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Improve Your Balance in Two Steps

feet & ankles health yoga anatomy Oct 20, 2021

Balance is a two-way street.

We are coping with balance quite well so far. We are walking, running, and  standing for most of our lives. Keep in mind though, you practised this for years when you grew up as a little kid.

Further challenges we encounter in later life require physical and physiological adaptations.

The first step, or direction of the two way street for better balance is perception. We need to feel and notice that our balance is shifting.

If we were perfectly still, there would be no need to improve our balance. But the reality is that with our breath, our circulation and even our digestion, we keep moving, that that requires balance responses

Many people check their balance with their eyes only. Finding a spot to look or even stare at to hold balance. While visual balance is helpful, relying on it might keep the body less stable. Visual cues are from the brain not from the 'ground up' so to speak and maintain a certain disconnect from the feet.

In the soles of our feet, around the foot and ankle joints and throughout our muscles we have large amounts of sensors / nerve receptors. These nerve receptors consistently monitor for any changes in pressure, stretch and activity, letting us know what is going on.

When we connect to these signals from the the area of the feet we get more detailed information on balance shifts and changes.

The necessary second step in keeping our balance is the response to the signals and information we receive. Some part of the nervous system, needs to recognize the changing information as relevant and necessary to act on, needs to make a decision how to act and pass on the commands for action.

With practice we can build up these sensing - response pathways and have finer and finer intervals and adjustments to our posture.

In reality there are constantly many levels of action happening simultaneously, making the net effect of actions appear as if we stood steadily and stable. That is how we maintain balance.

Learn more about your feet and the muscles and actions to create movement and balance through your legs with the 'Movement anatomy of the FEET' course.

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