A strong core helps you have good balance, and practicing your balance helps you have a strong core. So where to start? If you’re tired of your usual gym routine, try adding in a few of these tools for a fun and beneficial challenge. With these four simple pieces of equipment, it’s easy to wobble your way to better health.
Hold your posture, not your breath. Amazon
If you’ve ever been through physical therapy, you may have used a balance board like this. It consists of a rectangular wooden plank that’s 17.5 inches long and 13.5 inches wide, and sits on top of two curved feet connected by a support across the middle. Your job is to stand on it without tipping over. You’ll quickly find that engaging your core muscles is key to finding that sweet spot where you’re able to stand perfectly balanced. The top is coated with material to lessen your risk of slipping, and the 4.75-pound board comes with a carrying bag for easy portability.
Engage your core at work. Amazon
This unique balance board reimagines a traditional physical therapy model as something you can comfortably use for hours while you’re working at a standing desk. While we are highly skeptical of the company’s claim that the board increases happiness, when you’re standing on it trying not to list to one side you will use your muscles differently than slouching in an office chair. It’s made of recycled plastic and tires, and has rubber bumpers so you won’t annoy colleagues if you work in an open plan office.
Surf your living room floor. Amazon
Unlike many balance boards, this rounded model rotates a full 360 degrees for equal-opportunity wobbling. Stand on the flat top with the rounded side facing down to level up your regular and single-legged squats, practice lateral moves across the board, or use it to support your arms as you incorporate additional balance variables into planks and pushups. This board is made of strong plastic and has two handles for transport. It’s important to note that despite its spherical shape it’s not a Bosu ball, and is meant to be used on one side only.
Trickier than it looks. Amazon
You might think that a foam mat would allow you to sink in and dig in to an exercise with more support. You’d be wrong. This sweat and slip-resistant foam mat actually provides an unstable surface to take balance exercises you might already be doing on a hard surface to the next level. It comes in two sizes depending on your preference (approximately 15 by 12 inches or 15 by 19 inches). You can also use it for extra padding for knees and hands, or to provide cushioning for seated exercises.