Come play catch with us! By: Jacqueline Becker, DPT
Reduced balance can limit walking, lead to falls, and reduce overall confidence with function. There are multiple components to balance which include strength, vision, proprioception or the spatial awareness of your body in relation to the support surface, and vestibular control which regulates your equilibrium. There are two strategies in how people react to stumbling or perturbations: anticipatory or corrective. Our brain sends signals to our muscles to brace ourselves against a fall if we can anticipate an impact that might throw us off balance, or our brain sends signals to muscles to react to a perturbation which may cause us to make a change in body position or take a step.
As we age, we lose the ability to perform anticipatory postural control, leaving us to rely on corrective strategy. This in turn limits our ability to maintain balance leading to increased loss of balance and falls. Alexander Aruin, out of the University of Illinois, performed a study comparing healthy young adults and healthy older adults with the activity of standing while catching a weighted ball. They studied the electrical activity of muscle in lower body and core in both groups. Aruin and his colleagues found that improvements occurred in both groups, and also noted that not only did they improve with training, but there was a transfer effect when performing a task that was not involved in the training. This means what people learn in training might be useful with other activities.
Your therapist at North County Water and Sports Therapy Center can put together a program to improve your balance and help to reduce the risk of falls…so come play catch with us!!
Article referenced can be found at: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/287875.php