Coordination Exercises That Help to Improve Balance and Performance
Usually when we think of coordination exercises, we think of childhood development and improving the child’s motor skills, but adults can benefit from coordination improvements also. Using coordination exercises can really help your sports performance and keep you better balanced throughout the day. There are a lot of exercises that will improve coordination and online classes you can take to help your coordination.
Dance to Improve Coordination
One of the best ways to improve your coordination is to dance and it is fun, too. Learn how to do the dance called the Charleston from the 1920s and improve your coordination. In dance, you usually use all your hands and legs and they are all doing something different, but the dance moves are repetitive. For instance, you will have your right leg and left arm working together to do a move and then both of your legs and arms doing the next move. Of course, every dance is different with completely different moves.
Some of the easiest dances to learn are the line dances. With line dancing you have people all around you and sometimes in front of you to learn from. After you are in the line for a while you will start to pick up how the dance goes. So, with line dances it is easier to get the hang of the moves.
The best dances are the ones that have your arms or legs crossing over to the other side of the body. It is a left brain vs right brain thing and if you cross over a lot, your coordination is forced to improve. So, try to pick dances that will have your arms or legs cross over to the other sides of the body or have your left arm and right arm doing different things at the same time.
The type of dance you do doesn’t need to be the type of dancing that you do at the nightclub. You can learn tap dancing, modern dance, ballet or some other more traditional form of dance. Any type of dance is a great exercise that will improve your coordination.
Development of Coordination
The crucial period in a person’s life to develop good coordination is between the ages of 10 and 13. That is the time the balance, rhythm, spatial orientation and the ability to react to things going on the environment are pretty much set. You can work to improve your coordination later, however. Just because you are now an adult doesn’t mean you cannot improve with coordination exercises.
Playing Catch as a Coordination Exercise
To help improve your hand and eye coordination, you can play a simple game of catch. Have someone toss a tennis ball or a Wiffle ball to you or other smaller ball that is easy to handle. Practice catching the ball with both hands at first then make the game of catch more difficult by using only one hand. You can also do some fancy moves by catching the ball by putting your arm behind your back. Pretend you are a champion baseball pitcher or catcher and develop the most difficult moves that you can think up.
If you don’t have someone else to play catch with then you can bounce the ball off of a wall. Or you can use a racket and practice racquetball moves by hitting the ball as it bounces off the wall.
Double Dutch to Improve Coordination
Jumping rope is a great way to improve your coordination and it is one of the many types of coordination exercises that boxers use. You can use one jump rope and jump rope in place, or you can use two jump ropes with some friends. To play Double Dutch you need two long jump ropes. One person holds the end of each jump rope and stands facing another person who holds one jump rope in each hand. Then they step back away from each other far enough so that they can twirl the ropes.
Those that are operating the jump ropes twirl the ropes at different intervals. Now you can watch the jump ropes for a while and jump into the middle of the jump ropes. You need to be careful to jump each rope as it comes around. Double Dutch jump roping is a very effective coordination exercise that is very popular with kids.
Jumping jacks themselves are a good exercise, but the crisscross type of jumping jack works a lot better for improving coordination. The regular jumping jack is where you start by standing with your feet pointed forward and your hands at your sides. You then jump and move your legs out to the sides and throw your hands out and then up over your head. By the time you land on the ground again, your hands and feet are both back in the starting position.
With the crisscross jumping jack it is the same idea but you cross your legs and arms. So, you jump and then your first landing will have your legs bent at the knee and your arms up and out to the sides with them bent at the elbow. Your next jump lands with your arms crossed in front of your body and your legs crossed. You alternate your legs in the crossed landing. One time your left foot will be in front and the next time your right foot will be in front. You also alternate your arm with the left being on top then the next time the right will be on top. This is a tremendous cardio workout and it is also a good way to help improve coordination.
The Ali Shuffle
The Ali Shuffle was named after the boxer Mohamed Ali. It was one of the little dances he was known for in the ring and it was an effective coordination exercise for him. How it works is that you draw a line on the floor. Stand on the line with your feet slightly apart. Now hop and land with one foot in front of the line and one foot behind the line. For the next hop you switch which foot is in front and which foot is behind the line. Now to make it a little more difficult, move down the line as you jump and land. You will be able to travel sideways down the line and back when you get really good at the Ali Shuffle.
Using Pilates to Improve Coordination
Pilates was developed by its namesake, Joseph Pilates, in the early 1900s. This is an exercise system that keeps the spine and pelvis aligned while focusing on breathing and your center. This system is supposed to improve a person’s coordination and balance as well as keeping you physically and mentally fit.
Pilates as an exercise has become very popular in the USA in the past couple of decades with millions of people attending classes and using the system. There are many thousands of Pilates instructors. The name “Pilates” did not successfully sue to keep the Pilates trademark so the training a person receives as an instructor, may or may not be truly connected to the person who developed the system. Anyone can use the name “Pilates” for their exercise and fitness program.
Pilates requires intense concentration demanding that you have a strong focus on your entire body while you are doing the movements as smooth as possible. The philosophy is that how you do the movements is more important than the movements themselves. The reason you concentrate so hard is to keep your movements tightly controlled by you. The whole Pilates method teaches you to control your body and to not let your body end up controlling you.
Centering is the Pilates way of working from the center of the body and then out to the limbs. It is the theory that the center is where you can keep control of your body and its movements.
Proper breathing is a strong focus of Pilates as it is with any workout program. Getting a good supply of oxygen into the body is essential for good muscle movement and health. Pilates will help you develop good and healthy breathing habits during your workouts to attain the maximum benefits.
Coordination exercises are a great way to improve your balance, coordination and even your performance in your favorite sport. There are a lot of ways to accomplish better coordination through workout program classes, Pilates, dancing and even jumping rope. Of course, with all this new activity it is easy to get a little knotted up, so you can take a class to properly stretch to work out the kinks. Once you start with your new exercises, you will notice your coordination and balance dramatically improve in just a short time.
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