Balance and Systems

When we think about balance, the first thing that often comes to mind is seeing how long someone can stand on one foot without falling over. This, for the most part is accurate, this is a form of balance. However, balance is actually much more complex than just standing on one foot. When balancing, we have many different systems working together to maintain equilibrium. You have your visual system (eyes), your vestibular (inner ear) and your sensory motor (your limbs giving feedback). What can happen is that we become extremely dominant on a system, say your visual system for balance. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, having a good visual system is well… good. But if we want to optimize our balance and train all systems we need to find ways to stress each system individually to force adaption. For example, if we want to increase the sensory motor system, maybe we stand on an unstable surface. Maybe if we want to remove visual dominance, we shut our eyes. Maybe if we want to challenge our vestibular system, we tilt our head. Finding ways to challenge specific systems can help us optimize each system, creating adaptation and ultimately optimizing balance as a whole.