We covered Balance and it’s importance in the Science section of this course.
Our Balance system is made up of three systems and is achieved and maintained by a set of sensorimotor control systems that include sensory input from vision (sight), proprioception (touch), and the vestibular system (motion, equilibrium, spatial orientation) integration of sensory input and motor output to the eye and body muscles.
Visual System: The most dominant system is our visual system (our eyes) and it tells us what the environment around us is like and what obstacles we may encounter. The eyes provide a lot of information and take into consideration what we are focused on as well as what also in our peripheral vision.
Proprioceptive system: Another system includes the proprioceptive system that tells us where our body is in space. Proprioceptionis the process by which the body can vary muscle contraction in immediate response to incoming information regarding external forces, by utilizing stretch receptors in the muscles to keep track of the joint position in the body.
Vestibular system: The third system is the vestibular system which basically coordinates movement with balance. This system resides within our inner ear and as our head moves (along with our body) we receive information as to what direction and how fast or slow we’re moving. It doesn’t just help us with posture or stance but tells our eyes what they should be looking at and where to look next.
Typically these three systems are healthy as we’re young and can diminish in acuity as we grow old so we need to keep challenging our balance systems.
One of the first improvements participants will notice when rebounding regularly is that their balance improves quickly. Good balance is vitally important for overall health and well being as you get older with many injuries associated with old age being related to a fall due to poor balance.
You can help your participants understand how good their balance is by doing various balance drills and having them measure this regularly.
If you do a simple stalk test (stand on one leg) before you begin your rebounding class/session, this is great fun and also quite inspiring as your participants will most definitely see a balance improvement if you do the same test again, after 30-60 minutes of rebounding, or even 4 – 6 weeks of rebounding! The results will be remarkable and motivational.
Remember they need to stand on one leg in the centre of rebounder. Try with both eyes open and if this is not challenging enough for them, they can close one eye or both eyes. See how many seconds they can balance for and it’s important that they do the test on both legs. Remember it’s not how long you can balance for initially – it’s testing if your body as balanced on the left side as the right side! The aim is to be able to balance on one leg for approximately the same amount of time on each leg initially and then to balance for longer on each leg.