Have you ever wondered how you’re able to stand, bend, or dance?
Most of us can perform these actions without thought. But this seemingly simple ability is a complex feat of engineering. After all, we have so many moving parts. Why don’t we fall down? The answer lies in balance.
Balance refers to the ability to keep your body centred, and stable and upright when you move. The balancing act requires your brain, eyes, joints, muscles, and inner ear to work together. Constant fine tuning is needed to stop you from falling.
Imagine yourself walking. As one foot hits the ground, information is sent to your brain: what you see, hear, and the sensations you feel. Your body and brain must process everything quickly, because in a moment you’ll shift to your other foot. The data will need to be updated.
Good balance provides the freedom to function, exercise, and move; which enables you to be strong, agile, and energetic. You can remain independent, confident and fit − which also improves your mood.
The good news is that certain exercises can build muscles which help with balance. See below for two exercises; if they’re difficult, use a chair or wall for support. Never risk falling – if you’re concerned about your ability to balance, please see us for advice first.
Lay a straight length of wool or string on the ground. Raise your arms out to the side. Start at one end and walk, toe to heel, along the line. Aim for 15 to 20 paces.
Stand and raise one leg, shifting your body to find your balance. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side. When you feel confident, perform this exercise again with your standing knee bent.
Learn more about our Balance & Gait clinic here