A bit more on balance training. There are two major components in balance training beyond postural alignment. The first is righting reflexes. Righting reflexes determine your ability to compensate for changes in the environment as you move across it. Righting reflexes rely primarily on your proprioceptive abilities, that is, your bodies ability to quickly respond by changing the tonus in your musculoskeletal system. Imagine your walking down the street and you step off an unseen curb. The difference between a sprained ankle and continuing on your journey unscathed depends on how quickly your muscles can relax or stiffen which is determined by the proprioceptors within your muscles and tendons. A properly functioning proprioceptive or righting reflex profile will have you traversing the city injury free, limit your proprioceptive system with a lack of training or poor foot ware and you’ll be needing my services soon.
The other major component in balance falls under the category of tilting or vestibular reflexes. These reflexes are called upon when the environment is unstable. Standing up while a bus is moving, riding a skateboard, and walking on ice are all examples of tilting reflexes. Tilting reflexes are largely determined by the vestibular system which is essentially the interplay between the fluid, hairs, and bones in the ears. An unstable environment is not the only challenge met by the vestibular system. Surely you have (or at least seen some one who has) had a bit too much to drink and begin to stumble around. This is due to the fact that alcohol has passed the blood brain barrier and saturated the dendrites. With the dendrite (which are nerve endings) unable to communicate the vestibular system no longer functions. The same is true during head trauma. A sharp blow to the head can also throw off the function of the tilting reflexes causing the knees to buckle and one to sway about aimlessly. Be sure that you are training both of your balance reflexes appropriate to your needs.
next week will be the final installment of Bio Motor Abilities….