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So we all have unusual, odd or downright crazy hobbies. I am not sure into which category mine pays into but one of my biggest passions in life is balancing! Being able to balance is one of those things that either stay completely useless for your entire life or help you win one of these sports game shows that are popping up on Channel 4 nowadays. At the moment it helps me tremendously with cheerleading and yoga and occasionally when walking home after a night out.
It is quite hard to improve your balance as there aren't many exercises that you can do and hardly any sports equipment. Apart from wobble boards obviously - and my wobble board soon turned into the new love of my life! Granted my housemates love it too as it provides endless hours of entertainment when it is my turn to cook dinner and I am wobbling my way through preparing some spaghetti bolognaise. Quick disclaimer here: only try this when you are very confident that you can stay up, never balance and cook when in doubt!
My Fitness Mad Wobble board was probably the best piece of home fitness equipment I ever bought. With 14 Pounds available at online retailers it is well worth the money and surprisingly high quality for not much money. Both the bottom and the surface are made from non-slip material. The actual bottom is fairly stable on carpets but it tends to move about when used on tiles. When I use it in the kitchen I usually put a towel underneath it to increase friction. The surface non-slip is a series of lumps that are incredibly annoying and painful when used bare food. I always wear sports shoes or at least slippers when balancing.
The theory behind wobble boards is that you balance on a small disk with both feet or only one doing a range of exercises or simply trying to stand still. Your body will do many micro movements trying to constantly adjust your balance. This improves stretch in your legs and core as well as making your ankles more sturdy. It is fairy straight forward to use but for the first few sessions I would recommend holding onto something or someone. The Fitness Mad Wobble Board comes with instructions detailing various exercises and you can adjust the difficulty as well. It is easy to clean and small enough to be stored away easily.
I struggle balancing with both feet on the board. I am always a bit paranoid about falling and don't trust myself to jump off the board quickly enough if I lose my balance. This is just me being silly though, it is perfectly safe and as long as you are not drunk you are not going to fall off the board. If you were to lose your balance it would just tip to the side and you could step off without problems. Anyway, my favourite exercise is while standing only on one leg. I think it is more effective and is also a great way of toning your legs. When I first started I could hardly manage 30 seconds balancing on each leg. After a couple of months of daily practice I am up to 5min per side. It feels like a proper workout so be prepared for some achy muscles.
I think the wobble board mainly tones your legs but it also builds up your core strength. Don't expect to get a flat tummy from it though. If you want to increase your balance even further try doing different stretches while on the board. Hold your leg up, tuck it in behind you or try a heel-stretch. It is a great way to improved balance and even my yoga teacher complimented me on my improved tree pose!
I love my wobble board and use it daily. Unfortunately I used it way too much during last years exam time and managed to pull my calf muscle. Normally I balance 5min on each side but on this day I decided to go for 10min. After 7min my leg was killing me and while stepping off I could literally feel my muscles almost ripping. Obviously completely my fault as it was a combination of not warming up properly (or at all in that case) and completely overdoing it. This is just meant as a small warning for everyone not thinking that the wobble board is a proper piece of sports equipment. It looks like heaps of fun but there is the danger of getting injured when not using it properly.
As you will see from previous reviews I have various items of fitness equipment around the house which I have bought, however one piece of equipment I acquired from a friend was the Fitness Mad Wobble Board, they did not get on with it and had originally bought it to help with an ankle injury but asked if I would like to give it ago, keen to try new things when it comes to fitness I decided to give it a go.
The Fitness Mad Wobble board comes already assembled inside the box, I am unsure exactly what the box looks as when I received the board it did not have the box with it. The board itself is basically a circular plastic disc which is mounted on a small stand which is adjustable, the surface of the disc (the area you stand on) is textured which is designed to help you get extra grip and to prevent the wobble board from slipping from under you, there is a small blue circle in the centre of the board with the Fitness Mad logo on it. There is a small circular stand on the underside of the disc this is adjusted by twisting it, this alters the difficulty level, the stand twists both clockwise and anticlockwise depending on whether you wish to have the board at a higher or lower setting. The board is about 40cm in diameter and works on angles between 19 and 23 degrees, this is altered by twist the stand or rocker on the bottom of the board, the more you screw the stand out the high the angle of the board meaning the greater the difficulty.
Benefits of the Wobble Board
There are many benefits of the Fitness Mad Wobble board which I have discusses below
PHYSICAL BENEFITS - Use of the wobble boards can benefits many areas of the body in a physical way including strengthening the ankles and knees as well as increasing core strength and stability, this can also help with sports injuries. By increasing the length of time on the wobble board can help to improve your endurance levels, this can also help to improve your performance during other sports activities.
