Improving your agility and dexterity
Workouts and exercises aren’t only for enhancing endurance and strength. Through a proper set of workouts, you can also work on your agility and dexterity and these play a significant part for any sports or marathons you participate in.
And the benefits of improving agility and dexterity doesn’t end there – Improving agility is also tied to a number of cognitive enhancements such as better reaction times, improved mental focus, better hand-to-eye coordination as well as faster decision-making. When your body gets used to these exercises on a regular basis, you also improve muscle memory – a factor that greatly helps with instinctual actions as well.
Another great reason for you to improve your agility and dexterity is the reduced risks of injuries. Being nimble and agile greatly mitigates potential damages during accidents due to having better control over your body and enhanced coordination.
That being said, let’s take a look over some exercises that you can conveniently do and incorporate to your existing workout routines that will help you improve your agility and dexterity!
Bounce small agility balls to a partner or against a wall if you’re working out alone. Because the agility ball form will send the bounce in different directions, pick a safe place where you won’t collide with anything or anyone. Catch the ball with two hands first, then with your dominant hand solely, and finally with your non-dominant hand. Hand-eye coordination exercises improve cerebral stimulation, and chasing this tiny tool around is good for the heart and legs. I dare you not to smile while finishing this one!
Choose a way of moving through an agility ladder. For example, you could begin with a high-knee march forward through each box, then proceed to a lateral scissor if you’re more accomplished. To focus your upper body, proceed through the ladder with your hands while keeping a push-up position. Once you’ve mastered this technique, speed it up and recite the words to your favorite song, the alphabet, or the pledge of loyalty as you progress up the ladder. This technique may appear simple, but it will raise your heart rate and get your brain working.
Arrange seven cones in the pattern indicated. Choose an order for the letters M, N, I, T, and Y to be created with your pattern of traveling through the cones. Touch each cone that makes up the letter as you progress through each pattern at your own leisure. You can walk, skip, jog, sprint, or shuffle depending on your fitness level. Change the order of the letters and try again after you’ve completed each letter with your movement pattern. To increase the cardiovascular difficulty, face each letter in the same direction and space the cones more apart. If you’re working with a partner and enjoy a little friendly competition, time yourselves.
Set up five to ten hurdles in a row, parallel to each other, using either 6- or 12-inch hurdles (these can be cones, yoga blocks, or whatever you have on hand). Moving laterally, take a high step over the first hurdle and pause in a stork posture before returning to the starting position. Then proceed over the first two hurdles, halt, and return to the beginning. Continue until all five to ten hurdles have been cleared (1, 1, 2, 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 4, etc.). Count your hurdles aloud (ascending and decreasing numbers) and remember to pause on one leg before returning to the start. Also, remember to change directions. As you go, increase the speed of the hurdle steps and remove the stop.
Yoga and Pilates
These practices help improve flexibility, balance, and body awareness. Poses and exercises that challenge your balance and core strength can be particularly beneficial.
Stand facing a concrete (or otherwise stable) wall about 2 to 5 feet away, depending on the length of your arms, with a fairly sized medicine ball (a weight that is acceptable for your fitness level). Throw the medicine ball in a chest throw toward the wall while moving 10 to 20 feet laterally. As the medicine ball chest passes against the wall, reverse directions and travel laterally back to the beginning position. Make one chest pass after every sideways stride. Move fast in a shuffle and squat low to an athletic stance for increased difficulty. At the end, quickly shift direction and return to the starting position.
Keeping your feet from crossing as you concentrate on capturing an object increases cognitive activity and improves cardiovascular health.
Choose an order to contact them (e.g., yellow first, then blue) using two different colored balloons. Hit the balloons in the order you want while keeping them in the air, either alone or with a teammate. Perform one bodyweight squat in between each balloon contact to make it more difficult, and then hit the next balloon. If you’re feeling particularly energetic, try executing a burpee in between each balloon contact. Remember to strike the balloons in the same order and to keep them from touching the ground. This is a fun practice to do with your children or grandchildren; increase the quantity and color of balloons for more enjoyment.
Exercises like box jumps, squat jumps, and burpees improve explosive power, which is essential for quick movements and agility.