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Increase Your Health with the Benefits of Balance Training

Monday, July 05, 2010 by: Dr. David Jockers
Tags: balance, training, health news

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(NewsTarget) A well developed sensory-motor system is critical to life and health. Most exercise programs fail to adequately train an individual's balance & coordination. This leaves the individual with a disproportional level of fitness and predisposes them to injury. Incorporating specific functional exercises that challenge the body's nervous system to improve sensory-motor function is advised for optimal performance and quality of life.

Imagine being more in control of your body. You have a heightened awareness of where everything is at all times. You are able to easily bend over, balancing on one leg, to lift a light box and put it on a shelf. You are able to easily navigate steps, run through the hillside terrain, and balance on one leg. You have freedom to reach new heights and take your living experience to the new level.

Proprioception refers to a sense of joint positioning. This is a subconscious understanding the brain has of its joints and limbs. Kinesthetic sense is the ability to sense where you are in 3-dimensional space. Both of these require a sensory understanding that depends on a strong relationship between the parietal lobe in the brain, spinal cord & peripheral nerves, and the muscle/joint receptors of the body.

An individual's "proprioceptive tone" refers to their ability to sense and continually adapt to where they are in space. A high level of proprioceptive tone allows you to respond to a dynamic environment quicker and more effectively. This ability allows you an increased level of freedom with your body and decreases your risk of injury.

Imagine you are running down a hill and you hit a larger than usual rock that throws your ankle into an awkward angle. An individual with a high degree of proprioceptive tone will respond quickly to the disposition. This sudden response will allow him/her to contract the appropriate muscles to reduce the awkward force and pull the ankle back into its optimal position. Someone with a less developed proprioceptive system will react slower to this dynamic change making him/her more susceptible to injury.

Another example would be dropping soap in the shower. Falls in the shower happen to be one of the most commonly hospitalized household injuries. As you bend down to pick up the soap, the body braces itself for the dynamic changes the slippery surface and unusual position are demanding. Someone with a less developed proprioceptive system will have more trouble and have a greater risk of falling. Often times this individual will wisely not even attempt to pick up the soap.

Improve Your Proprioceptive Tone:

1.Balance on 1 leg. Begin by holding onto the back of a chair in front of you. Gradually take your hands off of the chair and extend your arms out to your side.

2.Walk out on a stability ball allowing it to roll up your back. This puts your body into a bridge position and works your core stability and balance in your mid-section. Once you are comfortably in this position, walk backward and sit up on the ball.

3.Do a plank exercise and lift one arm &/or leg at a time.

4.Use vibration platforms and balance discs.

5.Do a heel-toe walk in a straight line down a hallway. As you get better, try closing your eyes. Extend your arms to catch yourself on a wall in the hallway in case you lose your balance.


About the author

Dr. David Jockers owns and operates Exodus Health Center in Kennesaw, Ga. He is a Maximized Living doctor. His expertise is in weight loss, customized nutrition & exercise, & structural corrective chiropractic care. For more information go to www.exodushc.com To find a Maximized Living doctor near you go to www.maximizedliving.com

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