Improving balance is fundamental for living a healthy and active life as we get older.
In younger years, balance is something we often take for granted, but as we age, we can often lose our natural balance and stability. This increases the risk of falls as well as demotivating people to participate in sports or physical activities – leading to a sedentary lifestyle.
Luckily, improving balance is 100% doable and something that anyone can achieve with little bit of training and some helpful equipment.
Balance training equipment creates instability – forcing your muscles and body to adapt. This helps strengthen key muscles in order to regain balance, improving overall stability.
And once you’re in control of your balance and stability, who knows what you could get up to – surfing? paddling boarding? The world becomes a much more exciting place!
So, let’s delve into the top balance equipment everyone should pick up to help support their balance training. All this equipment can be used at home, making it convenient for everyday practice.
12 Pieces of Equipment for Improving Balance at Home
BOSU balance trainer balls are popular across gyms and homes worldwide. They are the original maker of this innovative semi-ball balance trainer, helping combine multiple aspects of strength, flexibility, balance and cardiovascular exercises.
The BOSU balance trainer is versatile and can be incorporated into lots of different workouts.
You can train on both side of the ball, offering unique training opportunities for the whole body. It can be used for beginners and very basic movements and exercises, as well as much more advanced workout routines.
The imbalance it creates will ensure your stabilizing muscles are engaged and help improve your overall stability and balance.
BOSU is a brand name but there are similar alternatives too.
The balance pad is one of our favourite bits of exercise gear. Balance pads are perfect for rehabilitation and those recovering from injuries.
It is commonplace in physiotherapy due to the ease of use it offers.
Balance pads are basically foam pads that help test and strengthen your balance, while being soft and gentle on your joints. Some other balance training equipment can be more challenging, so anyone looking for a basic tool to help build up their balance can use balance pads with confidence.
Check out our blog on the best balance pad exercises.
Balance boards come in many shapes and sizes. The term “balance board” is often used to describe the broad category of balance equipment.
Some balance boards move on a sphere and allow for multi-directional movement, while others offer a bi-directional movement (e.g. side to side).
The wider your stance, the easier it should be to balance. Some balance boards designed for surfing will be much harder and not as suitable for those just looking to improve everyday balance.
Balance boards will tend to either roll, rock or wobble.
Balance boards are very versatile too – although standing on them is what you’d expect to do, performing exercises like push-ups on them is another way to enhance your workouts.
A wobble board is a type of balance board that has a circular board with a small spherical base. This offer 360 degree rotation and movement. This makes balance difficult as you have to stabilize yourself in all possible directions.
Wobble boards can be used to practice balance, as well as enhancing other exercises and bodyweight movements. Performing a press-up on a wobble board will require your arms, shoulders and chest to adapt to the imbalance, helping strengthen supporting muscles.
Wobble boards do require a higher level of balance to begin with than something like a balance pad, but they suit any fitness level and can be incorporated into exercises to best suit your own needs.
Indo Boards, or often more broadly referred to as roller boards, are one of the more advanced pieces of balance training equipment.
The ball or roller is placed under the board to create imbalance. This replicates the balance required for sports like surfing.
Any slight imbalance and you may find yourself on the floor. Unlike balance pads or wobble boards, the roller boards are less forgiving and will need lots of practice to perfect.
Nevertheless, this type of gear will hone in your balance skills and set you up for balance that is good enough for things like surfing or paddling boarding.
Medicine balls are great for developing all-round strength and conditioning fitness.
Medicine balls come in a range of sizes and weights, so you can select a few different balls for different exercises. Ideally, having multiple medicine balls means you can create more dynamic workouts that utilise the different weights.
If you’re just getting started, begin with lighter medicine balls and gradually increase the weight.
Medicine balls help improve balance in a variety of ways. A great exercise to begin with is sitting on the floor with your feet raise, holding the ball with both hands and moving the ball from side to side. This will really target your core and help strengthen these muscles that are crucial for overall stability.
Agility ladders are great at improving balance. They encourage better speed, agility and quickness.
Agility ladders can be placed on the floor in your home or in the garden and provide a structure for placing your feet and enhancing workouts. They help focus your attention on where you are putting your feet and improving the little movements that can be so important for regaining balance.
Agility ladders are particularly useful for those wanting to participate in sports.
A balance disc is almost like a mini balance board, designed to support a single hand or foot. This means you often use them in pairs, or use them in isolation for advanced balancing (e.g. one legged squats).
They are small in size but very versatile. As well as being used during exercise, they can also be used as cushions, to promote better posture while sitting and helping engage the core and other stabilising muscles during sitting to improve balance and overall conditioning.
Balance discs are often used in physiotherapy and during injury rehabilitation.
Slide boards are less common that other bits of fitness equipment on this list, but nevertheless, they are highly effective at improving balance.
You put a slipper over your shoes and slide from side to side. This helps replicate dynamic movements similar to what you may experience during activities like badminton, tennis, football and other sports.
Slide boards are also really useful for those getting back from knee injuries and looking to add more training that is gentle on the joints.
Rebounders are a fantastic piece of balance training equipment. Not only do they encourage better balance but also pack a punch when it comes to cardio training and getting your heart racing.
Rebounders are suitable for all fitness levels. Beginners can gently bounce up and down, focusing on their balance, while more advanced users can increase the difficulty either by length of workout or intensity.
Not to be forgotten, the exercise step is a simple but highly effective piece of fitness equipment.
Stepping up and down, holding positions on each leg, can make a world of difference for your balance. Performing exercises like one legged squats on an exercise step requires advanced balance skills, so its suitable for any level and can be used to support or enhance any exercise.