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Having balance in everyday life is important, whether it is to prevent falls, improve sports performance, or stabilize after an injury. For this important everyday task, the balance foam pad is one of the best and least expensive ways to work on balance in your life. It can be used at home, taken to the gym, and shared amongst family and friends.
Balance is such a complex process that we often take for granted until we realize how bad it is, usually after a fall or a inabilty to do something we used to be able to. See how a foam balance pad can help challange all the different parts of our balance systems.
The Truth About Balance
Balance is a “use it or lose it” technique. The more we challenge our balance, the better it becomes. As we age, we become more sedentary and our balance begins to decline. It is the same after an injury, we become immobile while we heal and therefore our balance begins to reduce. Multiple studies have found that poor balance is related to ankle injuries and is recommended for rehabilitation post ACL reconstruction. It doesn’t take long or much effort to practice balance and there is no fancy or expensive equipment needed.
What is Balance
Balance is our ability to keep our center of mass within the base of support and keeping our weight upright without falling. It is a complicated set of systems that keep us upright, allows us to run, and to jump without our head toppling over. Our balance is kept in check by 3 different sensory systems:
Our eyes help us see what is in front of us and helps us anticipate our body movements and position. As we age, we tend to rely more on our vision for balance correction. This can be a problem in low light which declines eye and visual status.
Proprioception is how our muscles and joints tell our body where we are in the world. Little sensory receptors within the tissue respond to stretch, tension, and position to help us know where our limbs and body is at any one time. If you slip on ice, your body senses the change in tension and position before your brain can process it and are already trying to prevent you from falling.
The Vestibular system is a balance system that lives in the inner ear. It is made up of semicircular canals that detect rotational movement in many different directions. This system helps us change positions such as sitting to lying down or spinning and twisting. It can also be a pain when dealing with issues such as in Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo.
How a Foam Pad can Help Improve Balance
Standing on a foam pad allows us to challenge all of our balance systems at once. An unstable foam surface confuses bones and joint receptors and challenges that system to improve. By adding in simple head turns or closing your eyes, we can challenge the vestibular and the visual aspect of balance. The more we stress the different systems of balance, the better our balance will be and the easier it is to catch ourselves from falling.
The Best Foam Balance Pads
Prosource Fit Foam Balance Pad
The Prosource Fit Exercise foam pad is a 15. 5”L x 12. 5”W x 2. 5”H, non-slip foam pad that comes in a variety of 3 different colors such as blue, black, and purple and has a 4.8-star rating. The environmentally friendly TPE material is sweat proof and slip-resistant. The large size allows for multiple activities such as yoga, sitting, and exercising with complete comfortability. This product can be found on Amazon.
Pros: The product is really firm and stable and the thickness provides cushy comfort. The non-slip texture prevents slipping and the Prosource Fit Exercise Foam Pad is easy to clean.
Cons: A bit too firm for a chair cushion and some have complained of a chemical odor after opening.
Airex Elite Foam Balance Pad
The Airex Elite Balance Pad is a lightweight, non-slip, versatile foam pad that can be used for any workout. The Airex balance pad lives up to its name elite, as it is a leading foam pad. The transverse ribbing pattern is molded into the pad to resist tearing and to give the pad enough flexibility for carrying and storing easily. This pad has a 4.9-star rating and can be found on Amazon.
Pros: The higher price is worth the quality of the product. It is dense and long-lasting. It has the perfect amount of thickness at 2 ½ inches thick and is easy to clean. It is also used and recommended by physical therapists.
Cons: It is a bit more expensive than other pads.
Yes4All Foam Balance Pad
The Yes4all Exercise Foam Pad uses high quality closed cell sweatproof foam made of EVA material. It comes in two sizes, large and extra-large. An as an extra option, you can purchase the large that comes with a set of 5 loop bands. The Yes4All Exercise Foam Pad can be found on Amazon and has a 4.7 overall star rating.
Pros: It is a great product that does not cost a fortune. This pad is helpful for those with arthritis in the knees and is not as firm as other foam pads. It is great for all levels of fitness.
Cons: After 6 months of daily use, the foam pads have complaints of flattening out.
Pete’s Choice Foam Balance Pad
The Pete’s Choice foam pad comes in two sizes, large and extra-large. This product also comes with a free stretching strap and ebook. Pete’s Choice foam balance pad has been designed in collaboration with fitness experts and has a 4.7-star rating and can be found on Amazon.
Pros: It comes with an extra strap and ebook. This product is versatile and durable. Easier and safer to use than a wobble or balance board.
Cons: Some have had trouble acquiring the ebook and the pad can be a bit too firm.
Pete’s Choice Foam Balance Pad
The Clever Yoga Balance Pad comes in sizes large and extra-large. It is made from non-toxic TPE, and is non-slip and waterproof. This product has a 4.8-star rating and can be found on Amazon.
Pros: This product has great support and is durable even though it has cheaper pricing. Works just as advertisement states, and is easy to use, store, and care for.
Cons: Very firm and complaints of tearing after frequent use.
As we have learned from above, balance is important and can be corrected with simple movements and uses of the foam pad. Whether you are trying to heal an injury, exercise, provide padding for seating, or correct balance, these foam balance pads are a great way to get started on your healing and fitness!
Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is for educational purposes only. This is not a substitute for a medical appointment. Please refer to your physician before starting any exercise program.