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Slacklining: Why Everyone Should Be Doing it!

What is slacklining?

Simply put slacklining is tightrope walking’s little brother! Slacklining was developed by climbers in Yosemite Valley, California in the late 1970s. When they were not climbing, they took flat nylon webbing and stretched it between two rocky anchors, and then learned to walk and balance on this webbing. In its purest form it is similar to tightrope walking, however the slackline webbing is flat and wider, and the line itself is not held taut – rather stretchy and dynamic. Slackline thus requires different muscles and training then tightrope walking. This slackness gives a degree of bounce and stretch, so crossing one is a little like walking on a (very narrow) trampoline. Unlike tightrope walking, most slackliners balance just a few feet off the ground – making it a perfect activity for the whole family.

Why should I slackline?

While it may look scary, slacklining is in fact the kind of activity that everyone can take part in! It also holds numerous health benefits. Just to name a few, you can improve your balance, straighten your posture, and even help to sharpen your focus.

What are these benefits?

  • It’s a full body workout! Balancing on a slackline requires the complete use of your body. You need to engage all of your muscles and your focus to stop you from falling off!
  • Slacklining is a great way to improve your balance. Walking on a slackline is different to any other activity that requires balance. The line moves and swings as the weight of your body shifts. You need an immense amount of balance to stand, let alone walk. Improved balance will help in all aspects of life.
  • Improves your core strength and in turn leads to better posture. Actively balancing strengthens your core. This constant core work leads to improved posture and stronger back muscles. A Scandinavian study published in 2011 found that after 10 sessions of slack line training, subjects improved posture, balance, and reflex control.
  • Sharpens focus – in order to effectively walk a slack line you need undivided and intense concentration. The tiniest deviation will most likely cause you to fall off. Regular practice will increase your attention span and will give you more control over your mind’s wandering thoughts. If you are attempting to improve your ability to focus, slacklining can definitely help you.
  • Injury prevention – in addition to boosting your balance, slacklining may also help prevent some common leg injuries. Balance and stability work have shown to improve the stability of the knee joint. It is also used for rehab and recovery following knee injuries such as ACL surgery.
  • Sport Specific Training – slacklining has a whole load of benefits that can be translated into most sports.
  • Beyond the scientific reasons, a great benefit of slacklining is that it is great fun! It is also a simple and portable device that can be set up anywhere in minutes and enjoyed by everyone!

 

What are you waiting for? Get out there and try it out! Here is a video to get you started!

 

Stephanie Contomichalos

Stephanie Contomichalos is a sports enthusiast. She is an avid crossfitter, wakeboarder and has recently qualified as a Level 1 CrossFit coach. She is also an advocate for women’s sport and for using sport as a tool for development. She is currently living in Athens, Greece.

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