“How’s your Balance?”
Welcome Back to our 3rd installment!
Last time, we learned our eyes do much more than give us sight. They provide our brain with extremely important information necessary for high quality movement.
Similarly, your ears do much more than just help you hear. The inner portion of them ( known as your vestibular system ) is responsible for sensing the movement of your head and body in space. They provide that information to the Major Movement Control Centers in your Brain and Spine so you can have what we all refer to as Balance.
Without going into too much detail, let’s simply say you have 3 canals inside each inner ear. (See Main Balance Control Center on REFLEX below)
Depending on whether you’re moving forwards/backwards, going upwards/downwards, leaning or rotating, some canals become more stimulated than others.
Your brain will receive the information from the corresponding canals and integrate it with the other information coming in from your eyes and all of the joints in your body.
If like me, you’re thinking that must be a lot of data to handle at every moment, you would be correct. Our brains do amazing things instantaneously that we usually never know about.
With this new understanding, let’s go through some key points –
Your Vestibular System:
- is the first brain system to develop in a fetus. Even before you’re born your brain is ready to experience gravity and orient itself accordingly.
- communicates with many brain areas. Maintaining good balance for your entire life is necessary for optimal brain function.
- has direct connection with the movements of your neck and the rest of your spine. Therefore, maintaining good balance is essential for healthy spine function.
- like most brain systems, is dependent on ongoing stimulus/usage to remain fully functional. Yet a poll of average adults reveals the majority report to no longer have ‘good balance.’ Could that mean they have less than ideal brain function as well?
Now let’s view some key points that effect how well our Vestibular System works.
- Balance is a skill. One that you spent a lot of time acquiring as a child. In fact, all the spinning, tumbling and playing you did was a major part of your overall Brain/Movement development.
- Like most skills, Balance is a – Use it or Lose it – proposition. Most adults I know are made queasy by the mere idea of spinning or tumbling around for a few minutes. Is it safe to say we haven’t been using it so we may have lost it?
- Your inner ears are sensitive and can become affected by; chronic sinus/ear infections, antibiotics, air travel, as well as previous head hits/injuries & whiplash, to name just a few.
Suggested Precision Daily Practices (PDP’s)
PDP #1 Tandem Stance Balance –
Select a Tandem Stance w/ (R) leg forward (L) back –
Test your ability to stand eyes closed for 15 sec’s –
Try (L) forward (R) back and compare –
Choose the more difficult side to work with.
Follow the video below for how to begin to improve your balance