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    News — balance boards

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    A balancing act

    Activities that promote balance are more and more important for kids these days.  I spend a lot of time at playgrounds and started to notice that there are some great playground equipment which promotes balance as well as other development.  Sometimes we wonder the importance of all these playground equipment pieces, besides being fun.  Well, after a bit of research and knowledge of children's development, here's what I found:

    Monkey Bars: improves upper-body muscular strength
and endurance and promotes hand-eye coordination, kinesthetic awareness, and rhythmic body movement. Monkey bars are way more fun when you act like a monkey! Ooh ooh, Ah ah.

    Climbing Wall: enhances spatial awareness and arm and leg coordination. It also advances the development of body management skills on stable and unstable apparatuses. Climbing fosters whole-body muscular strength, endurance and flexibility. Climbing promotes balance.

    Swinging: integrates a smooth and synchronized movement pattern. It emphasizes the importance of timely energy transfer during movement. Swinging also promotes aerobic fitness, muscular force, and whole-body awareness.

    Sliding: enhances core stability, dynamic balance, and leg and hip flexibility. It provides a body and spatial awareness movement experience.

    Spinning: develops kinesthetic awareness and 
postural control. It improves comprehension of speed, force, and directional qualities of movement.

    Balance boards, rocks, beams, and bridges: increases understanding of efficient body positioning and control when stationary or moving. Balance promotes muscular strength and endurance throughout the entire body.


    Balance device or not?

    O.k., so you see them everywhere! Balance balls, balance boards, balance cushions, balance bikes are appearing everywhere left and right.  Why are they so great?  Did you know that doing the same exercise on a balance device makes you even stronger?  Research tells us that balance boards and balance balls engage more muscle fibers in the body.  For example, the lower back muscles use 42%-70% more exertion when on a balance device.  Now, how about those abs?  They say that 22%-34% more exertion takes place when on a balance board or ball.  Quads get a whopping 61%-84% more exertion, calves about 17%-51% more compared to exercises done without those balancing devices. 

    Why didn't we know this years ago?