Keep balance in your life

A weekly column from Sun City Physiotherapy

Being healthy and fit takes effort.  We all know that there are many factors that contribute to living an overall healthy lifestyle, including diet, activity level, social well-being, and managing stress levels, just to name a few.

Physical fitness is an important factor that can improve one’s quality of life. There are several components that make up basic physical fitness: strength, flexibility, power, agility, muscular endurance, cardiovascular endurance, co-ordination, and balance.  I want to discuss the often overlooked, but extremely important component, balance.  An astonishing fact:  Falls are the second leading cause, after motor vehicle collisions, of injury-related hospitalizations for ALL ages, accounting for 29% of injury admissions. (Canadian Institute for Health Information, 2004).  Obviously, there are situations where falls cannot be prevented; however, frequently they can be avoided if we understand the underlying systems that contribute to balance.

Balance is the ability to control the body’s position. The body either controls its position statically, as in standing on one leg, or dynamically, as in walking on uneven or slippery surfaces.

Several physiological systems work together to influence balance.  Sensory input from the eyes detects changes in position.  The inner ear controls balance by monitoring the position of your head (vestibular system).  Our nervous system is involved in processing information which determines how quickly and efficiently we are able to respond. Our musculoskeletal system is also very important for balance.  We need to have adequate joint range of motion, muscle flexibility and strength in our ankles, knees, hips, spine, and shoulders in order to safely and effectively ‘right’ ourselves when we are losing balance.

Balance dysfunctions can be addressed and treated, provided that your health care provider knows what system or systems are involved in the balance problem.  Once the source of the poor balance is identified, then your balance can be improved by improving the function of the impaired system.  Occasionally the impaired system may not be able to be improved due to certain medical conditions.  In that case, your balance can still be improved by enhancing the function of the systems that are already working well.

Even if you don’t have a serious balance dysfunction, it is still important to include balance training in your regular exercise routine. Many fitness centers have group fitness classes that incorporate balance in their sessions.  Yoga and Tai Chi have also been shown to improve balance.  If you understand the components of balance and seek out guidance to help you train your balance, you can significantly improve it, therefore reducing risks of falls or even minor injuries such as recurrent ankle sprains, and therefore improve and maintain your quality of life!

 

 

 

Shelly Prosko is a Registered Physiotherapist and Yoga Therapist at Sun City Physiotherapy Winfield. She can be contacted at the Winfield clinic (250.766.2544) or by email at winfield@suncityphysiotherapy.com.

Just Posted

Truck crashed and dumped near Predator Ridge

Police are looking for two men in connection with a stolen vehicle

Salt and Brick chef to compete in Canada’s Great Kitchen Party

Chef James Holmes will compete in the fall competition

UBC Okanagan makes addition to womens volleyball, basketball

Lucy Faba and Amaya Perry will join the Heat next season

Road closures anticipated for 9th annual Kelowna Vaisakhi Parade

The annual event highlighting the Sikh community will be held April 27

VIDEO: Alberta man creates world’s biggest caricature

Dean Foster is trying to break the world record for a radio show contest

Man seriously injured after driving wrong way down B.C. highway

Police say the driver hit a transport truck, then another car after merging from the off-ramp onto highway

Candidates ready for Summerland Blossom Pageant

Royalty pageant will be held at Centre Stage Theatre on May 3 and 4

Shuswap society finds pets often suffer in domestic abuse cases

SPCA, SAFE Society working together to provide shelter for pets of women fleeing abuse

Should B.C. lower speed limits on side roads to 30 km/h?

Vancouver city councillor wants to decrease speed limits along neighbourhood side roads

Give Canada geese at Okanagan beaches a break

LETTER: Tour busses, full of photographers, local goose guides and an annual goose festival

Lawsuit eyed over union-only raise for B.C. community care workers

‘Low-wage redress’ leaves 17,000 employees out, employers say

Landlord of alleged Okanagan shooter recounts deadly day

Tony Friesen was working in one of the units of his Penticton building when he heard shots

Foreign national arrested in connection to thefts at YVR

A woman, 60, is being held in police custody as Richmond RCMP investigate

Most Read