Posted: December 9, 2013 at 6:47 pm

By: Wesley Uhler, Jessica Guay, Abu Daud Isa

Growing Sport Improves Mind and Body

Walking, jumping, and performing tricks on a line of nylon webbing anchored between two trees is the daring and growing sport called slacklining. The dynamic nature of the slackline creates a highly effective workout that keeps “slackers” mentally stimulated and physically challenged.

Some slackers slackline for meditative purposes, to calm their minds and eliminate stress and tension. It is believed to help with psychological barriers and create a feeling of freedom.

“Slacklining helps me mentally because it gives me a way of clearing my mind and forgetting everything else,” said Stephen Khoo, a student at West Virginia University, who helped start the new slackline club at the university. “It gives me the time to relax and just focus on slacklining and not worry about anything else.”

Slacklining can improve balance, posture, concentration, core strength, and flexibility. Some medical professionals say it helps a person’s ability to improve co-ordination and proprioception. Proprioception makes the body less prone to injuries and helps a person sense and identify direction of moment.

“Slacklining works muscles in my body I have never used before,” Khoo said. “I would say I am somewhat physically fit, but even after slacklining, I feel sore. It really works on my core muscles.”

Slacklining on a daily basis will strengthen the spine, back and stomach. The stomach muscles and all aspects of the core are engaged, along with postural, leg and feet muscles. A slacker must maintain balance and precision, which works almost every muscle in the body.

The term “slackline” refers to its most important feature, when mounting the line it will give under your weight causing a certain sag and make balancing a very dynamic activity, allowing slackers to do tricks and stunts on the line. Slacklining appears to be similar to tightrope walking but the rope is stretchy and bouncy like a long and narrow trampoline.

It has become more popular over the years because of its versatility and its ability to be practiced in many environments. The most recent development is the integration of slacklining into Physical Therapy and Physical Education in schools and universities such as Cornell, where an introduction to slacklining course is offered to students.