How’s your balance? Those slippery Winter-peg icy sidewalks, driveways, and parking lots can make it very challenging to stay on two feet!
Our ability to balance depends on many things. Think of uneven terrain like a hiking path or a street curb, or an unsteady or moving surface like travelling on a moving bus. It also matters if we are anticipating something that might knock us over, or if it takes us by surprise. Our body has not one, but three systems contributing to our ability to balance:
- Vision – we can see if we are falling! If our surroundings are all suddenly tilting or going in the same direction, it alerts us.
- Vestibular (inner ear) – complex structures deep in our ear canals detect changes like rotation, acceleration, head position, and our relationship to gravity.
- Proprioception (in muscles and joints) – our ability to know what position our bodies are in. Without looking, we know if our arm is up or down…or bent or straight.
Balance is like most skills: if we don’t use it…we lose it! As we get older it is very common for balance decrease. And so, falling is more common in elderly populations. But this does not have to be the case!
A physiotherapy balance assessment can identify areas that need practice. A personalized balance program takes only minutes out of your day, can help you use your balance…so you don’t lose your balance!!
If you want to improve your balance and minimize your risk of falls, talk to your physio!
Erin Blaine, MPT
Physiotherapist | Prairie Trail Physiotherapy