Have you ever dropped your cellphone in the toilet, or other (horrible) body of water? How about knocking over a glass of red wine while gesturing at the dinner table? Were you good at playing catch as a kid, or did the others make fun of the way you threw the ball?
These are all examples of hand-eye coordination. Even though coordination can be very important to your physical safety (not to mention your peace of mind) most exercise routines completely leave it out. This type of coordination can also help you stop your kid just before he pokes his eye out with a pencil, or catch your grandma when she falls.
Practicing hand-eye coordination wires your body for complex movement. It makes difficult things feel easier, so you can explore new possibilities in your favorite activities. It will probably make you look a whole lot more graceful while you’re at it!
You will be surprised that we are calling for many of these activities to be included in your workout. They might feel more like playtime. There’s a reason for that – coordination exercises help your nervous system create pathways from the brain to the body based on repetitive action. With your brain and nervous system lit up in tandem, you will feel like you are having a fun time!
Here are some examples of Hand-Eye Coordination Tests that you can add to your workout routine.
Yup, it’s just as you remember it. Team up with a partner and bump an inflated balloon back and forth. Use your hands, elbows, forehead, knees, feet, or any other part you can access. Make it more challenging by turning your back or moving farther apart.
Plain old juggling benefits you because of its repetition, and because it makes you aware of how off-beat you can be when you are flustered.
Start off with just two balls, throwing them up in the air slowly. When you feel ready, add a third. Pay attention when the extra ball makes you speed up too much and lose your rhythm.
Small Ball Toss
This one is like the balloon toss, except you will be playing a form of catch with a small ball. The small size of the ball requires you to have greater coordination. Try all the different variations you can think of, like turning, twisting, and throwing and catching over your shoulder or under your legs.
No, you don’t have to sing “Cinderella met a fella…” while you do it! The truth is, there are so many variations of how to jump rope that are excellent for hand/foot/implement coordination that it makes this one of the best exercises to include in your workout. Move beyond hopping to using one foot, crisscrossing, and running in place. Try to see if you can maintain rhythm and control as you get tired.
Hacky Sack is a sport that can be played individually or with a group of people. You kick the bag around with your feet, knees, or any part of the body, and can even learn cool tricks!
A few tips:
• Your skills will increase if you keep your feet low
• Stay relaxed while kicking
• Set goals for yourself, such as 30 kicks in a row
• After becoming proficient with your hacky sack, join a sack circle!
Targeting Through Rings
This is a form of target practice. Use your small ball and practice throwing it through a small hoop, ring, or cardboard cutout. Move closer or farther away or change your angle or position.
None of this has to be very physically demanding or a great test of your strength and flexibility. It can be within the range of what you can already do so you can concentrate less on its physical difficulty and more on having fun with the activity itself.
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