MENTAL BENEFITS - Physical therapists have used wobble boards for years to help with developmentally delayed children. Sessions on a wobble board helps to force the left and right hand sides of the brain to communicates and work together in order to maintain balance when on the board, this helps to increase sensory integration as well as hand writing skills and reading skills by making all areas of the brain work together.
REHABILITATION - The wobble board has been used to help with ankle injuries during physiotherapy sessions and to strengths damaged and injured joints. Sessions on the wobble board can also help to prevent injuries by strengthening key areas that are prone to injury during sports activities.
There are many benefits of using a wobble board as part of your exercise regime, I also find that sessions on the wobble board, even just doing the simpler exercises helps with the muscle tone in my legs rather than having to use heavy weights up the gym which just seem to build the muscles up, a few minutes on the wobble board regularly can help to keep leg muscles toned. I have noticed a great improvement in my balance and co-ordination skills when on the wobble board, I definitely do not come off of it as much as I use to, it does get easier with practise.
Exercises You Can Do on the Wobble Board
Stand on the wobble board with your feet apart, rotate the board around in a circle so that the edge is continuously in contact with the floor, continue to do this for 2 to 3 minutes
Stand on the wobble board with your feet shoulder width apart, keep the board level so that the edges do not touch the floor at any time, again do this for 2 to 3 minutes.
Stand on the board with your feet shoulder width apart, rotate the board around in a circle without letting the edges touch the floor at any time.
Stand on the board with 1 leg and rock the board backwards and forwards and then side to side, repeat for a minute or 2 and the swap legs
Stand on the wobble board on one leg and rotate the board around in a circle for about a minuet and then repeat with the other leg.
There are other exercises that can e done on the wobble board, all of which are designed to help improve your core stability and balance, I also find that using the wobble board helps to improve the strength and muscle tone in my legs as well as core muscles which help with stability and co-ordination. All of these exercises can be made easier to more difficult depending on how far out you unscrew the rocker/ stand of the Fitness Mad Wobble board, personally I started off with the board at the smallest angle with the stand screwed in as far as it goes. once I feel comfortable with a exercise at a particular angle I increase the difficulty level by screwing the stand out a bit further thus increasing the angle of the board which makes it a little bit more unstable, this means you have to work even harder to keep the board steady and perform the exercise you are trying to do. If you want to make the exercises even more difficult try doing them with your eyes shut, I have tried this a couple of times but very unsuccessfully I usually end up over balancing, this is something that will take more practise.
As I said I got given my Fitness Mad Wobble board, but I have asked my friend how much she paid for it and where it came from, this one in particular cost £13.99 and came from Amazon, however they can be bought from other online sports shops as well as the Fitness Mad website, however I have noticed that they are more expensive from the official website and Amazon is the cheapest place I have seen them being sold. Personally I think that £13.99 is a fair price for the wobble board, however I do not think I would pay a lot more for it, although I do use the board on occasions, it is not something I use regularly enough to pay a lot of money for.
I would recommend the wobble board as it really does help with improving stability of the core muscles as well as the strengthening and toning of leg muscles, however I do not use it as much as some of my other fitness equipment. I think that the Fitness Mad Wobble board can be bought at reasonable prices (at Amazon) but you do need to look around, personally I would not pay a huge amount of money for it as I do not use it enough to justify spending out a lot of money on one (although mine was free) I definitely think it would be good for someone with a leg or ankle injury as it really would help to build the muscle strength in the injured area. They are very easy to use and the difficulty can be altered by simply twisting the rocker on the bottom of the board, it is also small enough to easily store which is a real benefit. Overall I would recommend the Fitness Mad Wobble Board, but I would shop around to find them at a reasonable price.
During a visit to a local car boot sale near closing time, we came across a rather odd looking bit of fitness kit in a battered looking box. It was something we looked at and laughed at, as it seemed a strange thing to be selling as a bit of fitness gear in the first place. However as the stall holder mistook our chuckles for interest and didn't want to take it home with them we bargained for it. The seller was keen to sell it to us at a knock down price, so we decided to purchase it in a flurry of giggles.
For anyone not familiar with these types of fitness items all I can say is that a wobble board is something you are meant to use to improve your core strength, balance and over all stability. Seeing as my balance is awful, my co-ordination is rubbish and my core strength is more like core weakness, I thought it was worth looking into using to see if would benefit me.
The Fitness Mad Wobble Board is a mad circular disc with an adjustable bit on the back that you can twist to alter the angle of the incline of the board. This can be anything from a 19 degree angle up to a 23 degree angle, which allows for a less steep or more pronounced angle to exercise and balance at. The fun thing (er not) is that you get to wrestle with your balance and struggle with your stability on a small or should I say nicely compact sized 40cm disc.
