The Science Behind Balance
Balance is a complex issue that involves various multiple systems in our body: vision, hearing, touch, proprioception (the sense of where our body parts are in space), vestibular system (found in the inner ear), and more. It’s also affected by our level of fitness and the medications we may be taking.
Why Balance is Important
Balance is a key part of our physical safety, but it’s also an essential aspect of our health and self-esteem.
- Balance keeps us upright while walking or running. If we don’t have a good balance, this can make it harder for us to avoid falling over or getting hit by something during those activities.
- Balance helps protect us against injury when doing simple tasks like standing up, sitting down, or climbing stairs. It’s also helpful when doing more physically demanding tasks like lifting heavy objects or playing sports!
- Good balance helps us feel confident when we’re doing everyday tasks and makes us feel more secure in our body’s ability to maintain stability during movement.
- When we’re walking, our body needs to remain balanced so that all of our muscles are firing in the same direction. If one muscle is firing more than another, then our body won’t move as efficiently—and that means less energy will go into walking and more into falling over.
How to Improve Your Balance
Balance is a skill that can be improved by practice. To improve balance, it’s important that we pay attention to our body and think about how it moves through space and time. The ability to perform these movements with ease is vital to our overall health, and it’s something we can all work towards improving.
- Diet— Eating right is the first step toward improving our balance. We need to eat a diet that is high in fiber and low in salt and sugar. We also have to avoid eating too many processed foods because they have a lot of sodium and carbs in them.
- Get Enough Rest— Sleep is essential for our body’s recovery process. Melatonin supplements or meditation before bedtime helps to promote restful sleep.
- Stay active— Aging doesn’t mean we have to stop being active. In fact, getting outside and taking walks is one of the best ways to keep our body moving and keep stress levels down.
- Strengthen the core muscles by doing exercises such as crunches and planks every day.
- Focusing on stretching and flexibility exercises such as yoga or tai chi helps us perform everyday activities without feeling sore or restricted in any way.
- Exercising for at least 30 minutes daily helps us get the maximum benefits from it.
- Taking short breaks during workouts is important so that we don’t get tired too quickly and will ensure that we continue working out for longer periods of time without getting bored or sore.
- Get Periodic Ear Test— The organ for balance, called the vestibular system, is found in our ears. Infections and injuries can affect not only hearing but also our balance. Getting our ears checked periodically is one way we can improve our balance.
- Medications— Some medications affect our balance. But before deciding to stop taking them, we should consult with our doctor. On the other hand, if our doctor has prescribed medication for our balance, we should do our due diligence to take it regularly and as directed.
- Get the right shoes! Tapping into the right kind of footwear is important for anyone looking to improve their balance and physical fitness. Even if we’re fairly healthy, chances are good that our feet can still use some help.
Sometimes, our bodies can be a little out of whack, especially as we get older. We get more susceptible to injury, and we may need to work harder than younger people to maintain the same level of fitness.
Balance is a key component of physical fitness, and it’s one of the hardest things to improve. It requires a lot of practice—A LOT! And the older we get, the more we should be diligent in our practice. When we do, we not only improve our balance but also improve the quality of our lives.