Balance is something we all take for granted, and most of us forget about the importance of training and improving our balance – not just for now but also for the future. Good balance requires a well functioning core, good posture, good proprioceptive skills and good neuromuscular control so we can correctly turn on the right muscles.
Without good balance; tasks like bending, reaching and even walking can be difficult. It is also interesting to note how dependent people are on vision to aid them with balance – once someone closes their eyes they have all sorts of trouble maintaining their balance. Go on try it, try standing on one leg with your eyes open, and then close your eyes and see how long you can remain on one foot for.
Let’s look more at some of the elements that make up your ability to balance.
The core muscles: The core is made of the abdominal muscles (TVA, internal and external obliques and rectus abdominis) as well as the pelvic floor and the diaphragm. A well functioning core’s role is to integrate and stabilise the pelvis and the ribcage – if you cannot utilise your core properly your will not be able to properly stabilise your pelvis, ribcage, spine or even shoulders leaving you with unstable joints and vulnerable to injury.
Good posture: when your body’s in good posture your joints are in ideal alignment. Bad posture like having rounded shoulders means that your centre of gravity changes making it more challenging for you to stabilise joints which will make it harder to balance and also teach you faulty movement patterns.
Proprioception: our body has thousands of propioceptors. They are like nerves that feed information back to the brain. Balance training is in actual fact training these proprioceptors – if you stand on one foot you can feel them in your feet. They tell your brain where your body is at and where you centre of gravity is.
Good neuromuscular control: being able to turn on the right muscles is important. Our muscles are not always prime movers sometimes they need to stabilise joints.
In part 2 of Balance training I want to show you some exercises to help you improve you balance.