Thursday, January 22, 2009

Keep Your Balance on Your Feet and In Your Life

Having good balance keeps you from falling down. And I'm not only talking about tripping and falling. Balance goes beyond your feet and relates to your life. A commitment to balance in all things helps with your life. Balance is all about movement, continually finding that sweet-spot between two extremes.

Here's an example: Imagine a teeter-totter or see-saw, the children's toy in many playgrounds. If one side is over-loaded the teeter-totter gets stuck on one side and movement stops. The eventual outcome of less movement for the human body is a sedentary life that can result in a wheelchair. 

Physical skills for balance: (Here are the 2 main skills most of us have.)
  • Feel for the ground: Sensing your foot you are aware of where the pressures of your weight is on your foot. The more foot you have on the ground, the more stable you are in most cases. Experiment with movement heel-to-toe and inner-to-outer side of your foot, especially when walking.
  • Vision: Most people rely on their vision for balance. When vision tilts the body corrects. Try closing your eyes and walking around (in a safe place) to see how much you rely on your vision.
  • Inner Ear: Not under our control.
Our goal is to use both visual skills and your feel for the ground. Here are some tips to improve your balance:
  • Walk backwards: Your feel for the ground is enhanced because you can't see where you're going.
  • Orthotics: The point of a foot orthotic is to increase your feel for the ground (not just cushion your foot). The exact 3-D matching contour between orthotic and foot helps you sense any movements and to make adjustments so that you keep your balance.