Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Spreading Wellness: Do you know your balance point?

Do you remember learning how to walk? Probably not, but you likely have watched a child learn how. You notice that they fall often, and always get back up. They are relentless in their learning. They are selfish in their tasks, because they are determined. During this process, children are learning the point at which they lose their balance, so that they can refine it, and stay within their base of support. Their joints are learning where they are in space. They are learning how to move in a world so new to them.

The same is true when we learn how to ride a bike, but we probably remember our own process. We likely recall the spills that we took, the skinned knees, and we probably remember a little hesitation of getting back on after we crashed and burned. But through this all, once again, we are learning where that balance point is.
Photo by: E3 Owner, Jodi Tervo Roberts
www.e3twinports.com

How does balance work? Here are the basics. You rely on 3 primary physiological tools for your balance. 1st, if you have vision, you probably rely a lot more on your vision than you would think. 2nd, your inner ear (vestibular system) helps your body know its position. 3rd, you have joint proprioceptors, which tell your joints and body where you are in space.

Over my career, I've probably given about 200 people my fitness assessment. This includes clients and college age students who take my physical education classes. My assessment includes balance, because when I worked as a PT Assistant in nursing homes, a large percentage of the people I was treating (both long-term residents and short-term rehab patients) could have prevented their PT needs through a daily habit of practicing balance. And, I vowed myself, if I ever started working in the field of prevention, I had to educate all of my clients and students about the importance of being mindful of healthy balance. Out of my roughly 200 fitness assessments, I recall only 2 people who have passed the balance test on their first attempt. Yes, the ages vary from 16-70+.

One of my tag-lines for E3 is to help people age youthfully. The best time to start this youthful aging process is from the time you are an infant...but in case you fell off that wagon, the second best time is now. It is never too late to begin your youthful aging habits, the best thing you can do is start. According to the CDC, 1/3 of people over the age of 65 fall every year. With winter in full swing, and icy driveways, parking lots, and roads, the risk of falling increases even more. The CDC also states that falls can cause broken bones, head injuries, and a fear of falling again (which also increases fall risk). 

My mantra is to help you create habits that can improve your balance, your vestibular system, and your joint proprioceptors. How can you do that? First of all, with any fitness endeavor, I believe it is a good habit to have an assessment done. This allows you to look back at concrete data to help you see your progress. Health improvements go far beyond the scale, and we need to credit ourselves, and celebrate our health successes to keep moving forward with habit formation. If we just watch the scale, we are likely to be disappointed, and lose internal motivation. There are fun recreational activities that naturally work on our balance such as dance, xc skiing, trail running, and rock climbing, but there are other simple activities you can do while brushing your teeth and washing the dishes.

Do you know when you lose your balance? I can say that this past weekend at the rock wall, I knew when my footing was going to give out. Sometimes I could readjust before it was too late, and other times, I had to rely on the belay to catch me. The important piece, is that a climber gets back and tries again. :) If you know your balance is an area of youthful aging that you need to work on, it is important to have a little bit of selfishness in you, so that you allow yourself the time to work on it...just like that little child. Think about this....your friends, family, and organizations that you are involved in would much rather you stay healthy and well, so you can help them now, rather than being held up later because of an injury that could have been prevented, if you'd only allowed yourself the time to invest in yourself and your own health.

If you would like to schedule a free wellness coaching consultation, feel free to send me an email (info@e3twinports.com). I look forward to meeting with you. For more information on wellness coaching packages, click on this link.

If you have stumbled upon this blog, and would like to be added to our list, simply email info@e3twinports.com, with "Blog Sign-up" in the subject line. I'll happily add to to our growing list of over 150 people. 

E3 Twin Ports, LLC
Energy and Empowerment through Exercise
Owner, Jodi L. Tervo Roberts
Jodi L. Tervo Roberts, Owner
E3 Twin Ports, LLC
Helping people to lead healthy, happy, & meaningful lives, while promoting healthy lifestyles through outdoor recreation, fitness, and interactive educational presentations.

Website: e3twinports.com
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LIVE HAPPY, DREAM BIG, SMILE, and PLAY OUTSIDE!

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