Your ankles are a lot like a house foundation -- if they weaken, so does the functioning of the body. Anytime you walk, run, jump, play sports or haul a load of clean laundry upstairs, you're using your ankles. Balance exercises, like those done on a wobble board, help make your foundation stronger. They enable you to perform amazing feats such as running after feisty children and breaking a fall on the ice while carrying a ton of shopping bags. Strengthening your ankles will help keep your active life active -- and let the kids know you're a force to be reckoned with.
Sitting on a chair with a wobble board under your feet is perfect if you are nervous about standing on the board. Perhaps you want to start slow or you have an injury that is low-weight bearing. From a seated position, you can point and flex your feet, rotate them or have some fun and spell out the alphabet with one ankle!
Standing on Two Feet
The best way to get on the wobble board is to tilt it all the way to one side, step one foot onto the down side and then put your other foot on the other side. It's OK if you need to hold onto a wall or another person as you get your balance. From here, you can do all the same exercises as you did seated. You can also tilt your ankles side to side, like you are skiing or on a surfboard. Try reaching down and touching your toes, while keeping balanced or reach your hands to either side of your feet as you bend down.
It's time to get serious with the one-leg balance! Stand on one foot in the middle of the board. Master this and then try rotating your ankle in circles while standing on one leg. Next, reach down and touch your toes with a bent leg. Be sure to alternate legs. This is a great way for any athlete or exerciser to strengthen the ankles.
Wobble Boards and Medicine Balls
Once you master maneuvering on one leg, grab a friend and play. Start by standing on two feet on the wobble board. Have your friend toss you a light medicine ball or bouncy ball at different angles. Your job is to catch the ball, while staying balanced on the board. By throwing the ball at different angles, you keep your body guessing and your muscles responding to the change in direction is a good way. When you're ready, try doing this with one foot. All of the movement will strengthen your ankles in no time.
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