A good sense of balance is key to avoiding falls, particularly during the winter on ice and snow. In this video, Point Performance’s Dr. Haim Hechtman, DPT, demonstrates a basic balance exercise that will improve your balance while limiting the risk of falling. All three progressions are done with eyes open first, and then with eyes closed. Closing the eyes forces the proprioceptive system, also known as the “sixth sense” which determines the body’s relative position in space, to work harder and develop a stronger sense of balance.
Here, he starts with a narrow base of support on two legs, with something sturdy and close by to grab onto if you lose balance. Begin with eyes open, and then with eyes closed.
The next progression: tandem stance position, with one foot in front of the other. Again, stand with eyes open, and then with eyes closed.
Final progression: Single leg stance, first with eyes open, then closed.
These balance exercises target the proprioceptive system, which use the receptive golgi tendon organ to provide instant feedback to your body about where you are in space. This is why if you accidentally miss a step, your heart skips a beat; or you misinterpret the weight of a coffee cup and almost drop it when you pick it up. We work with patients who have a fear of falling to give them a better “sixth” sense and build the confidence in judging their relation to space.