This article is a transcribed edited summary of a video Bob and Brad recorded in September of 2022. For the original video go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndqMrPvm_LM
Brad: We’re both going to show you three exercises, that aren't really exercises, to improve your balance. We’ve done videos where you’re doing these awkward things and squats and strengthening exercises. None of that with this protocol. It’s going to be fun and you’re going to get it done in 90 seconds. All right, Bob, just a brief review on how your body stays upright and continues to balance without falling. Three systems. Your vision has a great deal to do with how your body stays upright. The next one is your ears or vestibular system. It’s like a level in there telling your brain where your head and body are. Finally, proprioception.
Bob: Knowing where your body is.
Brad: Right. Your body knows where your legs and feet are without looking because the nervous system is talking to your brain. You don’t have to look. We’re going to challenge all three of these without those exercises that can be a little dangerous if you’re by yourself and you fall doing the toe touches or squats.
Bob: These are very simple.
Brad: First, you’ll need a chair with armrests. In front of you, depending on the level of balance that you’re at, if you feel wobbly while you’re doing these, you’ll need a solid chair in front of you or a cupboard or something you can grab onto in case you lose your balance. This will challenge your balance. The first one is simple. You’re going to stand up. It’s nice to have a timer for 30 seconds. You’re just going to stand still and see if you can stand still without touching anything for 30 seconds.
Brad: If your balance is good enough at this point, you’ll bring your feet closer together, which will challenge you more. When the 30 seconds is up, you’ll sit back down and relax. If that was challenging, you’re going to stay there. We’re going to show you how to advance that but that will come up later.
Brad: The second one. Stand up, and set your timer for 30 seconds with your eyes closed. Most people will find this quite a bit more challenging. Bring your feet closer together if it’s too easy. You’re going to find that makes a big difference. You’ll need something to beep or someone to tell you when the 30 seconds is up, you can’t do it the old-fashioned way.
Bob: You might put your hands on the counter lightly.
Brad: Yeah, sometimes I’ll have my patients put just their fingertips so you can feel it and that offers stability or if you do lose your balance, you’ll catch yourself. If you happen to lose your balance, the chair is right behind you so sitting in the chair is the worst that can happen. The last challenge is proprioception. The way you do this, you need to stand on something that’s not stable. If you’re at your house, you can use a pillow, or you can take a cushion off a piece of furniture. I’m going to use Pete’s choice cushion, that’s what they’re made for, but you don’t need one of them. You’ll put it down on the floor and stand on it. Eyes will be open, and both chairs will be there, but things will be wobbly. Stand for 30 seconds. Your ankles may be wobbling around if you’re challenged.
Brad: If you want to double up, you can do this with your eyes closed. Then you’re working everything together. I’m already starting to be challenged. Pete’s choice is something firmer but not too firm, it works well. Now, let’s say all these were easy and you didn’t feel challenged enough. What you do is you’re going to start out without Pete’s choice and do the whole thing all over with only one foot. One foot, eyes open and see how it goes.
Bob: A lot harder.
Brad: Then do it with eyes closed on one foot. I’m not doing this well. The challenge is there for someone who is low level to the people who are advanced. No real exercise is involved. 30 seconds a piece, 90 seconds for all of them. Keep your balance toned in, tuned in, and stay upright. Be careful.
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