When we think of balance and coordination exercises, many of us automatically assume that such workouts are only for children, older adults, or disabled persons who need to learn or relearn motor skills to help them navigate the world around them easily and avoid falls. While there is truth in this, exercises for balance and coordination are important to everyone irregardless of age, health, or athletic prowess. In todays’ article, we are going to look further into the benefits of coordination exercises and outline some coordination exercises examples to help improve your hand-eye coordination among other things.
What Is Coordination?
Before answering the question “what are some examples of coordination exercises?”, what exactly is coordination?
According to Merriam Webster, coordination is the harmonious functioning of parts for effective results (1). In simpler terms this is the use of two or more body parts at the same time to complete a task. The most commonly known form of this harmonious function is hand-eye coordination which can be seen in example activities such as typing on a computer, throwing and catching a ball, playing video games, etc.
What Are The Benefits Of Doing Coordination Exercises?
All human beings start working on their coordination when they are babies through simple tasks such as trying to grab things, walking or even feeding themselves. However, once these things become ingrained into our subconscious that we don’t have to think of them, we no longer actively work on coordination or balance.
Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t overlook balance and coordination exercises:
- Can improve cognitive function – If you or someone around you has a hard time learning, thinking, reasoning, remembering, problem solving, decision making, or even paying attention for extended periods of time, then coordination exercises might be the right therapy for them.
According to an 8-week study published in the journal of Clinical Interventions in Aging, researchers found that doing coordination training helped improve coordination in older adults (3).
- Can improve sports performance – You may not think that it happens, but a lot of sports -especially those that involve a ball, rely on coordination. To improve on sports like tennis, baseball, volleyball or even hockey, hand eye coordination exercises should be a part of every athlete’s training program.
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A study published in 2010 revealed that tennis players who did these types of workouts noticed an improvement in their forehand and backhand tennis skills. On the other hand soccer players will find more benefits in doing foot-eye coordination exercises (4).
- Will make day-to-day tasks easier – We use coordination for all kinds of skills in our daily lives. From fine motor skills like writing to more complicated gross motor skills like walking, running and carrying groceries and even hand-eye coordination movements. Doing these exercises will make sure that you are able to do these tasks and more with ease.
- Improved posture, balance, and lower risk of falling – A comparative study published in 2001 in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation journal found that using Tai Chi as a coordination exercise helped not only improve posture in the elderly but it also lowered their risk of falling over (2).
Other benefits on doing exercises for balance and coordination include:
- Building more muscle – This helps improve body confidence and also helps burn more calories which could lead to weight loss.
- Increased energy levels – Like other workouts, coordination exercises will build your endurance which makes it easier to do daily tasks. That aside, exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently – a stronger heart and lungs leads to more energy.
- Improved agility and flexibility – You are able to move your body and muscles easily, faster and more smoothly in whichever direction you choose.
- Happy hormones – Physical activity is said to help bump up the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. Endorphins are said to help relieve pain, reduce stress and improve your sense of well-being.
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What Are Some Coordination Exercises?
Here are some exercises that will help improve your coordination and motor skills:
- Jumping rope – Not only is this a great cardio workout that helps burn a large number of calories in a short time and also improves the health of your heart and lungs but it also helps improve the coordination between your eyes, feet and hands.
- Tossing a balloon – This is a game that many of us played when we were younger. As a grown up, you can use this fun childhood game to improve your coordination, especially hand-eye coordination. Pro tip – be sure to keep changing the angles and speeds to keep it unpredictable.
- Walking lunges – Used mostly as a lower body exercise for toned thighs and glutes, walking lunges are also a fantastic exercise to not only improve your coordination but also your balance and stability.
- Single leg deadlift – Can be done with either your body weight, kettlebells or dumbbells. Standing up on one leg with the other pushed behind you as you lift weights works on both coordination (having to carry the weights up and down as you bend over) and balance (remaining steady on one leg).
- Juggling – This is perhaps one of the best hand-eye coordination exercises out there. Juggling multiple balls at one forces you to find pacing and coordination between your eyes, hands, and the balls. It also makes for a great party trick.
Read More: Easy At Home Exercises For Elderly To Stay Healthy And Active
- Ball tossing – A faster version of balloon tossing. Using a small ball, toss it back and forth between yourself and a partner. If you are alone, toss the ball on the wall and try catching it once it bounces back to you.
- Dart throwing – Played mostly in pubs, this is a great target game that improves hand-eye coordination through aiming and throwing.
- Dribbling – If you have ever stepped foot in a basketball court then you know all about dribbling. Like basic ball or balloon tossing, this is a great example of hand-eye exercises. Dribble at different angles and speeds to challenge yourself. This activity can also be used as a balance exercise by passing the ball in between your legs – just be careful not to fall over or hit your face with the ball
- Yoga – This is the perfect balance and coordination exercise that can be done by anyone regardless of age or level of physical fitness as it can be both low and high impact workout. Holding even the simplest poses requires balance and coordination.
- Tai Chi – As previously mentioned, this low impact workout is great for improving balance in the elderly. It also works the same for younger people.
- Pilates – Like yoga and tai chi, pilates call for a lot of controlled movement, not only with your body, but also your breaths.
The Bottom Line
Coordination exercises should not be ignored. While their benefits may not be as easily seen as something like cardio or lifting weights, they are still essential to every workout routine. Not only does doing them actually help your performance of your other beloved/preferred workouts, but their benefits exceed the four walls of the gym and spill over into real life, making everyday activities that much easier.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Coordination (2022, merriam-webster.com)
- Coordination exercise and postural stability in elderly people: Effect of Tai Chi Chuan (2001, archives-pmr.org)
- Effectiveness of coordination exercise in improving cognitive function in older adults: a prospective study (2011, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- The effect of a coordination training program on the development of tennis service technique (2010, researchgate.net)