BALANCE. SO MUCH MORE THEN STANDING ON 1 LEG.
Balance is the ability to control your body’s position, whether stationary or while moving.
"The ability to maintain the body’s center of mass over its base of support. A properly functioning balance system allows humans to see clearly while moving, identify orientation with respect to gravity, determine direction and speed of movement, and make automatic postural adjustments to maintain posture and stability in various conditions and activities".
Balance training helps reduce the risk of injury and bone breaks from falls; in particular with older adults, those with with low bone density such as Osteoporosis or those that may have lost one or more of their sensory inputs.
Balance seems to be one critical skill we tend to lose as we age. It can be because we simply stop moving or become fearful of moving for fear of injury or falling.
As the saying goes, if you don't practice something you will lose it. Balance is no different. Improving your balance can also help with performing your daily activities like standing on tiptoes to reach something on the top shelf, walking up and down the stairs, or walking on an uneven sidewalk without falling.
WHAT MAKES UP BALANCE
Some may be surprised to know that there are three components that make up balance;
Visual system (SEE)
Proprioceptive system (FEEL)
Vestibular system (HEAR)
The brain integrates and processes all the information from these 3 systems to help us maintain our balance or sense of equilibrium.
Current society the word 'unevenness' doesn't seem to be acceptable. We wear shoes that cover our first line of FEELING where we are in space, our feet. The pathways, floors etc we walk on are generally flat and with no real uneven ground. Humans evolved to walk, long distances to hunt, to climb. We had to navigate a myriad of different terrain that required our BALANCE senses.
In our Pilates sessions we practice balance ALL the time. Even if you're not aware that we are. Sessions always include moving the eyeballs and the head to challenge the vestibular system. Closing the eyes while standing to feel how the body reacts and where it is situated in space, or to feel where the limbs are moving in space. We use props such as the Oov (pictured above) that challenges our deep stabilizer systems. Also strengthening feet, yes feet. Learning to move from our centre.
Remember when you get up of an evening to go to the bathroom , it's usually dark, so you need to rely on FEEL and HEAR.
Practice some balance. It can be as little as standing up and rolling a tennis ball under 1 foot while closing your eyes. Or standing narrow based (wide if you are not yet confident) and moving your eyeballs to one side and then following that with your head.
References Pilates 44 Studio
Body Organics Australia - Chucking a Wobbly VEDA