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Benefits of Balance

Balance often comes second to other forms of exercise, such as aerobic exercises (eg. walking) or strength exercises (eg. lifting weights).

Why bother?

Balance is important for:Balance

  • Healthy and efficient movement
  • Injury, pain and falls prevention
  • Optimising your posture
  • Independence
  • Milestones development in children

How good is your balance?

Examples of some reasons why your balance may need a physiotherapy assessment and therapy:

  • You fall (or nearly fall) frequently
  • You have suffered an injury or medical event (this could include
  • You (or your child) are not achieving developmental milestones (such as kicking/ jumping).
  • You or someone else has noticed changes in your walking or movement.
  • You or someone else has noticed changes in your posture or movement.
  • You are lacking confidence to do physical tasks you used to do.

 

Below are 3 ways to challenge and improve your balance.

If in doubt, seek guidance from a physiotherapist before challenging yourself.

  1. Change or reduce your ‘base of support’

‘Base of support’ is the space that you are occupying (such as your bottom on a seat, or your feet on the ground). Altering the size, space or surface you are standing, sitting or kneeling on, will challenge your ‘base of support’ and balance systems. Try these examples:

  • Stand, sit or kneel on something unstable: for example a soft cushion, foam mat, wobble board, or even just by taking your shoes off will create stability challenges.
  • Balance with your feet one in front of another like you are standing on a tight rope
  • Balance on one leg (single leg stance)

 

  1. Remove or ‘change’ your visual input

‘Visual input’ is what you can see. Removing vision (closing your eyes), or changing your vision (moving your gaze by turning or nodding your eyes and/or head) will challenge your vestibular system (inner ear) which plays a big role in maintaining balance.

Try to maintain your balance when sitting or standing while:

  • Move your eyes from side to side or up and down.
  • Turn your head from side to side, or nod up and down.
  • Close your eyes.

 

  1. Dynamic balance exercises

Being able to maintain your balance when not moving is static balance (eg. standing still). Being able to maintain your balance through movement is called dynamic balance (eg. hopping or walking along a tightrope). Both are important for efficient and safe movement.

Try to maintain your balance when sitting or standing while:

  • Moving your arms, legs or torso.
  • Having light or heavy weights in your arms or as ankle weights moving during balance.
  • Combining more complicated movements like ‘walking along an imaginary tightrope’.

Remember, safety first!

With any balance exercises, if in doubt, bored, stuck for ideas or unsure how to safely improve your balance seek guidance from a physiotherapist.

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