The "Moment" of Losing Balance

How Balance Board Training Can Help Athletes Avoid Common Physiological Responses

Have you ever lost your balance and felt that panic-stricken "moment" where everything seems to be an out of body a blur? Losing balance can be a disorienting and stressful experience, and it can trigger a range of physiological responses in the body.

The Body's Fight

When we lose balance, our body's instinct is to protect itself from harm and regain stability. This can lead to an increase in heart rate and blood pressure as the body's fight or flight response is activated. Muscles will tense up, particularly in the limbs and torso, as the body tries to regain its footing. Sweating may also occur as the body tries to regulate its temperature. Rapid or shallow breathing is another common response, as the body tries to get more oxygen to the muscles. In some cases, the body may also release adrenaline, which can further increase heart rate and blood pressure. All of this is a recipe for suboptimal decision making and/or athletic performance.

Time Slowing

But regaining balance is not just about brute force or luck. In fact, subtle body movements and adjustments can play a key role in maintaining stability and avoiding falls. For athletes, the ability to make quick and precise adjustments to maintain balance can be the difference between success and failure. 

But with frequent balance board training, athletes can essentially learn to slow time and avoid these common physiological responses in the moment of losing balance. Balance board training helps athletes ‘respond’ to the moment of losing balance instead of “over-reacting”. This may involve a subtle shifting of weight, adjusting posture, reorienting line of sight, even breathing.

By practicing on a balance board regularly, athletes can become more confident and stable in their movements, and they can learn to literally "think clearly on their feet" in dynamic and unpredictable situations. This can be especially useful in high-intensity sports such as skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, skateboarding, and surfing, where balance and stability are crucial for success.

Range of Benefits

In addition to improving balance and stability, balance board training can also have a range of other benefits, including increased strength, flexibility, coordination, and overall athletic performance. So, if you are an athlete looking to up your game, consider incorporating balance board training into your training routine.

You may just find that you have a little more time to react in those critical "moments" of balance loss.