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Balance Article: Extensive and Detailed

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Bookmark if you are interested in this stuff. It answers many FAQs that come up on this forum.

post #2 of 6
Thanks, Lisamarie. Great stuff!
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks, but EEK! I notified my editors, but I just realized that the first page cuts off med-sentance, and is missing a lot of info. I'll let you know when it's corrected.
post #4 of 6
Thanks LM. excellent article as usual. Later, RicB.
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks Ric! I notified the editors, but they have not yet fixed the text. This is what it shoul read after "many experts believe"..

that the energy used in trying to regain balance is wasted. They recommend what they call a functional balance threshold, which is a stopping point between outer balance and the balance threshold. While balance is still being challenged, form is not being sacrificed.

The driver of balance refers to anything that manipulates the forces we must balance against. A driver can be the surface you are standing on, your shoes, the wind, a set of weights, an exercise band, or resistance tubing. By varying the drivers in your balance training program, your balance skills will be constantly challenged.

The Basics of Balance
All movements require a structural base, in order to generate and absorb force. This is what we call posture. Since posture is the point at which movement begins and ends, movements that begin in less than optimal posture may have a less than optimal ending. Although many people view posture as being static, it is actually dynamic, constantly adapting to meet the demands placed on it by internal and external forces. Deviation from correct alignment can cause a change in your center of gravity. This will affect both your structural and functional efficiency. Maintaining balance throughout the segments of the body is defined as postural equilibrium. Optimal alignment is essential to athletic skill and neuromuscular efficiency. When proper length tension relationships exist in the muscles, the kinetic chain can produce high levels of functional strength, agility, and coordination.

Many people define themselves as being uncoordinated. Coordination is defined as the "harmonious functioning of muscles or groups of muscles in the execution of movements." Interestingly, being uncoordinated is defined as "lacking planning, method, and organization." To create harmonious movement, the muscles of the body must act in an organized manner. If you were to put the brass section at the front of the orchestra, where the violinists usually sit, you may get a sound that is distorted, and lacks harmony. The same thing happens with the body. If the large muscles take center stage, they will play louder and harder than the muscles which give finesse, grace, and harmony to your movement style.

When posture is distorted, movement patterns become altered and "dissonant." This is caused by muscle imbalances placing undue stress on the joints. Contrary to popular belief, being uncoordinated is not a terminal illness, with the rare exception, of course, to certain neuromuscular diseases. A planned, methodical reorganization of how the body recruits specific muscle groups may eventually teach the body parts to move in synchronicity and harmony. Posture and balance are intrinsically related. Efficient athletic posture allows the knees and ankles to be parallel and slightly flexed. Core muscles are active. Ears are over the shoulders, and the eyes are focused straight ahead.

In summation, let's look below at what contributes to balance or lack thereof.

Poor balance can be caused by:
•Feet not aligned under hips
•Excessive forward flexion at the shoulders or waist
•Head down or forward, thereby reducing visual field
•Joint stiffness
•Uneven rhythm
•Holding breath
•No reference for pressure control along sole of foot due to lack of proprioception
•Limited endurance
•Insufficient strength to stand on one leg
•Abrupt movements

Physiological Factors affecting Balance
•General level of fitness
•Kinesthetic sense
•Vestibular system (inner ear)
•Motor skills and reflexes
•Athletic stance

post #6 of 6
Excellent article, Lisa Marie. Very helpful. Also, some very good functional exercises in Eric Franklin's book Pelvic Power for Men and Women: Mind/Body Exercises for Strength, Flexibility, Posture, and Balance.
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