Our body’s balance is quite easily the most overlooked aspect of health. It is vital for movement and preventing injuries. In a fast paced world filled with chaos, balance provides us with ease of movement, confidence and control over our bodies.
As with most good things in life, good balance is a skill that doesn’t come easy. Dedicated, consistent work needs to go into developing a good balance. It doesn’t last forever either. The old adage ‘use it or lose it’ holds just as true for balance. It is no coincidence that the frequency of falls increases in the elderly population.
This makes balance exercises increasingly important for us as we age. Read on to understand the importance of balance and how to improve yours!
The relationship Between the Core and Balance:
Three systems help the body maintain its balance- the vestibular system, the visual system, and the proprioceptive system. These systems work in sync to ensure body equilibrium.
The vestibular system relies on the movement of fluid in the ear canals. Unequal distribution or activity of fluid in the ear canal can lead to dizziness and disorientation.
The visual system depends on the signal input from the eyes. Along with the vestibular system, the optical system can help offset sudden changes in posture and balance. The lack of vision can be compensated by the other two systems.
The proprioceptive system relies on cues of spatial awareness from the core muscles. Of the three systems, the proprioceptive system is the most easily trained with balance exercises and physiotherapy.
The core is much more than just the abs. It consists of several groups of muscles that help to stabilize the spine as you move. It also helps connect the arms to the legs allowing the body to move in any direction or stand stationary without falling over. A weak core can impede routine movements such as walking, bending, and turning, let alone more athletic activities.
How physiotherapy can help:
Body balance needs consistent work so that whether it is a walk in the park or a 5K run, you remain in control and can move confidently and smoothly. Physiotherapy and balance exercises can help improve balance, mobility and considerably reduce the risk of falling.
A physiotherapy assessment can help determine imbalances and areas to focus on. This assessment involves checking the balance on a variety of surfaces and in varying body postures. A more detailed evaluation will involve removing visual cues and relying solely on the core for balance.
A dedicated balance exercise program then effectively targets these weak areas.
Exercises to improve balance are very easy to do, require little equipment, and are performed in a few minutes. They can be as simple as taking 15 steps on a piece of string or trying to stand on one leg for 30 seconds.
Simple movement patterns such as walking, biking, and climbing stairs can improve lower body stability and overall balance. Similarly, light stretching can loosen tight muscles, which affect posture and balance. Simple yoga exercises can also challenge and build static and dynamic balance.
Everyone can benefit from balance exercises and they are especially instrumental for those recovering from any form of injury or surgery. The senior population and those diagnosed with neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s can also benefit tremendously.
What’s the Next Step You can Take?
Treadwell is a state-of-the-art medical care center with trained professionals that can help you improve your balance so you can take control of your movements and your life. Call (289) 337-1657 or visit our contact page to book an appointment today.