Balance & Your Ballast

Falling down when you are a kid is simply part of the day. As you get older, even in college, taking a biff may even win you brownie points with your friends on campus or at work. You laugh it off and move on, hopefully with some honor-winning but quick-healing superficial wounds.

Falling down later in life is a potential game changer. A bone break or joint mis-alignment can wreak monumental havoc on your ability to get through even the simplest of life's movements. The CDC reports that one of three adults over 65 falls each year, and that the medical cost from falls - $30 Billion in 2010 - could double in coming years as the US population ages.

For those of us who rely on our fit and sprite bodies, both to enjoy life and take care of parents and kids, falling down might cause even more dire circumstances. We heal, but the process can take more time than we have and can cost more than we want to spend. It pays to protect yourself, so we have three excellent ways to help shore up those stability muscles. Starting with the first, protecting your body's ballast - the head - you can ward off falls, or at least, the consequences of a fall. 

Every Body Needs a Ballast
You've got to marvel at the human body! As a product of design, it has some flaws but in so many ways, we humans are perfectly suited to a rich life of action and achievement. Being able to stay upright on your two feet is a vital component in the quality of this rich life, and balance starts with your head. Humans are the only biped animal without a rudder-like tail, so our heavy head serves as the directional anchor for your upright existence. 

Two Ways to Make the Most of the Ballast
Proper posture is the first critical element! Your head is meant to sit atop your neck in between your shoulders. Unfortunately, many people extend the head forward as a function of life's dependency on driving and technological devices. It's a relatively subtle adjustment, but a forward head places strain on your neck, jaw, and shoulders. Practice getting your head back. If you sit at a desk, force yourself to look up (better yet, get up). 

The second way that you can help your head be a better ballast is to develop your inner ear equilibrium. One of our regular exercises is a great activator of your inner ear equilibrium. The lighthouse forces you to de-stabilize your body by staggering your foot placement. By then turning your head, you discombobulate your inner ear equilibrium (click here for full explanation).

Single Leg Exercises for Balance and Stability
The final tip that we offer you this week is to do as much work as you can on your legs individually. By exercising one leg at a time, single leg stands, extensions, jumping, etc, you prevent imbalances from festering. Each human body has a strong side and a weak side, but you can mitigate the significance of these differences and thus protect yourself from imbalance issues over time.

Have a wonderful weekend!