Balance is at the very core of just about every activity we do, be it walking, standing, running or dancing, yet very few of us actually work at improving it. What a terrible shame! Numerous scientific studies have pointed to the benefits of balance training for everything from injury prevention to rehab and athletic training.
Here we've compiled a list of slacklining benefits based on the latest research, our own observations and feedback from users.
1. Corrects Bad Posture
Bad posture is, well, bad for you... Not only is it the culprit behind most back and neck pain, but a host of other negative health consequences as well. Slacklining, it turns out, can actually help with bad posture. A recent study found that slacklining can actually improve posture by increasing your postural control. Excellent!
2. Brain Gains - Enhances Focus, Concentration, Memory & Learning
Something interesting happens when you step on a slackline ... it start shaking! If you don't concentrate on what you're doing, you'll fall. It's as simple as that. It takes an immense amount of eye-foot coordination to "walk the line." The concentration and movements required when slacklining have actually been shown to do something awesome to your brain - improve it.
In fact, this study found a correlation between slacklining and enhancements in the part of the brain associated with memory and learning. So the next time you're on a slackline, think of it as both body AND brain exercise.
3. Increases Core & Lower Body Strength
For those of us who hate the weight room, but want to improve our strength, slacklining is a great way to activate core and lower body muscle development. It may not be obvious, but slacklining requires intense engagement of your core and lower body muscles, and is a fun alternative to sit-ups and squats (but be warned, you'll be all kinds of sore after your first couple of slackline sessions...). One study out of Australia found slacklining boosts muscle strength in your quads, gluteals and core.
4. Avoid Injury
Poor balance leads to an increased risk of injury. It's as simple as that. Your risk only increases if you have poor balance and you live an active lifestyle or play sports. In fact, one study found that basketball players with poor balance are 7 times more likely to injure their ankles than players with good balance. Other studies have found slacklining enhances functional knee joint stability. This is why many athletes are turning to slackline balance training not only to improve their performance, but also to help prevent injury.
5. Get Better at Your Favorite Sport
Slacklining improves balance like no other fitness workout, and that improved balance can translate into improved performance for just about any sport. Surfers and rock climbers have used slacklines for years to improve their balance, but we've also heard of world-record speed skiers, track and field athletes, and endurance runners using slacklines as part of their training regimens.
6. Improves Your Lifespan (especially women)
We're not just being dramatic here. According to this study, 21% of seniors over 60 die within 12 months of a hip fracture, with senior women accounting for 70% of hip fractures because of their lower bone density. One of the best ways to prevent a hip-breaking fall? Good balance.
The good news here is that slackline training is shown to improve balance in both seniors and Parkinson's patients. Now, if you've not yet hit the golden age of 50, consider that slacklining when you're younger can have a lasting positive effect on your balance.
7. Rehab from Injury
Slacklines are being used by physiotherapists, chiropractors and sports physicians as a novel and effective method for rehabbing injuries. Why? Because walking a slackline forces you to use muscles all over your body (even ones you've never heard of), and initiates something called a neuromuscular response, or a connection between mind and body. We'll be honest, we don't completely understand the science behind slacklining and rehab, so we'd encourage you to take a look at this study showing how it works (including an example rehab slackline regimen).