Did you know it takes three systems in our body to remain balanced? The first one is the somatasensory which involves the receptors in your skin, the feeling of touch. Your second system is the visual which is the relationship of your head and eyes to surrounding objects. Finally the vestibular is your head position in relation to gravity.
The next set of exercises I will show you can be done at home with little or no equipment needed. Please remember to consult your doctor if you are just starting out, wear comfortable and supporting shoes and have a chair or someone to assist you while you are learning the exercise.
In fall prevention part 1 I showed you the one arm and diagonal raise on the stability ball. These exercises challenge the somatasensory system. To continue these please try the following.
- · Start out seated on a stability ball. If you are not comfortable, place it in the corner of a room for more stability.
- · Start out with a balloon or towel in one hand.
- · While holding on to the balloon, continuously raise your arm and opposite leg up.
- · Remember to engage your core.
- · Repeat 10 times and then change sides.
Now I’d like to challenge your visual system by covering one or both eyes while performing an exercise.
- · Start out seated on a stability ball in the corner of a room. Remember to have a chair or someone close by the first time you try this exercise.
- · Sit up nice and tall while engaging your core.
- · Close one eye for 5 seconds and then switch to the other side.
- · Repeat 10 times.
- · After feeling comfortable you can progress to closing both eyes and then moving the ball away from the corner.
Finally I would like to show you an exercise to tap into your vestibular system.
- · Start out seated on a stability ball in the corner of a room.
- · Hold onto a balloon or towel between two hands straight out in front of you.
- · Raise both hands into the air above your head while watching the object extending your head back.
- · Repeat 10 times.
- · Progress to adding a soup can or medicine ball for more weight and moving the ball away from the corner.
I hope you enjoyed these exercises. By tapping into all of your sensory systems you are becoming more efficient in balance. And staying balanced will help you stay independent and living actively.
If you should ever have any questions about my exercises please contact me firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay tuned next time for my multisensory system activities as well as some gate drills that will keep you quick on your toes!
Take care and live actively.
Jan M. Ten Bruin
ACSM Certified Personal Trainer