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Balance & Proprioception

Balance:
The ability of the body to achieve a
state of equilibrium, equal weight
distribution.

Proprioception:
An awareness of the position of ones
body and its limbs in space
Balance
Balance can be improved through practise and training
the body to be able to balance on uneven surfaces.

Being able to maintain balance with minimal effort will


help conserve energy. This energy can then be used
for more explosive muscle contractions.

A good way to measure your balance is to stand on


one leg with arms across chest and eyes closed see
table below to see how good your balance is:
Time (sec) Rating
0-15 Poor
15-29 Good
30 Excellent

Compare both legs if you are able to balance for 30sec on both
legs add arm movements to test your balance further or
stand on an uneven surface.
Proprioception
Proprioception can be a difficult concept to grasp until you lose it, because
so much proprioception occurs subconsciously.
Your proprioception capabilities can be impaired when joints are injured,
such as with ligament sprains. When you lose proprioception of your joint
after a sprain, you may experience an unstable sensation of the joint. Your
joint may even give-out.
The most common symptom of reduced proprioception is poor balance. In
this respect, most people can understand the concept that poor balance can
be a result of poor proprioception. However, even your spinal posture has a
proprioception component telling you whether or not you are sitting or
standing upright. Good posture, for example, could be thought of as perfect
spinal balance!
Every injury has the potential to decrease your proprioception and
subsequently your balance. However, you can quickly improve both your
proprioception and balance with proprioception and balance exercises.
That's where your physiotherapist is an expert and can help you.
.continued
What are Proprioception / Balance Exercises?
Proprioceptive and balance exercises teach your body to control the position of a deficient or an
injured joint. A common example of a proprioceptive or balance exercise is the use of a balance or
wobble board after an ankle sprain.
The unpredictable movements of the balance board re-educates your body to quickly react to the
wobbly movements without having to think about these movements.
That is, your natural balance and proprioceptive reactions that we are attempting to retrain make the
transition from a conscious to a subconscious state. A quality subconscious proprioception and
balance system is important in everyday life and particularly in sport.
Elite athletes are not thinking about how to stay balanced as they pass or kick a ball. That all happens
automatically behind the scenes. The best athletes can then elevate their performance by focusing on
what they plan to do with the ball and performing that match winning skill rather than wasting their
mental power on just staying upright.

How Does Your Proprioception or Balance Improve?


Proprioception exercises are designed to improve your proprioception feedback circle.
In simple terms, your brain sends electrical contract or relax messages to your muscles. Your joint
movement response is detected by your sensory nervous system and reported back to your
brain for fine tuning and improvement with repetition of the process.