Let’s face it, 2019 was a turbulent year for all sorts of reasons and it would be hard to argue that we’re out of the woods yet. So, at Courtyard, we’ve decided it’s time to foster a bit of stability. We’re going to focus on ‘balance’ in all its forms. As a team of physiotherapists, chiropractors, massage therapists and Pilates instructors, it makes sense for us to start with the physical.
Balance is the ability to hold your body position whether you are stationary (standing on one leg) or moving (walking, skiing, kicking a ball) and when thinking about fitness, it is equally as important as strength, endurance and flexibility.
What are the benefits of balance training?
One of the most important components of balance is something we refer to as ‘proprioception’, an awareness of your body position and of movement. Multiple body systems are needed to provide this information. The eyes (visual), inner ear (vestibular) and skin (kinaesthetic) contain numerous sensory receptors that provide feedback to the brain about which muscles to activate and when. Due to these complex interactions there is even some suggestion that balance training can help improve memory and spatial cognition.
Better balance can also lead to improvements in the following,
- Co-ordination and reaction time. By improving communication between your brain and your muscles, balance training can help prevent falls, improve function and sporting performance.
- Joint stability. Through improvements in core strength as well as stabilisation of your hips, knees, ankles and shoulders, balance training can help prevent injury, particularly knee and ankle injuries but also back and neck strain.
- Weight loss. During balance training your body has to work to keep you stable. This in turn helps you to burn more calories.
How can I improve my balance?
Anything that reduces or challenges your centre of gravity will improve your balance. This could be as simple as standing with your legs closer together (to reduce your centre of gravity) or very complex movements such as standing on one leg and rotating your trunk whilst holding weights. Balance training programmes usually start with simple static positions and progress to more complex, dynamic (moving) exercises. It is important to ensure you are safe, having a wall or stable chair to reach for example if you feel unsteady, but also to gently challenge yourself so that your balance continuously improves.
The Malmesbury Balance Challenge
Over the next few weeks, Courtyard Clinic is hosting The Great Malmesbury Balance Challenge. We hope this event will bring people together through some healthy competition whilst at the same time making Malmesbury the most ‘balanced and stable’ town in Wiltshire!
The official launch will be at The Malmesbury Community Day on February 8th where we’ll be joining lots of other local clubs and organisations at The Town Hall. Come and meet us on our stall where we’ll give you full details of the balance challenge plus answer any questions about managing and preventing musculoskeletal injury, preparing for sport, our Pilates programmes or anything else you want to ask us.
If you can’t make the Community Day, don’t worry. We’ll be publishing full details of The Malmesbury Balance Challenge on our website, newsletter and facebook page.
We’re really looking forward to helping you find more balance in 2020
Update: download the balance sheet Balance Assessment