Friday, January 20, 2012

Balance Training

Balance is fascinating.  On Clarence Bass recommendation a couple of year ago I read Scott McCredie’s book Balance: In Search of the Lost Sense (2007).  It is really interesting and gives you a new appreciation for the importance of balance.

In Hillfit I mention balance as a complex of three different systems:
  • the visual
  • the proprioceptive
  • the vestibular - the inner ear sense that positions you in space relative to gravity, your equilibrium
 One of the key things in balance in general I say is to be stronger - sometimes the muscles are not strong enough to maintain balance whatever the systems are saying.

I've mentioned the proprioceptive systems before in terms of ankle sprains.  Anyway, all that is just introduction to this study which I found today.

Vestibular rehabilitation therapy: review of indications, mechanisms, and key exercises.

Vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT) is an exercise-based treatment program designed to promote vestibular adaptation and substitution. The goals of VRT are 1) to enhance gaze stability, 2) to enhance postural stability, 3) to improve vertigo, and 4) to improve activities of daily living. VRT facilitates vestibular recovery mechanisms: vestibular adaptation, substitution by the other eye-movement systems, substitution by vision, somatosensory cues, other postural strategies, and habituation. The key exercises for VRT are head-eye movements with various body postures and activities, and maintaining balance with a reduced support base with various orientations of the head and trunk, while performing various upper-extremity tasks, repeating the movements provoking vertigo, and exposing patients gradually to various sensory and motor environments. VRT is indicated for any stable but poorly compensated vestibular lesion, regardless of the patient's age, the cause, and symptom duration and intensity. Vestibular suppressants, visual and somatosensory deprivation, immobilization, old age, concurrent central lesions, and long recovery from symptoms, but there is no difference in the final outcome. As long as exercises are performed several times every day, even brief periods of exercise are sufficient to facilitate vestibular recovery. Here the authors review the mechanisms and the key exercises for each of the VRT goals.

The whole paper is available here 
  with some interesting simple exercises to  develop this amazing sense.

1 comment:

Ben Smith said...

Balance is fascinating. Every game or work demands perfect balance to complete the work successfully. I'm planning to work on this section. Your training suggestion will be helpful for me. Thanks pretty much.