When you think about “balance,” what’s the first thing you think of? It starts as an infant when the baby’s body finds a way to sit up, stand, and take its first steps. As we grow up, the muscles used to perform those activities become second nature and we don’t think about them at all. As we age, the muscles used for balance begin to slow down unless you continue to work them. Your body relies on balance in your everyday life more than you might realize! 

The brain and body understand where the body is in space using a function known as proprioception. When you trip or stumble, this is how your body catches itself instead of falling over. Balance is an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady.  Many things play into what enables us to stay “upright and steady”.

What is Balance? 

Balance is defined as the process of maintaining the body’s center of mass within its base of support via appropriate internal moments resisting destabilizing external moments acting on the body. That is, balance is the result of corrective movements at multiple joints to maintain your position and orientation. 

We encounter unstable or uneven surfaces every day. For example, when you’re mowing the lawn and maintaining a steady pace across the little bumps and hollows in your yard, your body is reacting to feedback to correct and steady your movement. Similarly, a beach day with family or friends requires good balance for those long sunset walks through the sand. 

How to Improve Balance through Balance Training

If you feel unsteady sometimes, there are lots of great ways to improve your balance. Balance training typically involves performing certain exercises on an unstable surface to challenge your base of support. 

Some exercises are done on soft surfaces or wobble boards, performing standing balance tasks. Other good exercises include press-ups on a Swiss-ball and single-leg squats on a rocker board. 

Balance Training at Body Dynamics, Inc. 

At Body Dynamics, we know how important it is to keep your balance skills sharp. That’s why we introduced a class focused specifically on balance! The ability to balance well disappears slowly — it sneaks up on you, and you tend to disregard the evidence even when you first notice it.  Balance Class repeatedly puts you “off-balance,” and allows you to practice responding quickly to an incident, so you are more likely to recover your balance than to fall.  This reduces the fear of falling, turning it into a hopeful challenge. 

Body Dynamics Balance Class regular Lisa says, “The balance class simulates functional real-world activities like bending to pick up items and pulling weeds.  [Instructor] Barbara had an eagle eye for proper form and does an amazing job of providing helpful corrections in a supportive and constructive way!” 

Fellow attendee Barbara adds, “I always remember to concentrate on balance when backing up. I lift my feet a little higher when going over those concrete parking strips in a parking lot. I am constantly reminded of abs to help me lift heavy things. In general, balance class has taught me to have a better sense of where my body is and where it is going!” 

The Hopper family sums it up: “We are still upright.” 

Haven’t been able to make it into Body Dynamics to try out our Balance Class for yourself? Check out the videos below to watch exercise specialist, trainer, and Balance Class instructor Barbara Benson demonstrate some helpful balance exercises!