Sunday, October 25, 2015

Practicing Balance - Literally!

Balance = Practice

In order to improve balance, we must practice it - like it's a skill set.  It is something we once had, now it is lost or compromised and we must FIGHT to regain it!

So, practice!  Practice each day standing on one foot and then the other.  Set a timer or count and try to hold the balance for a few seconds - increasing the length over time.

Hold on if you must (or use the touch-point balance technique described in the BALANCE tab).  Be safe - but push yourself to really hold the stance.  You will be working on both the neurological part of balance and the muscle part.  When the little muscles don't get used, they quickly atrophy.  Then, as you practice, they regain their strength (and you, your confidence).  

You can even kneel to practice balance - it's closer to the ground and a bit safer.  Kneel on a soft surface:  a rug or even a padded yoga mat.

If the force of gravity is too much and you can't stand on one foot, try just shifting a higher percentage of your weight to one side, and hold that.  This keeps both feet firmly on the ground and reduces the risk of a fall.

Finally, if even that is out of reach, get into a pool with chest deep water.  If you are not comfortable in the water, wear a life jacket or a water running belt to assure that you will float if you cannot maintain an upright position.  Practice the one-footed stance in the water.  If you fall, no bumps or bruises!  Gradually reduce the depth of the water over time as you progress.

I find that progress meets setback which cycles around again to progress...  It's not always a linear progression, but continuing to fight for balance will be worth the effort.  Pay offs = mobility, safety and hope!

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