If you're not as sure-footed as you'd like, balance training can help you feel a little more steady. A balance board makes training especially easy because you can work on your balance pretty much anywhere. The board works similarly to a see-saw: you stand with your feet on opposite sides and work to balance your body to avoid falling off or having the ends of the board touch the ground. Not only does a balance board help restore your equilibrium, improve your coordination, and increase your reaction speed, it also can help prevent injuries and boost your overall fitness since you need to engage your core muscles to maintain your balance.
If you're looking to improve your balance, our buying guide has all the tips you need to choose the best balance board for your training. Our top pick from Revolution features a slip-resistant, cushioned surface that's safe to use with or without shoes.
are flat boards with a fixed fulcrum underneath. They can only move side to side or back and forth, so they work well for beginners. You can find some curved rocker boards, which are more challenging to use.
sit atop an unfixed rolling cylinder-shaped wheel that moves along the bottom of the board. This design makes balancing yourself more challenging because it can move sideways as well as up and down.
have a round dome beneath the board that allows it to wobble in every direction. It can be an extremely challenging option for balance training, though its fulcrum is fixed, so it's not as hard to balance on as boards with unfixed fulcrums.
have a small rubber ball underneath that sits inside a ring to keep it from completely rolling away. It works similarly to a roller board, so it's an advanced option for balance training and not really suitable for beginners.
are attached to springs that are mounted on a base. The springs move the board around, so you have to work to maintain your balance when you stand on it.
When you're shopping for a balance board, keep your ability level in mind. Beginners and those with mobility issues should avoid roller and sphere balance boards, which are too difficult to use when you're just starting balance training. Instead, go with a rocker board until your balance improves and you're feeling more confident.
If you feel like you already have good balance and are physically fit, you want a board that's more of a challenge. A sphere or roller board is difficult enough to use that you stay interested in your training. For those who are beyond the beginner phase of balance training but not ready for sphere or roller boards, a wobble board can be a good intermediate option.
The majority of balance boards are made of plastic or wood. Plastic boards are lightweight, which makes them easier to move. They also don't cost as much as wooden models, but they don't offer the same durability and usually can't support as much weight.
Wood balance boards offer plenty of durability, but they are heavier, which makes them more difficult to move. You pay more for a wooden model, though they usually have a higher weight capacity.
The size of a balance board's platform can affect how challenging it is to use. If the platform is narrow, you have a more difficult time balancing yourself, which is why beginners do better with wider boards. Keep an eye on a board's maximum weight capacity, too. In general, larger boards can support more weight.
Some balance boards include features for more versatile training. You can find models outfitted with holes that allow you to attach resistance bands, so you can challenge yourself even further. You can also choose boards with a textured platform to improve your traction, as well as models that let you adjust the size of the platform or the board's overall tilt.
You can pay between $10 and $500 for a balance board. Plastic wobble boards usually go for $50 or less, while wood or plastic rocker boards range from $50 to $100. At the $100-plus point are incredibly durable wooden wobble boards, sphere boards, roller boards, and spring boards.
Q. How often should I use a balance board?
A. You can't really overdo balance training, so use it daily if you like. Your sessions don't need to be long -- 10 to 15 minutes is typically all the time you need.
Q. What kind of shoes should I wear on a balance board?
A. You can actually go barefoot on a balance board to help increase the strength in your feet and give you a better feel when you're trying to balance yourself. If you wear shoes, make sure they offer effective traction to avoid slipping and falling.
Our take: A solid balance board that can be used as part of a workout routine or physical therapy.
What we like: Offers extremely sturdy construction. Still lightweight enough to be easy to move. Features a slip-resistant platform. Lends itself to a wide array of exercises. Won't tip over during use.
What we dislike: Board is somewhat small.
Jennifer Blair is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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