Do you need to do some crazy stunts to improve your balance? For most of us, balance means the ability to maintain stability (dynamic and static) on a stable surfaces. If you do Yoga, there are many asanas done on one leg, which demands good (mostly static) balance but you need balance anytime you get up and move.
Balance is an inseparable part of coordination. Coordination’s other part is motor control / movement technique.
In general, balance is not something that is practiced individually. It is always a part of the bigger picture and very closely related to strengthening those muscles that keep you upright.
The majority of balancing happens on hard surfaces, so most of the balance training should be done on hard surfaces. However, there is always room for some unstable surfaces like Bosu -balls etc. For young people, it is recommendable to add both with greater amounts(even as high as 50/50 ratio), but for adults who do not practice for example surfing, skateboarding, or some other sports that are done on unstable surfaces, the ratio is probably closer to 1/3 for unstable and 2/3 for stable. Before going for unstable, you can close your eyes and this way create new kind of envinronment where you cannot use visual stimuli. You can also add dynamic movement for static positions. If you like handstand practice, these are all very familiar things when practicing better balance on hands.
Two different kinds of reflexes are actively working and they are called Tilting and Rightning reflexes.
When balancing on hard surfaces, we use more Rightning Reflex and less Tilting Reflex, which is the reflex that is used when balancing on unstable surfaces. Naturally, these are both actively working nonstop without any delay, nor they require any conscious thinking. It’s all automatic, but with better movement skills you can optimize this.
Coordination can be divided into two main categories: Intra – and intermuscular coordination. Intramuscular coordination is the firing pattern of fibers within an individual muscle. Intermuscular coordination has to do with how muscles fire in coordination with other muscles.
- balance – the ability to maintain stability(static or dynamic)
- kinesthetic differentiation – the ability to adjust muscular tension and joint positions
- reaction – the ability to respond to visual and auditory stimuli
- spatial orientation – the ability to control the position in space
- sense of rhythm – the ability to match body movements to external rhythm
- synchronization of movements – the ability to coordinate unrelated movements
- movement adequacy – the ability to choose most suitable movement for the task
Challenge your balance daily
Most important thing with maintaining good balance is to challenge your nervous system daily, or at least multiple times a week. Use simple stuff like standing (and moving) on one leg. Try eyes closed. With Movement Stick you can create new kinds of challenges. For some people, using Movement Stick can also be for assistance.