These so called angle adjustments may seem like nothing when reading about them and you may be thinking you could exercise on the wobble board at such an angle with your eyes closed. Well I have news for you in that you almost certainly can't do that unless you have the fitness and capabilities of a gymnast, or have used one of these before with a good deal of success.
I have found that using the Fitness Mad Wobble Board is an art form in itself, that try as I might I have had a number of problems with. Firstly I actually find that even with the lowest angle I cannot comfortably balance on the board for any length of time and carry out enough useful exercises without loosing grip and having balance issues. I have tried adjusting the rocker on the balance board and screwing it in to its tightest and therefore lowest angle, then tried to use a number of exercises with the board to my advantage with very little success.
I have found that whilst I can manage one or two light exercises whilst standing on the board, doing anything whilst kneeling or crouching is nigh on impossible for me. Not only does it cause me hassle when trying to return to a standing position, but crouching on and over the wobble board mostly ended with me losing all sense of balance and toppling off to one side, then needing a hand up. I find this very disappointing, but I do feel its as much down to my abilities as it is to the wacky nature of the product.
When I have used the Fitness Mad Wobble Board in a standing position whilst holding onto something for support (ie: a chair back, the wall etc) , I have found it more comfortable and easy to handle. I have found that the board can be used for a simple balancing and slight rocking movement when using it this way, which I hope is aiding my strength in the spinal area and toning my tum and perhaps even in time giving me a super duper J Lo toned......well you know what I mean.
Another thing I have found I am able to use the board for is when in a sitting position. I have found that when sat on a suitable chair at the right height I can place my bare feet onto the wobble board and use my leg muscles to rotate and move the board slightly so as to exercise my calf muscles and lower leg muscles. I recently twisted a calf muscle and found that this helped when used on and off in this way, although I was only able to do so for a few minutes at a time and even then only lightly and with great care, so as not to aggravate things.
The top of the wobble board does have a number of bobbly textured raised lumps on it, so although I have used it bare foot when in a seated position and not placing my weight on to the board fully, I wouldn't want to use it barefoot if standing on it as it may prove uncomfortable. On the whole I have had issues with the product and not been able to use it as much as I would have liked, but I have adapted it to my own needs as much as I can so that it can still provide some level of benefit.
As we bought this at a car boot sale we only paid £4 for it which was fair for what we received. Having checked prices since our purchase I am amazed at how much the product can and does sell for as I really don't think it is worth that kind of money. With prices ranging from £12.99 to £22.99 I feel that the lower figure is the maximum that I would have wanted to have paid for the Fitness Mad Wobble Board. As regards rating this I feel I can only give it 3 stars, as although it seems well made it hasn't worked as well as I thought it might.
Recently, my local store (that specialises in gym/fitness equipment) were having a clearance sale due to them going out of business. I thought I may as well go and take advantage, considering all stock was supposedly discounted at 70% off or less. When I finally got the chance to go down however, I was fairly disappointed when I realised all the good stuff had been scavenged. Not wanting to leave empty handed, I noticed a few items that took my fancy including the fitness-mad wobble board.
I'd owned a balance board a few years back, and got a lot of use out of it before it finally went bust. I bought one for just £7.50, which was a bargain considering they are currently selling on Amazon for £18.85 and significantly more also direct from the manufacturer's website.
I brought the wobble board home, eager to test it out. The box contained no instructions, or booklets demonstrating exercises and thought I realise the concept of the product is rather self-explanatory, for novices perhaps it would have been better to have included some. Nevertheless, the box includes some directions and exercise which are of some help at least.
The board measures 40cm wide in diameter and weighs 850 grams. It can be adjusted to suit a variety of abilities, with angles ranging from 19 to 23 degrees and the greater the angle, the greater the difficulty. The board is adjusted simply through screwing or unscrewing the 'rocker', of which is located underneath the base of the product.
The wobble board claims to, when used on a regular basis, improve balance, increase core strength and your range of movement. Also it supposedly improves proprioception through the various exercises wobble board offers, can help the body recover from injury. For this reason, it makes the wobble board ideal particularly for those seeking rehabilitation due to a recent leg/ankle that you may be recovering from.
I love the wobble board; it allows a range of exercise which steadily increase your strength and stability and at your own pace. I initially used the product twice daily, each for 10-15 minute intervals on the 19 degree angle setting, before gradually increasing to the 23 - of which I'm now, 3 months later, fairly comfortable using. Great product - highly recommended!