It is unlikely that you spend most of your day thinking about your balance. Most people don’t sit around the dinner table with their families discussing how good their balance was today while walking around the office. It’s just not something that comes to mind.
Since balance isn’t a priority in our thoughts or conversations, most people also do not take the time to perform activities which can greatly improve balance. Why fix something that doesn’t seem to be broken, right?
Balance is a very important part of health. Unfortunately, it is also something that gradually worsens with age. The slow decline of balance with advancing age is problematic for many reasons. Falls, although the most common result of poor balance, are not the only area of health that suffers.
Practicing balancing activities, regardless of age can yield benefits you have probably never considered.
Good balance increases your energy.
Every movement takes energy. Standing, walking, and roller skating all require your body to use energy.
With good balance, muscles work in harmony with each other to control every movement like a well-rehearsed orchestra. Each muscle knows exactly what part to play and executes the performance flawlessly. This smooth coordination of muscular activity is essence of balance.
One of the signs of declining balance is when muscles no longer work well together. Unlike the concert of muscle activity that creates a smooth concert of movement, poor balance leads to uncoordinated muscle contractions which results in inefficiencies. Inefficient muscle contractions use excessive amounts of energy which make you fatigue quicker.
Developing good balance will increase the muscle coordination. This will significantly reduce the amount of energy needed to perform tasks.
Good balance helps to decrease fatigue, thus improving energy levels!
Good balance improves your posture.
Posture and balance are closely related. Poor posture results in problems with balance and problems with balance often result in poor posturing. This is due to physics. Don’t worry, you don’t have to dust off your old high school or college physics books.
Gravity keeps us grounded. It does this by applying a force to our center of mass (which typically lies near the hip joints). Our bodies use gravity to balance. With upright and healthy posturing, the relationship between gravity and our bodies is a good one.
However, when slight changes occur to our posture, the gravitational force adjusts to accommodate the shift in the center of mass that was created by the change in posture.
As your balance improves, your body will automatically strive for the best posture. Why? Simply put, achieving good posture makes it easier to have good balance because of the relationship between gravity and our bodies.
To improve you posture, work on your balance.
Good balance enhances your confidence.
Confidence with movement is critical to keeping you safe and healthy. Second guessing the ability to perform a task, whether it is stepping up onto a curb or walking across a high tight rope can result in disastrous consequences.
Many movements require balance. Walking requires the ability to stand on one foot long enough for the other foot to hit the ground. Stepping up onto a curb requires the ability to balance on one leg long enough pull the second leg onto the sidewalk.
If your balance is good, you are able to perform these activities without a second thought as there is little risk in you will not complete them.
However, when balance is compromised standing on one leg for a fraction during walking can cause anxiety and stepping up onto a curb may seem impossible.
Practicing good balance builds confidence and keeps you from second guessing the abilities of your body.
No matter your age or what shape you are in, striving for good balance should be at the top of your health priorities. Balance is much more than just keeping you upright. It is the key to moving well throughout your life.
Your physical therapist has many exercises and activities that can help you create better balance. Schedule an examination today to determine if you can benefit from balance training.