Balance Board ExerciseAs a rule if I run in the gym I like to find a treadmill which offers me some sort of view, preferably by a window; unfortunately one particular day I wasn’t so lucky and found myself using the last one available situated in the corner of the room directly behind a stand of swiss and bosu balls. I watched as people took and returned them and found myself feeling sorry for the only item continuously left on the stand – a dusty balance board. Now I appreciate the balance board doesn’t seem like the most exciting piece of equipment and swiss balls have a reputation for being the go to for core exercises, but seriously the balance board can work core and more! Anyone who knows me knows my stance on developing core stability as fundamental for all exercise but in conjunction when performing standing/weight bearing exercise stability at the ankle is also unsurprisingly important. All joints in the body undergo a continual conflict between mobility and stability – to increase one is often to lessen the other.

In part, the purpose of a warm up is to increase mobility in joints, the ankle in particular has need for mobility to allow for movement in several planes, but it also needs adequate stability to prevent injury. The most common injury in sports and physical activity are ankle sprains which are estimated to account for 25% of injuries; most commonly ankle sprains involve the lateral (outer side) ankle ligaments and are associated with the movements plantarflexion and inversion (pointed feet turned inwards). I tend to be of the opinion that prevention is better than cure and where ankles are concerned a balance board is a good first step. They can serve to mobilise the ankle (remember mobility is still needed), more importantly can improve proprioception (the body’s awareness of where it is in space) and in turn improve neuromuscular control and the ability to correct excess movement, as well as helping to begin strengthening muscles around the ankle for stability. Functional movements such as squats can be performed on them, lunges with either the front or back foot in contact; as well as core exercises such as planks with either the feet or hands in contact, and even press ups.

I have to say bosu balls are also great and perfect for progressing ankle exercises (honestly run or hop your way across one) but to take things back to basics the balance board is amazing, so the next time you head up to grab a swiss ball spare a thought for the balance board, do your ankles a favour and brush off a little dust!


Health and Fitness editorial by the FitFarms team. FitFarms specialises in Fitness and Weight Loss Holidays for people of all different fitness levels, shapes and sizes. Check out our next courses here

Image credit to Shape.com