The ability to move your body quickly through time and space is incredibly important for individuals of all abilities. The primary reason I do agility training with older adults and individuals with special needs is to reduce the risks of them falling and hurting themselves. As individuals age, the ability to move the body quickly goes down tremendously. This can be due to many different reasons, but is typically due to inactivity and not practicing the art of moving quickly through space. As with all things fitness related, if you don’t use it, you will indeed lose it. Because of the reasons listed above, is why I try to incorporate at least a little bit of agility and quick movements into my balance training when I work with seniors. There are numerous ways to do this, but today we will talk about an exercise I like to use called “balance catches.”
One of the things I often do with exercises with individuals with varying special needs is to make the very scalable. This allows individuals, regardless of their current fitness level to be able to participate in the exercise with no issues. This rings true with this exercise as well.
To perform balance catches properly, you may do the following:
- Start with both of your feet hip width on the ground below your body.
- Slowly shift the weight of your body into your toes. This can be done by leaning forward with your head and chest slightly.
- Allow your body to lean forward as far as you comfortably want to go.
- Next, you will quickly put one of your feet out in front of you “catching” yourself from the fall.
- You will complete this exercise numerous times on one foot, making sure you repeat it on the other side as well.
One of the main reasons I like this exercise so much is because it actually mimics falling to some degree. I like to describe it as “falling in a controlled manner.” This exercise is great, because it teaches the individual how to shift the weight around in their body, and then quickly move their limbs to catch themselves from going forward. If you want an extra challenge, you can start on your toes, before leaning in for the fall. This will drastically increase the intensity, so I would highly recommend starting with the first version. As will all exercises, be careful and always err on the side of caution. If you are uncomfortable, you can always have someone watch you when you are first doing the exericse.
Good luck on your agility training, and keep on moving quick!
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