Improving Mobility and Stability in Seniors with Bosu Exercises
This past weekend I was lucky enough to attend the Empower convention in Detroit. I took a certification course for Bosu Stability and Mobility for the Active Aging Population. Stability and mobility for seniors is such an important aspect of the fitness industry. One of the main causes of serious injury for the active aging population is falling. Bosu exercises can be an awesome tool to help seniors improve their mobility and stability. Working on balance, flexibility and mobility of the joints can be a crucial step in living a less stressful and safer life. I met a wonderful woman named Bernadette “Super Betty” O’Brien who was one of the instructors for the class. Betty is an 84 year old AFAA certified trainer who is in excellent condition. For more about Betty, check out her Facebook page here. Through Bosu exercises combined with other forms of body weight training, Betty is able to do just about anything ranging from squats and lunges, to overhead presses and any other of the 5 essential movement patterns. The beauty of the Bosu Balance Trainer® lies in the instability and height of the dome. Seniors often have a hard getting up and down off the ground, so the added height of the Bosu serves as a stepping stone to getting all the way down to the ground. Balance is also of huge importance for the active aging population. There are so many Bosu exercises that can be easily regressed and progressed to help seniors improve their balance and become more comfortable in awkward and every day positions (we will talk more about specific exercises later).
I also had the pleasure of meeting Erika Quest who has been using the Bosu Balance Trainer® for years. She also developed some of the first Bosu/Pilates combination classes and routines. Erika took us through all of the different Bosu exercises (she is an AWESOME instructor for any of you out in California). Erika and Betty taught us in detail about how each Bosu exercise benefits specific movement patterns for the active aging population. Improving the stabilizer muscles and the core is a crucial part of anyone’s exercise program, especially when it comes to senior fitness. Here are a couple examples of some Bosu exercises and how they can directly benefit the senior population.
1. Toe Taps and Side Steps
The Bosu Balance Trainer® is a great tool to improve balance with exercises like toe taps and stepping up and down onto the dome. By working on the dome, trainees learn to use their entire bodies. Balancing on Bosu as you step on the dome recruits your core, legs, ankles and really works your balance. To perform these exercises, there a few different methods you can choose. You can simply tap the dome with your foot to get a feel for the instability, you can do side steps over the dome, you step onto the dome and step back down or any combination of these.
2. Bosu Falls
This can be one of the harder Bosu exercises to get used to performing, but it directly correlates to every day life. By allowing their center of gravity to move outside their body, seniors can train themselves to be ready for any situation where they may lose their balance. To perform the Bosu Fall, simply stand 1-2 feet from the Bosu Balance Trainer® and allow yourself to fall towards it. As you begin to fall, catch yourself with one of your feet. This exercise can improve strength in the leg and core, stability in the ankle and knee and help seniors get over their fear of falling by recognizing how it feels.
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