As we get older, our ability to maintain good balance diminishes.
First you fear the chances of falling, then you experience discomfort in using a cane or walker, ultimately leading to an increased limitation of mobility. What most must realize is that your main limitation is yourself and your mind. If you think you cannot, well you are right, you cannot… But you opt to educate and learn avenues on how you can ultimately improve, you will do just that, IMPROVE!
The following post will serve as an informative resource for you to understand that balance, like many other things, is a skill that can be trained.
Before we dive into the specifics of how to train your balance, let us first discuss what balance really is:
When you first learned how to walk, your brain formed an integration of how to physically move about without falling over. This is broken down into three parts:
- 1Propriocetion: This component refers to the sensory organs of your body. These organs allow the body to understand where your joints are located in space by coordinating communication from your feet to your brain.
- 2Vestibular: The vestibular system consists of the organs located within your inner ear. These bodily structures permit the movements of your head with appropriate vision ensuring equilibrium as the head moves. When your vestibular is interrupted you will experience dizziness or twilight vision
- 3Visual:This portion is exactly what you are thinking, the eyes. They navigate us through the perception of distances, shapes and depth, all which are crucial for efficient balance.
Now that we reviewed what makes up balance, let’s discuss how to train those systems.
Standing on unstable surfaces will train your Proprioception system.
Accomplishing head rotations will train your Vestibular system.
Lastly, standing with your eyes closed trains the Visual System.
In order to fully activate complete balance training, combine these three movements into exercises. Challenge your abilities by standing on an unstable surface while rotating your head as your eyes are shut.
If you can accomplish this, then you have fully reactivated your balance abilities.
If you feel you need further help to improve, allow me to assist you through one-on-one physical therapy visits. Contact us today to schedule.
Board-Certified Orthopedic Specialist
Joseph received his Doctorate in Physical Therapy from New York Medical College and is also recognized as a Board-Certified Orthopedic Specialist. As a former competitive athlete and weightlifter, Joseph understands the specific needs and demands of the human body. Joseph’s goal is to maintain an active approach to rehab while facilitating recovery..