Vivomed – Importance of Balance

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Vivomed – Importance of Balance

Many key skills & attributes are used when describing some of the world’s top sports people; strength, power, agility, speed etc. While these are considered prerequisites for many, the importance of balance is often overlooked. A good example is Argentina & Barcelona player Lionel Messi. At just 5ft 7in, Messi has the perfect mixture of balance & lower body strength, enabling him to seamlessly move past opponents at speed.

Barcelona's Lionel Messi
Barcelona’s Lionel Messi (Incredible balance & lower body strength)

 

Balance is also essential throughout everyday life, whether its standing for prolonged periods or walking up the stairs. A good level of balance allows the body to move both efficiently & safely without risk of injury. There are two types of balance; static & dynamic. Static balance is the ability of a stationary object to balance, when the object’s centre of gravity is on the axis of rotation. Conversely, dynamic balance describes the ability of an object to balance while in motion, when the objects centre of gravity is outside its axis of rotation. The body’s centre of gravity is situated at the point at which all of the body’s weight is evenly distributed, which is often located two inches below the spine.

How Good is your Balance?

Balance can be assessed in a number of ways through specific tests, these include; the stork stand test, beam walk, Y balance test, flamingo balance & multiple leg hops amongst many others. The stork stand test would be considered the most popular. This involves the individual removing their shoes, placing both hands on hips, positioning the non-supporting foot against the inside knee of the supporting leg. The individual is given around 1 minute to practice the pose. When ready, the heel of the supporting leg is raised to shift balance to the ball of the foot, at this point a stopwatch is started. The stopwatch is stopped if any sign of imbalance occurs.

A poor score would be regarded as any time under 10 seconds, average (25-30 seconds) & a very good score, anything over 50 seconds.

So how do I improve my Balance?

There are many exercises which can be performed to improve balance including; standing on one leg, walking heel to toe & squats amongst many others. However the quality of the exercise can be greatly improved by using specific balance equipment such as wobble boards, wedges, balance beams & gym balls.

Wobble Cushions are regularly used by professional therapists in the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of a range of sports related injuries: such as those relating to the ankles and knees. They can also be used for a wide range of muscle strengthening exercises (in standing, seated and press-up positions) and as an active seating aid. Check out the video below on how to effectively use the wobble cushion

The Therapy in Motion Inflatable Wedge Cushion helps to improve posture and prevents slouching when sitting down by tilting the pelvis forward to reduce strain on the lower back.

A foam beam is excellent for promoting and improving balance whilst strengthening lower limb muscles by performing the beam walk. This is also a great test to perform to assess ones level of balance.

They gym balls are great for pilates, yoga & strength and conditioning training. All of which are perfect for helping to improve balance.

Vivomed supplies a wide range of fitness equipment including; Roller WheelsResistance bands, loops & tubes, Medicine Balls for muscle stretching & rehabilitation gym exercises and home strengthening after sports injury. For more information head over to our website www.vivomed.com.

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