Balance for Fitness in 2017

by Paula Allia PT, DHSc, MTC, OCS

Happy New Year!

Now is the time to get yourself on track to be the best YOU that you can be. Pondering New Year’s resolutions is common in the month of January…so what are you going to do?

There are thousands of people that will either join a gym, vow to use a membership that has been carried for years (but not used), or vow to eat healthy. All of these goals are great to do. In actuality many resolutions fail in the first month so wouldn’t it be better if an overall lifestyle change that could be kept was considered?

No matter what you do, in 2017 you will all be one year older. The best thing you can do is to get strong, keep muscles tone, and keep the body fat in check. Find your imbalances and set goals to address them.

One thing that surely decreases with age is balance. Balance is defined as a state of equilibrium in which one is in control. This holds true for the body; if someone is too far out of balance, falls may occur. So you see, balance is needed in all aspects of life.

Balance is needed in everything but real balance is a combination of systems in the body that are orchestrated to work together.There are joint and muscle sensors that provide information to the brain with regards to stretch, tension, and muscle activation. Kinesthetic and proprioceptive awareness provide information regarding joint angles and where our body is in its space.The neuromuscular system provides input to the brain and back down to the muscles to help them activate appropriately for posture and functional movements. The vestibular system and vision provide balance information as well.

Balance occurs when these systems provide information to the brain in a coordinated manner so that the bodycan make the subtle changes necessary to stay balanced. If, for example.someone has a forward head posture this means that the center of gravity of the head is anterior to the line of gravity that transects the body. If this occurs, the back extensors have to work harder to maintain good posture. It is not uncommon for people to state that this good posture is hard. In actuality if one would stay balanced through life this posture is easy. It is only when one gets too far out of balance that they indeed have to work harder to maintain the balanced body. If the proper areas of the body pass through the line of gravity then muscles would not have to work so hard. Only when out of the line of gravity does one have to muscle the posture.

So how can you gain a better balance? First, stimulate your balance centers to be more aware of positioning. Secondly, strengthen the muscles in your body that work in a coordinated manner in not only a forward backward position but in a side to side manner as well. Balance yourself for success! Do not take on too much too soon but start to become more body aware. Observe your body. Identify what you are having issues with and then embrace the challenge to improve yourself. No matter what your age is, imbalances exist everywhere. The longer one is out of balance some muscles become more facilitated while others become inhibited.

It is time to make a difference in your own life to help yourself. Too often people wait until symptoms of imbalances become evident and then patience wears thin. Address your issues now with achievable goals. Regain your body awareness, exercise all muscles and get them working in a coordinated fashion to avoid excess wear and tear on certain muscle groups. Remember, the body likes the balance of systems. Take action today and grant yourself the best New Year’s resolution yet….that you will put effort into helping you find ways to help yourself in your deficient areas.

Here’s to your Health!

Fitness Together
335 14th Ave South
Naples, FL 34102

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