It’s a balancing act – balance. Balance involves so many different systems within the body including neural, skeletal, optical and muscular.
How does the body learn to balance?
Believe it or not, balance starts within the ear. The centre of balance is called the vestibular nerve and can be found in the inner ear. Within the inner ear, there are small canals filled with fluid and small hairs. As we turn our head or change direction the fluid in the ear moves the hairs in the inner ear. These hairs are attached to nerves which signals movement to the brain. This information is processed in the brain and sent to secondary organ systems in the bones, muscles, eyes and so on.
When there is excessive environmental movement that doesn’t reflect actual body movement this can cause nausea and dizziness. For example, Travel sickness, seasickness, on an aeroplane or theme park ride.
Changes in Balance
As we age our balance can become distorted or less effective. This can be due to a number of reasons, unbalanced muscle weakness, brain processing can be slower, reduced blood flow to the ears, and debris build up within the inner ear which can stimulate feelings of dizziness.
How to build balance into your everyday
- See a posture expert
- Make sure you perform exercises on both sides of your body
- Try not to favour a side of the body to carry heavy items
- Try a new activity that focuses on balance such as biking, yoga or Tai Chi
- Stretch multiple days a week or everyday if you can
- Try to shift your weight from one foot to the other.
- If you’re standing still for a long period of time, try heel raises
- Try exercise snacking on 1 minute sections of activities throughout the whole day
Balance exercises from home
The NHS has a number of balance-promoting activities that you can try from home.
- Stand with your feet together, knees slightly bent.
- Step sideways in a slow and controlled manner, moving one foot to the side first.
- Move the other to join it.
Avoid dropping your hips as you step. Perform 10 steps each way or step from one side of the room to the other
Heel to toe Walking
- Standing upright, place your right heel on the floor directly in front of your left toe.
- Then do the same with your left heel. Make sure you keep looking forward at all times. If necessary, put your fingers against a wall for stability.
Try to perform at least 5 steps. As you progress, move away from the wall.
One Leg Stand
- Start by standing facing the wall, with your arms outstretched and your fingertips touching the wall.
- Lift your left leg, keep your hips level and keep a slight bend in the opposite leg. Gently place your foot back on the floor.
Hold the lift for 5 to 10 seconds and perform 3 on each side.
Products for better balance
Vytaliving has a number of products to test and maintain your balance to keep you stable on your feet for as long as possible.
FITT Curve is an inflatable all-in-one fitness accessory with resistance bands that helps to train your core, legs, arms, shoulders and back all in one motion. The FITT Curve has an ingenious and ergonomic design and delivers a complete workout in a compact and easy-to-store fitness accessory. This is a thing of the past. The spherical base delivers just the right amount of instability to work your core to help maintain balance and strengthen muscles.
The Biofeedbac lumbros belt has been created for back support, lumbar pain relief, postural correction, and minimising muscular discomfort. Bad posture can lead to the spine being misaligned which causes the muscles, bones and tissue to work even harder to compensate for this spinal imbalance.
Thanks to the Gymstick, strength, cardio, flexibility and stability can be trained in one workout. Due to the compact design, a Gymstick weighs almost nothing, making it easy to do strength, resistance and balance training from the comfort of your own home.