Balance is something we often take for granted. Being able to tie our shoes, ride a bike, walk down the street – all things that many of us do in our day-to-day lives without a second thought. But they all have one thing in common…balance.
But why is balance so important? Well, we need to maintain a strong sense of balance to do many everyday activities and maintain our physical health. In this post, we’re going to discuss how balance plays a vital part in our everyday lives, and how we can use physiotherapy to improve our sense of balance over time.
Why Is Balance Important?
Balance gives us the spatial awareness to know where we are relative to the world around us. Maintaining our sense of balance is only possible through a complex coordination of sensory receptors in our tendons and joints, known as the proprioceptive system. This sends information to our brain about motion and spatial orientation which it then acts upon to control our posture. This is known as the vestibular system, and both systems are constantly ‘talking’ to each other as we move.
As we grow older, many of our faculties begin to weaken. This includes sight, hearing, muscle strength, and sensory perception – all things that contribute to our ability to maintain balance. This may not seem particularly concerning until you realize that falling is one of the main causes of fatality amongst elderly people.
In the United States, for example, it is the leading cause of death amongst older Americans according to the CDC (United States Center for Disease Control). In Canada, falls cause 85% of injury-related hospitalizations amongst the elderly.
The leading cause of falls is compromised balance. This is not much of an issue for younger people who can simply stand up and brush themselves off, but for older people with weakened skin, bone, and tissue, bouncing back isn’t so easy. This is why balance is so important. Not only does it make your day-to-day existence significantly easier, but it could save your life.
The Relationship Between Your Core Muscles & Balance
Balance is not a permanent, inherent trait, but it feels like it is, which is why so many of us take it for granted. It is better however to think of balance as a skill, like learning a language. It needs to be practiced and used continually to maintain it.
One of the best ways to strengthen and maintain your sense of balance is by working on your core strength. Your ‘core’ is the layer of deep muscles in your abdomen that help to support your spine, back, pelvis, hips, and stomach. Your core muscles play an important part in maintaining your posture, helping you to bend, jump and run.
But your core is also a central part of the aforementioned proprioceptive system, which is essential for keeping your sense of balance in check. In other words, a weak core = a weakened sense of balance. Engaging and strengthening those muscles using core exercises is one of the simplest ways to maintain good physical balance over the long term.
How Physiotherapy Can Help
Strength training can be difficult for the average person, particularly when it comes to your core muscles. It’s also very easy to find misinformation on how to improve balance through building core strength and stability. That’s why the average person with a weakened core is recommended to contact an expert physical therapist for guidance.
It’s a physiotherapist’s job to help you improve posture, movement, and most importantly – balance! They can provide you with the perfect core exercise routine for your age and lifestyle, allowing you to safely and gradually improve your core strength. Your sense of balance is an important part of your general health and safety, so it’s worth taking seriously.
Book an Appointment With Us Today
If you’re having issues with balance, or need some extra help with maintaining balance and posture, booking in with your local physiotherapist may be the right option for you. At Integra Health Centre, we offer a wealth of health services from qualified and experienced healthcare professionals, including physiotherapists.
To book your first consultation at one of our clinics, call us at +(416) 777-9355 or book your appointment here. Please keep in mind that for the time being our in-person consultations are only being held at The Exchange Tower offices.