This month, I am going to focus on Balance and your feet. I am going to explain what balance is, why balance is important, I will show you some simple tips on how to test your balance, how you can start to improve your balance and how you can get your feet working and feeling better.
You might ask, what has my feet got to do with balance? Well the answer is, possibly a lot.
In order to understand why this is the case, you need to understand how our balance system works. So let’s do that.
Our balance system is composed of 3 parts.:
- Sensory information coming from the joints and muscles of our body
- Information coming from our eyes (vision)
- Our inner ear or vestibular system
What is this sensory information coming from our bodies?
In order to have good balance our brains need to know where we are in space. It makes sense that if our brain doesn’t know exactly where all our bits and pieces are, it is not going to be able to control it as well as it could do and hence our balance will suffer.
This sensory information that I am talking about is called Proprioception. It is our joint position sense.
The better this is, the better our balance will be.
Our spines and surrounding muscles have the highest amount of receptors sending this proprioceptive information to the brain in the body (this is one of the ways chiropractic care can be effective - I will talk about this later in the month) the second highest concentration is in the ankles. This is why we need to look after your feet and this is why I am going to be talking about it this month.
Movement – the simplest way to increase proprioception
Moving your joints and muscles is the best way to increase proprioception (again, this is how chiropractic care can be effective). In an increasingly sedentary world we need to move our bodies more than ever.
When it comes to our feet we tend to not move them as much as we should. Why is this you may ask? Well we tend to keep them locked up in stiff shoes a lot, this limits the natural movement of the joints of our feet. When we take our shoes off, we tend to walk on flat hard surfaces most of the time, again this limits the natural movement of the feet. The answer to this problem is simple, move your body and feet more.
Over the next few weeks I am going to show you some simple ways to test your balance, some approaches to improving balance, some simple ways to loosen up the muscles and joints of your feet and also how chiropractic care fits into the picture. Hopefully you will follow along, show your feet some love, practice some of the balance drills or even come in for a chiropractic assessment if you try the tests and realize your balance is not as good as it could be. I know that if you try a few of these things, your body will thank you for it.
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