Developing your coordination and your balance is a common topic when it comes to infants and toddlers, but these valuable skills are often overlooked later in life. However, they are constantly solicited, whether it comes to athletic skills or navigating everyday activities like navigating a busy street. Fortunately, it is never too late to start with improving coordination exercises, such as obstacle course fitness classes. Here are some ideas to find out how to become more coordinated and how to improve agility.
What Is Coordination?
Coordination is the ability to use several body parts simultaneously to complete a task. Although it may seem natural, it is a learned skill: for example, babies need to learn how to use their pincer fingers to grab a small object. Coordination is essential to accomplish everyday tasks, whether it is as simple as walking by putting one foot in front of the other or as complicated as juggling or performing complex gymnastic routines.
Coordination is directed by an area of the brain known as the cerebellum, which controls the ability to think along with the speed it takes to process any information. Therefore, training for coordination may not only improve your physical abilities but your mental capacities as well.
Coordination can be divided into three main groups of skills:
- Fine motor skills involve small muscle groups (like hands, for example) simulated for precise tasks. Fine motor skills are involved in functions such as writing or drawing.
- Gross motor skills involve larger muscle groups like arms and legs. They are engaged in tasks as simple as walking or as complicated as playing sports at the Olympic level.
- Hand-eye skills relate to the ability to coordinate the information received visually and direct the hands’ muscles to act accordingly. They are involved in acts such as juggling or catching a ball.
The Benefits of Coordination
Although exercises that improve coordination are often overlooked in physical training in favor of strength or flexibility training, they are essential to overall well-being.
Better coordination may improve your performance and rapidity in executing a task, whether it is the practice of competitive sports or recreational activities such as drawing or sawing. However, it can also reduce the risk of injury, including later in life. Physical coordination has also been linked to mental agility, so a coordination workout can also help you be smarter and think faster. Here are some of the benefits of improving coordination exercises.
Physical Benefits of Coordination Training
Exercises for coordination will help you improve your physical abilities, such as:
- Building muscles and toning the body with more precise and targeted movements.
- Improving stability and improving agility for a better overall performance.
- Increasing your training capacity as you improve your energy level by performing tasks more efficiently and improve your cardiovascular system.
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Mental Benefits of Coordination Training
Physical health and performance are not the only things that will improve if you regularly exercise to improve coordination. Your mental health and ability will also get better, with benefits such as:
- Better concentration and memory.
- Think faster.
- Boosted self-confidence.
- As with any form of exercise, coordination drills can trigger the release of endorphins and improve your general mood.
8 Effective Ways to Improve Balance
Improving your sense of balance – in other words, the ability to move your body in space while performing static movements – is one of the main goals of many exercises for coordination. A good balance stimulates several body parts, such as your core strength, hand-eye coordination, and more. Here are some exercises for balance and agility you can practice regardless of your fitness level.
#1. Improve Your Core Muscle Strength
One of the ways to improve balance is to increase your muscle strength, especially in stabilizing muscles such as your legs, back, shoulders, and core. It creates an excellent base to improve your physical fitness coordination and allows your body to move more fluidly and with more confidence.
If you do not know how to build muscle strength while incorporating a coordination workout into your routine, it may be worth looking into ForceFit group fitness classes in Illinois. Not only do these military-training-inspired classes allow you to build core muscle strength and agility at the same time, but there are also many other benefits to group fitness classes.
#2. Try Racket Sports, Dancing, or Swimming
Athlete coordination is often associated with physically demanding sports. Still, sports that require stimulating several muscle groups at the same time are excellent for those who are wondering how to become more coordinated.
The regular practice of sports such as swimming, dancing, or racket sports will improve your coordination since they require an increase in your proprioception. These sports stimulate your entire body, and the brain is needed to coordinate and anticipate the different sequences (for example, the ball's trajectory or the moves of your dance partner) simultaneously. Your arms are also often outside of your field of vision, requiring the brain to use its mind’s eyes and visualize the trajectory for a successful outcome.
#3. Close Your Eyes While Accomplishing Familiar Task
An easy exercise to improve coordination that can be accomplished anytime and anywhere is to perform daily tasks and everyday activities with your eyes closed – as long as it is not dangerous! It will improve your bodily perception so you can improve the precision of your movements.
In addition, closing your eyes encourages your body to be more aware of what is going on without relying on sights, heightening your other senses. It may lead you to focus on your position, and how you perform each movement and become more aware of some flaws. Controlling your body and movements without relying on sight is excellent training for coordination.
#4. Catch a Ball with One Hand
Another example of coordination exercises is to try catching a ball one-handed. This simple drill will help you improve a wide range of skills, including agility and hand-eye coordination since your eyes must signal to your hands when and where to close on the ball. It is also an excellent way to even out the differences between your dominant and non-dominant sides, which may throw you off balance in other exercises.
You can increase the difficulty of this exercise by alternating dominant and non-dominant hands, standing on one foot, or practicing on uneven surfaces such as grass, sand, or gravel, which will push your body to improve its balancing skills.
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#5. Improve Your Coordination by Practicing Balance Exercises
Here are a series of examples of coordination exercises to practice regularly if you are wondering how to improve balance:
- Standing on one foot: Standing on one foot is an easy way to get started before moving on to more challenging exercises for balance and agility. Start by standing on one foot for 20 to 30 seconds before moving to the other foot.
- Walking in a straight line: If you are looking for ideas for exercises for balance for beginners, try walking in a straight line by putting one foot in front of the other.
- Lateral lunge: Lateral lunges are among the trickier improving coordination exercises since they require more body strength. Try ten repetitions on each leg.
- One leg shoulder press: Using a dumbbell or another heavy object, stand on one foot and press the weight overhead.
- Single leg deadlift.
#6. Use a Jump Rope
There is a reason why a simple jump rope has been a favorite exercise to improve coordination for decades. It is an excellent way to improve lower body strength, coordination, and rhythm. It also allows increasing the difficulty progressively by moving on to trickier exercises, such as increasing speed, double jumps, crisscrossing the jump rope, or jumping on one foot. In addition, rope jumping encourages you to maintain control and rhythm as your body gets tired.
#7. Try Target Exercises
Target practices can make for a fun, yet challenging coordination drills since they do not require a lot of body strength. Progressively increase your distance from the target to increase the difficulty level, and try aiming from different angles instead of from a straight line. You can also alternate exercises consisting of hitting the target with an object, such as darts or a ball, and shooting an object through a target like a loop. You can make things trickier by changing the target’s size and height or moving around before shooting.
#8. Practice Juggling and Dribbling
More than a simple party trick, juggling can be a wonderful and challenging exercise to practice when training for coordination. It develops hand-eye coordination as well as your sense of control, rhythm, and timing. Start by juggling two balls before moving on to three once you have mastered your pacing. Adding a third ball during the exercise is also a great way to work on your concentration. Dribbling is another excellent training for coordination as it works simultaneously on your ability to keep your eyes on the ball, maintain your speed, and negotiate various angles.
How to Improve Balance and Coordination at Any Age
Although many sports focus on strength and flexibility training, soft skills such as balance, agility, and coordination are just as necessary to performing well. They are also essential for performing everyday activities and can influence not only your physical but also mental capabilities. As we get older, a good sense of balance and coordination may also reduce the risk of injury. Agility classes are a wonderful tool for children and adults of all ages to improve their balance and agility.
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