It is often thought that our balance just naturally gets worse as we age, and for most people it does. The reason this occurs is not because we are just getting old, it is because we don’t train it. Like a lot of things in our bodies, if you don’t use, you lose it. Keep reading to see how our balance system works.
- Our vestibular system (Tells the brain where our head is in space and how it is moving)
- Our visual system (So we can see where we are)
- Our proprioceptive system (This is the information all of the joints and muscles send to the brain telling it where all of our parts are in space).
It makes sense that if our brain knows where all of our bits and pieces are accurately, our bodies will function better and our balance will be good. In order to balance well, all 3 of these parts need to be working well together. If you lose one of these parts, our balance will suffer.
Try this simple test
Stand in good posture with your feet together. See how easy it is to stand still. Now shut your eyes and see how much harder it is balance, you will most likely sway a little bit more (if you feel like you may fall make sure you open your eyes and stop). This occurs because you have lost one leg of your balance triad and suddenly you need to work much harder to maintain good balance.
A lot of people are visually dominant these days, usually because we don’t move our bodies enough so the third leg of the balance triad is reduced and we rely more heavily on vision.
The moral of the story here is to make sure you keep moving your body as much as possible, especially your feet. In the next blog post I will show how you can do this.