Balance boards. Fun to have in the living room, a great way to target your core during exercise….and a method of improving your ability to concentrate? Recent studies are proving a correlation between proprioceptive training and improving brain functions like memory, spatial recognition, and concentration. Both adults and kids can unlock a lesser-known benefit of a balance board simply by playing around with one regularly.
What does balance have to do with your brain?
Balance is a dynamic process involving multiple neurological pathways and body-control movements. In the brain, your cerebellum acts as a body control center for maintaining balance, interpreting information received from your muscles, eyes, and inner ear vestibular system. This data is used to send messages to your muscle and ligament receptors to keep your body steady and stabilized.
When you are on a balance board, you are forced to concentrate on making small adjustments by shifting your weight. You are essentially able to focus in on your ability to stay concentrated on accomplishing this one goal. In a classroom, a student may have trouble honing in on learning about the Industrial Revolution because they are fidgeting, worried about a text message, wondering what’s for dinner etc. Think of keeping the balance board level as an analogy to learning about the Industrial Revolution; if you lose concentration you will fall off the board or lose your balance. If you stay on board, the only option is to concentrate on maintaining balance. The only option is to learn about the Industrial Revolution, and even when you fall off you literally can’t wait to dive back into the first large-scale manufacturing of textiles.
A balance board exaggerates your body’s feeling of imbalance, just as lifting weights exaggerates the normal strength requirements of everyday life. Both can be harnessed to improve yourself in different ways. By targeting your brain’s ability to quickly process information and relay a message, you can increase the efficiency of your ability to balance and the strength of your mind-muscle connection! The mind muscle connection is your ability to concentrate your mind on the use or contraction of your muscle. This has also been shown to translate into concentrating in the classroom.
Try it out
Whether you are looking to improve you or your child’s academic concentration or increase the efficiency of your weight lifting by developing a strong mind-muscle connection, a balance board is a great way to challenge your body and your brain alike. Try standing on one for a few minutes a day and you will definitely feel the difference!