Do you walk into door jams, corners of walls, or other items around the room? Do you feel a little tipsy with your gait? These are all signs that your balance needs some tweaking.
I realized I had balance issues when my physiotherapist did an assessment on me. She had me close my eyes with one foot slightly off the floor and try to stay standing. Let’s just say, I didn’t last long.
Take your sight out and everything changes. All the dizzy feelings come to the forefront and balance falters.
The neuro-receptors traveling from your feet take longer than your eye-sight to tell the brain what your feet are doing. Once you take the visual stimulus out, it forces your brain to listen to the rest of your body. With the neuro-receptors delayed, and your brain working slower to process it, this can cause your balance to be greatly affected.
This can be a serious issue. Trips and falls are one of the top two reasons for concussions in adults. Regardless if your concussion was from a fall or not, you want to prevent opportunities for falls and concussions to occur in the future.
There are different types of exercises you can do at home to start building balance stamina. Here is a sample progression to work towards:
– Stand with your eyes open and one foot off of the floor, hands at your side
– Stand with your eyes closed and one foot off of the floor, hands at your side
– Stand in front of a wall. Put your hands up above your head like you’re Superman flying, but standing straight (arms shoulder width apart, palms facing each other). Start with your hands touching the wall. Lift one of your legs, close your eyes, and move your hands away from the wall. Hold this position for 10-30 seconds.
– Place a foam block, pillow, or something soft under your feet. Stand tall and lift one leg. Close your eyes.
– Place something soft under your feet. Try to stand tandem (one foot directly in front of the other – Heel to toe), close your eyes
– Stand straight. Lift one leg, slowly swing it back behind you. With the other leg holding balance, let the rest of your body lean forwards, arms in front of you.
– If you have a half Bosu ball, stand on that and try to balance. Once comfortable, try lifting one of your legs, then try it with your eyes closed.
Try these exercises with your strongest leg first. Then switch legs so that both legs and sides of your body are being received by the brain and strengthened. Make sure that you have someone with you as you advance to each step. You should never try this on your own if you are even the slightest bit unsure of your ability to do these exercises.
The stronger your balance gets, the more confidence you will have on your feet. Your brain will be more in tune with your body and its surroundings. Practice this for about five-ten minutes a day.