how old is your equilibrium?

March 13, 2013

Peeking Stones
peeking stones by joyful.mara on flickr
Finding balance is my goal (my one word) for 2013. Physical, mental and financial balance. Changes in balance for some of these takes a bit longer to cook than others, but on the forefront today is adjustments to physical balance.

Our ability to balance isn't something that we generally think about day to day (unless you're the man on a wire), but even simple activities like hiking in the woods, riding a bike, and walking up stairs depend heavily on balance. To be honest, other than work-life balance, improving any kind of balance wasn't on my radar until I wound up with a broken foot. And now that I am on the path of healing, and after being denied simple actions like running, dancing, and jumping jacks (of all the things I could miss!), balance is on my mind often and it is the key ingredient to increasing my overall health.

The truth is, it doesn't take an injury to cause your balance to deteriorate. Age mental health, non-deliberate action (rushing!), and a sedentary lifestyle can all contribute to loss of balance. I always prided myself in having consistent and excellent balance. I loved that certain yoga poses were never hard for me. But after my injury I find myself wavering more and my fear of falling only reinforces my feeling of not being "grounded". It is becoming exceedingly and extremely important for me to gain it back. So if you are like me and you are looking to regain your balance, or maybe you are interested in maintaining the balance you have...here - today - is a place to start.

Testing Your Balance
Knowing where you are is the first step in getting where you need to go. The following test is a way to check your current ability to balance and even gauge the relative "age" of your equilibrium. Are you 28 with the balance of a 45 year old? Or maybe you are 45 with the balance of a 28 year old? (I'll admit...these sorts of tests are my guilty pleasure!) Whatever the results may be, here is where you find your point of reference. You can choose to either keep doing what you are doing or use a few of the tricks below to reach your potential!

Step 1: Stand next to a stable surface...something you can hang onto if needed. A counter top, railing or chair. 

Step 2: Place your hands near the surface in case you need to steady yourself, but do not touch it. 


Step 3: Close your eyes (be careful!) and lift one foot. Balance on the foot still touching the ground. Think about pressing evenly through your foot, especially through your heal...like you are connected to the ground. 


Step 4: Count out loud the number of seconds you are able to balance. Use your core to keep yourself steady.


Now, here is the fun part. The shorter your balance time, the "older" your equilibrium. Equate the number of seconds to the following rule of thumb: 20 seconds or longer, your balance is in it's 20s. From 15 seconds to 19 seconds, your balance is in it's 30s. From 7 seconds to 14 seconds, your balance is in it's 40s. From 3 seconds to 6 seconds, your balance is in it's 50s. And 2 seconds or less...your balance is well...of retirement age. Now, give it a try on the other foot to see if one side is better than the other. You likely have a dominant side, but this will help you to know which side may need more attention or care.

I'll admit it is pretty hard to do with your eyes closed. I'm in my 20s on the right and in my 40s on the left (owwie foot)!

Remember, if you are "chronologically" older, it doesn't mean you can't obtain a younger "balance age", and there are many different ways to boost your balance abilities.

On Friday, I will share 10 ways to gain physical balance. See you then!