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Balance

According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, balance is defined as “stability produced by even distribution of weight on each side of the vertical axis.” So, if one side of your body carries more weight then the other, then you are going to be unbalanced. Another way to define balance is “the ability to keep the body’s center of gravity within the base of support (1).”

There are two factors that have an affect on balance.

  1. body size: the closer your center of gravity is to you’re base of support the more stable you are.
  2. foot size: the larger you’re base of support, the better your balance is.

Our bodies also have three senses that help with balance.

  1. visual field: our eyes take in information from our environment and then sends it to our brain which processes it. Without this sensory feedback coming in, we can much more easily lose our balance.
  2. proprioception: sensory neurons in our feet send signals to our brain about our feet position. Taking away this sense makes us really unbalanced because we are not receiving any feedback.
  3. vestibular: equilibrium is controlled within our ears, so when that is messed up then our balance is messed up.

There are two different types of balance that everybody does on a daily basis and can easily be assessed and measured. The first is static balance. This is balance when you are just standing in one spot and not moving. The other type of balance is dynamic balance. This is staying balanced while moving, whether it be walking or reaching for an object. It is important that both your static and dynamic balance is excellent so that you can prevent falls and injury.

By: Samantha Lawton

Sources:

  1. Dr. Ahlgren’s Chapter 12 powerpoint slide notes.Fitness Assessment. 2011.
  2. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/balance

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