Training Your Balance: Tips and Techniques
Maintaining balance is a complex yet automatic process carried out by our body. We rely on various systems to keep us stable, and when one system falters, the others compensate to maintain equilibrium. You might not notice a decline in your balance until faced with a challenging situation.
Our bodies utilise three systems to maintain balance: vision, the inner ear, and proprioception—the ability to sense our joints, muscles, and tendons’ position and movement. Our eyes provide visual cues about our surroundings, while the inner ear aids in balance by detecting changes in head position. Concurrently, receptors in our joints, muscles, and tendons help us comprehend our body’s position and movements in space.
Poor balance can lead to falls, fractures, and severe injuries. Fortunately, you can typically enhance your balance with some practice. Here are a few easy tips tailored for the Australian lifestyle.
- Maintain good posture: Proper posture aligns your body, which is crucial for balance. Stand upright with your shoulders back and head raised. Avoid slouching or leaning to one side, as this can disrupt your balance.
- Practise standing on one leg: Balancing on one leg may seem simple, but it can be challenging if you’re unaccustomed to it. Begin near a wall or grasp a stable surface for support. Gradually attempt to stand on one leg without assistance. This exercise improves proprioception, which is your body’s ability to sense its position in space.
- Strengthen your core muscles: Core muscles in your abdomen, back, and hips stabilise your body and maintain your upright posture. Strengthening these muscles through exercises like planks, side planks, and bridges can boost your balance.
- Regularly challenge your balance: Identify your balance limitations and strive to improve them incrementally each day. Setting small goals can result in significant enhancements to your balance over time.
Consult your physiotherapist about designing a personalised programme to bolster your balance. As experts in the field, physiotherapists can evaluate the aspects of your balance that require improvement and suggest appropriate methods. They can assess and recommend exercises suitable for you, regardless of your fitness level or age.
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