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Balance and Accuracy
Welcome back for our final week on the ten general physical skills! Over the past several weeks we have touched on how eight of the physical skills are improved through CrossFit training. Throughout our discussion of endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, speed, power, coordination and agility, you may have noticed a common topic repeated frequently. “Aging” or “Getting Older” was discussed quite a bit. Why is that? Let’s face it, we aren’t getting any younger and everyone wants to “age” gracefully. All ten physical skills improve our quality of life and as we age we must focus more on building those skills to ensure that quality is up to par. The final two skills are no different, balance and accuracy, both begin to fade away the older we get.
Balance and accuracy are not often thought about unless they become issues for you or a loved one. Most likely you’ve known an elderly person that uses a walker, cane or even a wheelchair because they can’t place one foot in front of the other to walk without assistance or support. Balance refers to the body’s ability to control the placement of our body’s center of gravity in relation to its support base. (CrossFit.com) While accuracy refers to the ability to control that placement or movement in a given direction or at a given intensity. (CrossFit.com) These two skills allow us to place one foot in front of the other to walk or run, and not fall over. Taking a simple step requires you to balance your full body weight on one supporting leg, while accurately placing the opposite foot forward. On days we work unilaterally, such as single leg deadlifts, we’re working to improve not only our strength, but our balance as well. Every time you throw a medicine ball to the blue line on the wall or the target you are working on accuracy.
Are there other factors in life that can affect our balance and accuracy? Of course. Various things in life can affect these skills; such as our vestibular system (equilibrium), alcoholism and medication. All of these things can affect balance and accuracy, but proper training is imperative for the unknown and unknowable in life. If your functional fitness is maintained, then your risk for injury will drastically decline. Now do you understand why we refer to CrossFit as “functional fitness”? All of the physical skills build upon one another to create an athletic, able-bodied, functional human being. Let’s continue to train all of these skills so that we can truly enjoy our “golden years”.