Improving your balance is possible at any age!
If you learn a few things about how balance work and you follow a few rules, you will be well on your way to improving your balance.
First things first,
Balance is the ability to control one’s centre of mass over their base of support.
Balance involved INPUT from your body and environment – and OUTPUT from your brain. These input and output messages are conducted by the Nervous System.
Balance involves 3 components and how they interact with each other.
- The Visual System (eyes)
- The Vestibular System in your ears
- Proprioception / sensory input
To TEST your ability to integrate these three system into your balance at any one time, clinicians use the CTSIB “Clinical Test for Sensory Integration of Balance” (super original).
I will Break the CTSIB down simply:
- can you sand on one foot with your eyes open?
- can you stand on one leg while rotating your head?
- can you stand on one foot with your eyes close?
- can you close you eyes and rotate your head?
Do each of these in order – whichever one you get stuck on, practice the heck out of it. Moreover, try to include it into your daily routine. For Example: if #3 challenges you – consider doing a set or 2 of any exercise in your workout with your eyes closed.
A Good Rule to Follow:
When training your balance – as with most things in life – follow the 80/20 principle
If you are doing a set of 10, only 2 of them should be difficult enough to challenge your balance.
That is right, only 2 reps.
But those 2 reps are important because the act of ‘re-balancing’ is the skill that you want to practice. It is this skill of re-balancing that is required when faced with loss of balance. However that skill can only really be trained by actually losing your balance, and then catching and re-centering yourself.
This bring into the conversation another important rule – the principle of Specificity. Your training should imitate as much as possible the movements you want to improve. Makes sense right?
The Next Step is Practice.
You must implement this stuff yourself if no one else is!