We spend our lives trying to keep things balanced, whether our diet, weight or even our time management. The human body throughout our life is stabilizing and balancing its upright posture1.
Maintaining the physical balance in our bodies is necessary for many motions during the activity of daily living such as cooking, housework or shopping, which in general require abilities to stand, turn bend down or pick an object2. Different sports movement as well need a high level of body balancing3.
Balancing mechanism consist of two main components:
- Sensory inputs: Natural receptors (sensors) are used by our bodies to keep our balance. Proprioception (leg muscles movements’ feedback), vestibular system and sensory information from the feet’s soles play a major role in detecting body tilting. The sensory input provided by such receptors are processed in the brain sensory cortex4.
- Motor output: A suitable motor output from the brain motor cortex, activates muscles to oscillate the body forward and backward around the hip and ankle joints to achieve the intended movement whether reaching out something or just balancing5.
Physical Balance is affected by many factors throughout our life. Balance tends to drop as we grow older, other diseases such as Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis1 and impairment due to stroke6 can cause an effect on one or both of the balancing mechanism components which lead to high fall risk.
Falling resulted from a loss of balance is a major risk factor. The statistic shows that 37.3 million people experienced severe falls each year 7. The statistics also show that more than 250,000 hip fractures annually are due to falling, with estimation related cost of $81,300 per fracture, not taking into account the nursing home cost and the drop in self-independency and productivity of the patient2.
Different types of training are practiced to sustain and improve our physical balance:
- Single-leg standing exercise has been used to increase to improve the body stability and the lower muscles strength8.
- Standing on balance board (platform able to pivots around its spherical cap base) is used by athletes to prevent injuries and in the clinical system to serve are rehabilitation equipment for patients with balance problem1.
- Tai Chi training has been used as balance training, during the Tai Chi’s slow and smooth movement more control of the body center of mass will be built which has a positive effect on the body physical balance7.
Balance board can enhance both physical balance’s components, by improving the sensory system process and action according to the body balance receptors’ sensory inputs, and by adopting an appropriate motor control that allows a better control of the hip and ankle joints. Which will lead to a better physical balance1.
Fibod is one of few interactive balancing training devices that able to improve the body balance capability and reduce fall risk by playing virtual reality games and following a programmed interactive rehabilitation training, which increases the user’s motivation to do balancing training.
In conclusion, balance training is quite important for us, as it reduces falling risk, especially for the old people, where a simple fall might require months of recovery. As prevention is better than cure. Let’s all of us train our balance frequently using the different balancing exercises and own a Fibod to make the training more interactive.
- Chagdes, J. R., Rietdyk, S., Jeffrey, M. H., Howard, N. Z. & Raman, A. Dynamic stability of a human standing on a balance board. J. Biomech. 46, 2593–2602 (2013).
- Judge, J. O. Balance training to maintain mobility and prevent disability. Am. J. Prev. Med. 25, 150–156 (2003).
- Kiss, R. M. A new parameter for characterizing balancing ability on an unstable oscillatory platform. Med. Eng. Phys. 33, 1160–1166 (2011).
- Afzal, M., Byun, H.-Y., Oh, M.-K. & Yoon, J. Effects of kinesthetic haptic feedback on standing stability of young healthy subjects and stroke patients. J. Neuroeng. Rehabil. 12, 27 (2015).
- Ogaya, S., Okita, Y. & Fuchioka, S. Muscle contributions to center of mass excursion in ankle and hip strategies during forward body tilting. J. Biomech. 49, 3381–3386 (2016).
- Geurts, A. C. H., De Haart, M., Van Nes, I. J. W. & Duysens, J. A review of standing balance recovery from stroke. Gait Posture 22, 267–281 (2005).
- Bartimole, L. & Fristad, M. A. Taiji (Tai Chi) For Fall Prevention in the Elderly: Training the Trainers Evaluation Project. Explor. J. Sci. Heal. 13, 198–200 (2017).
- Rasool, J. & George, K. The impact of single-leg dynamic balance training on dynamic stability. Phys. Ther. Sport 8, 177–184 (2007).