are usually of a higher quality. However, the types of wood and plastic vary greatly. If you plan to use your board regularly, make sure you choose something solid so that you don’t have to buy another one after just a few days 😉.
Some balance boards have a surface with extra grip, while others are smooth at the top. The surface of your preference depends on where you want to train and what you train for. You can start on a board with more grip, and practice later on boards with less grip.
Some balance boards are more difficult than others for beginners, you will see this later in this guide for the different types of balance boards. Think about who wants to use the board and how big the challenge should be. For example, do you have children who want to use it as well? Then don’t choose one of the most difficult balance boards!
Safety tips when using a balance board
Of course you don’t want to get an injury, it’s just the intention to prevent it and to strengthen your muscles and joints. If you exercise in a safe way you can make faster progress and keep your body healthy and fit. Here are a few tips.
Keep space free
When you start practicing with your balance board it is necessary to give yourself enough space. Clean up your surroundings and make sure there are no objects in the area that you might fall on. Instead, practice in a place where you can stumble and fall comfortably. Also, always use your balance board in a well-lit room, so you can always see what your surroundings are like and what you need to take into account.
Don’t move your arms too much
Standing on a balance board it can be tempting to wave your arms to try to keep your balance, however, the intention is to put your core muscles to work. Moving your arms will make you fall sooner. Try to make every movement you make slow, purposeful and fully conscious.
Focus on one point
If you keep your eyes focused on a point that is far away, you can maintain your natural sense of balance. Resist the urge to look at your feet, and instead shift your concentration to the far wall.
Wear proper protection
If you are going to practice tricks on your balance board, you should always wear the correct equipment. This includes elbow and knee pads and a helmet. Complicated tricks make it much more likely that you will fall on your head on a balance board. With normal use this is of course not necessary, then it is only important that you wear comfortable clothing.
Choose the right floor
Practicing on a carpeted floor makes balancing easier, while using hard floors is a greater challenge. Whichever option you choose, make sure there is no water or other liquids/slippery objects on the floor where you practice.
Do not exaggerate
As with any sports practice, you need to make sure that you’re going at a steady pace and that you don’t want to let yourself do too much too quickly. Choose a board that suits your skill level and do exercises that make you feel comfortable. Once you’ve mastered them, you’re ready to take on bigger challenges.
Types of balance boards
Now that you know everything there is to know about balance boards, it’s time to take a look at the different types of balance boards available and what the differences are.
The various types of boards vary depending on how they are used and how well your balance needs to be in order to use them. I’ll explain five different types below, how they are used and what a good example of the type is.
Each of these types of balance boards includes a base and a surface, but they vary in terms of how the base and surface are attached and what shapes these two elements have. Below I will explain as many different types of boards as possible to give you an idea of the possibilities.
Rocker Balance Board
The Rocker Balance Board is the easiest form and ideally suited for beginners. This board is simple, easy to use and the least difficult to keep your balance. The board consists of a rectangular flat plate and round base, which makes you lean left and right to keep balance.
Due to its design, this type of balance board has only one movement sequence: a left-right tilt. It is a great board for beginners, and can often be found under gymnastic equipment or in physical education classes for children.
The above Fezibo Balance board is a good example of this. You can even put it under your desk at work to keep your legs balanced, which in turn affects the rest of your body. Because a lot of back problems are related to a wrong posture, this can also be helpful.
Rocker Roller Balance Board
Rocker Roller Balance Boards are a bit more difficult to use, because the platform lies loose on the base and the weight can shift all the way to the left or right. This means that there are two sources of instability instead of one. The wheel movement, in combination with the left-right tilting movement, provides a greater challenge.
Rocker-roller boards most accurately mimic the type of movement you would make while snowboarding or skateboarding. This makes them a good choice if you want to practice tricks on your balance board or hone your skills out of season.
A good option for a Rocker Roller Balance board is the Revolution 101 Balance board. If you still want to train your balance during the rainy weather then this is definitely a challenge for you!
One of my personal favorites is the Wobbel Board. As you can already see from the name, this is a Dutch company, which now sells well worldwide with the popular Wobbel Board. Because the product looks great, functions well and is made of durable and natural material it has a lot of fans.
All products are made in Europe and finished in the Netherlands, where they are delivered from the workshop in the Netherlands. A Dutch product of very high quality and environmentally friendly, what more could you ask for?
The board itself, as shown in the picture, is a board with a round shape. While doing exercises on a Wobbel Board you can also try to perform balanced squats and other exercises without tipping over. Because it is so easy to use, children can also use it to practice their balance and stay on their feet.
There are many different variants of the Wobbel Board, for both beginners and advanced (more curve). They are also available with different surfaces and colors, so you can find exactly the Wobbel Board that suits your needs and skills.
Round Balance Board
Of course, where balance boards focus on standing on it, it’s not the only way to train your balance. In fact, you can add a balance element to any existing fitness exercise to make it more challenging and train your balance.
It’s a semi-circle where you can stand on the bottom as well as on the top, practicing a different type of balance on both sides. You can lie down on it as shown in the picture above and do other exercises while keeping balance, which also helps to train your back and is more comfortable than a floor mat.
This is not half a skippyball but a device with a nice weight, it weighs 8 kg. You could also use it for push-ups, knee exercises and many other fitness workouts. So you get more than just a balance board, but a training product that balances all your exercises!
Interactive Balance Board
Now let’s move to a more futuristic option, the Interactive Balance Board. By using the motion sensors in your smartphone, the exercise is adjusted and you get a live experience that helps you improve your training and balance.
You can also download the corresponding app and play games with movements. Through the measurements you can tackle your own weaknesses and keep track of all your progress and activities. An ideal way to continue working on this and to stay motivated to keep moving forward in your training.
I’m also a big fan of practicing with Ring Fit Adventure on the Nintendo Switch and I know how rewarding it can be to do this in a game form. That’s why I absolutely believe that this way of stimulation can help everyone to take steps faster and practice more regularly.
Conclusion Balance Board
Balance boards are very versatile and can help anyone improve balance, strengthen muscles and joints and even improve concentration. It is therefore no surprise that these boards are so popular.
Not only for athletes, but also for people who want to improve their posture and have less injuries. For everyone it is recommended to do this daily, simply while watching television or while working (easily with a standing desk).
There are many different types and sizes of balance boards available on the market, not all of which I have mentioned above. For example, are you looking for confirmation, do you want to keep track of your progress and do you want to be motivated? Then take a look at the interactive board that does these things and really makes you want to do them on a daily basis!
Do you already have the motivation and do you want a high quality and sustainable product from Dutch soil? Then the Wobbel board is the ideal choice for you to do your exercises. This board is also very suitable for children to practice on and help them grow up without falling on the ground again and again.
There are many possibilities that fit exactly to what you want and to your wishes and goals. Think carefully about who is going to use the balance board and what for and make the right choice for the perfect balance board that suits you!
Do you have a balance board at home or have you tried it before? What type did you stand on and what did you think of it? I am curious about your experience and if you have any tips to further improve my balance, so I don’t have to fall in the water anymore ;-). Let me know in the comments below!