An important fitness factor that is often ignored in the gym, is improving motor sensory control.
This is a technical term used to describe your body’s ability to react to the three sensors it uses in maintaining balance. The body controls its position through the eyes, inner ear and muscle-nerve receptors called proprioceptors. As you age, your ability to balance decreases. This can be exacerbated by living a sedentary lifestyle where motor sensory control is not challenged on a regular basis (remember, if you don’t use it – you lose it).
Good motor sensory control not only helps avoid injuries, but it also helps you perform better at your sport (e.g. maintain balance whilst kicking a ball). Therefore, balance exercises are just as important to maintain overall physical fitness as any other exercises you may undertake.