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Better Movement Series : Vestibular Health

When using a movement approach to vestibular health one must exercise caution. The majority of us will be fine, but there are people with conditions that would not benefit from this type of training. If you haven’t done anything like this before start slow, small and easy.

The Vestibular Labyrinth

  • the vestibular labyrinth partly consists of 3 semi circular canals
  • each canal detects a type of head motion, information from all 3 canals allow the brain to figure out direction of motion.

The 3 Semicircular Canals detect 3 motions :

  • up and down as in ‘yes’
  • side to side as in ‘no’
  • lateral tilts – like pouring water out of your ears

Practicing these 3 head motions is also great for neck mobility!

The Vestibular System plays a major role in Balance. However there are 2 other players in what makes up Human Balance; Vision and Proprioception. (Underlying all this is the efficiency of your nervous system to send and receive information, and your brain or spinal chords ability to interpret and react to that info. But this is outside the scope of this post.)

Here are some things to consider when using a movement approach to Vision and Proprioception

VISION – actions of the eyes and head

  • eyes focus on one spot with no movement
  • eyes focus on one spot but the head moves
  • eyes track moving spot without moving head
  • eyes and head track a moving spot

PROPRIOCEPTION

  • focus on ankles and hips and getting stability from the core
  • close your eyes while practicing to enhance the effect
  • practice ‘Re-Balancing’ – that is, almost falling over but catching yourself and bringing yourself back into balance. (shout out to Ido Portal)
  • practice at an 8 / 10 intensity – that is, if you do 10 reps only 2 reps should actually make you fall. 80% of your efforts should be successful, if not then what you are doing is too challenging!

My Top 3 Balance Drills

>>> 1/2 kneeling 3 way neck mobility

>>> Single Leg Standing Eye Tracking

>>> Eyes Close Toe touches : x 1 set heels elevated, x 1 set toes elevated.

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Body Awareness

Body Awareness involves Body Image as well as Proprioception.

Body Image,
is the picture of yourself you see in your head. The majority of people need to work on creating a healthier body image. It is unfortunate but we live in a society where ‘Image’ is important. I agree it is, but a “Healthy” body image is what we are after.

Proprioception,
is your physical body’s ability to feel. People often need work with this too, much of balance comes from your ability to ‘feel’ your centre of mass over your feet.

Improving these,
will enhance your life. Realize ‘You’ are your body & mind. Health in one carries benefits over to the other. Strengthening your proprioception and body image will lead only to a better You.

HOW?

  • Body Scan
    – scan your body head-toe, joint by joint – – just ‘feeling’ what state your body is in right now.
  • Visualization
    – imagine standing in front of a mirror, or imagine a specific body part. In your mind, You are in control – shape your image to reflect your goals.
  • Ideally Both Together!
    – imagining performing the movement while actually performing the movement …. very Meta!

This is an important topic, but very rarely talked about.

The truth is, with as little as 5 minutes of practice a day, you can make huge strides in improving your movement and your quality of life.

All it takes is actually doing that ‘practice’!!! = You must COMMIT to it.

There are just over 90 days left in this year, what are you going to do with them?