Reaction Fitness Training and Balance Training with Ray Taylor, a Personal Fitness Trainer at Out Run Your Fork Personal Training in Westfield, NJ
A few months ago my mom had an accident. It seemed innocuous. She was walking over to the couch, when all of a sudden she tripped, and fell right on the arm rest of the couch. Unable to get her feet under her or get her arms out in time to stop the fall, she fell. She ended up suffering a pretty bad injury to her ribs from the fall as all her weight landed right on them.
Now don’t get me wrong. We have all been there. Most people I know, and I am no exception, have taken a tumble. Yep, even personal trainers can take a fall!
The major difference is some are able to get their hands out to decrease the impact or reestablish a firm footing, or just generally prevent the fall from happening all together.
Avoiding the Fall
Which brings me to my point. If you find yourself in a similar situation to my mom or you’ve had a few close calls where you just didn’t react as quick as you’d like, the good news is there is, just like your muscles, a way to train it.
There are ways to train your reaction time and your balance just like anything else in the gym.
Why is this important? Well, based on the little anecdote above, it will greatly decrease your chances of injury. Now, I don’t know about you but i’m not a fan of being injured.
When you’re injured it can sideline you anywhere from a day to months, heck maybe even years. That would hinder my ability to do things that i really enjoy like exercise or hang out with family and friends.
An injury can even make a nightmare out of sleeping! And I hope you all know how truly important sleep is. All of that is no bueno in my book.
Reaction Fitness Training 101 – Balance
So what is reaction and balance training? Well I like to break it down into three sections.
Balance: This one should have been obvious. Balance is “an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady.”
Gravity is a LAW and does not favor anyone. Its rules apply to you and I. but we can train our bodies to work with gravity. By training our balance we can move through any given space or range and still have the ability to stand upright instead of being taken directly to the ground. One of the ways we do this as personal trainers is by training unilaterally (one limb or side at a time. This forces our body to activate its stabilizing muscles to keep us from shifting too far to one side and falling over.
Reaction Fitness Training 102 – Reaction Time
Reaction Time: Again another obvious one. Reaction time is “the ability to respond to a stimulus.” Much like when my mom fell, she didn’t have the proper reaction time to catch herself and prevent the fall. But preventing injury is just one of the things reaction time is good for. If you’re an athlete it means your ability to respond to the snap of the football, making contact with a fastball, or propelling yourself off the starting line in a race.
There are a number of ways to train this but my favorite (and probably the most fun) is what I like to call the color coordination drill. That’s where I put a few colors and shapes, or even words, in front of a client and call out different things such as a color or shape and they have to quickly point towards the correct one. It’s always fun and engaging and often gets a few chuckles.
Reaction Fitness Training 103 – Proprioception
Proprioception: This one, maybe not so obvious. Proprioception is “the perception or awareness of the position and movement of the body.” Basically this is just your ability to be aware of what each part of your body is doing as you move through a given space and range of motion.
A good example of this, or rather poor example, is people who have “two left feet.” Someone who is constantly stumbling over themselves and can’t quite seem to keep their footing, especially during an activity like dancing. Here, proprioception means the difference between looking like Fred Astaire or Elaine from Seinfeld.
Being aware of your body’s motion not only helps with exercise and things like it, but something as simple as walking down the street and moving up stairs. The way to train this is through balance and reaction training and by developing a solid mind-muscle connection.
This is just a glimpse into the many benefits of reaction and balance training. Sprinkle some into your training routine and I bet you’ll start noticing the positive changes in no time.
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Yours in health,
Ray, Head Trainer,
Out Run Your Fork Personal Training and Nutrition
About Ray and Out Run Your Fork:
As a personal trainer and nutritionist near me in Westfield, NJ, we create better health for people over 40 who are looking to lose weight, build strength, increase energy without sacrificing time or risking injury.
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Out Run Your Fork
474 North Ave E
Westfield, NJ 07090
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