Balance

By: Vanessa

Definition: Balance is the ability to maintain equilibrium when static and moving.

There are two types of balance: static and dynamic.

Static balance is maintaining equilibrium when stationary, while dynamic balance is maintaining equilibrium when moving.

Factors affecting balance:

Vision – input from your eyes that tell you whether or not you or your environment is moving


Somatosensation – input from your feet and joints (proprioception) that allows you to be assess the surface your standing on or negotiating through


Vestibular System – input from your inner ear that helps your body determine if your body is turning/rotating

Recognised fitness tests

Stalk Stand

The stork balance test requires the person to stand on one leg


Purpose: To assess the ability to balance on the ball of the foot.

Equipment required: flat, non-slip surface, stopwatch, paper and pencil.


Procedure:


1. Remove the shoes and place the hands on the hips, then position the non-supporting foot against the inside knee of the supporting leg.

2. The subject is given one minute to practice the balance.

3. The subject raises the heel to balance on the ball of the foot. The stopwatch is started as the heel is raised from the floor. The stopwatch is stopped if any of the follow occur:


  • The hand(s) come off the hips
  • The supporting foot swivels or moves (hops) in any direction
  • The non-supporting foot loses contact with the knee.
  • The heel of the supporting foot touches the floor


Scoring:


The total time in seconds is recorded. The score is the best of three attempts.


◦ Score (seconds)


◦ Excellent

◦ > 50


◦ Good

◦ 40 - 50


◦ Average

◦ 25- 39


◦ Fair

◦ 10 - 24


◦ Poor

◦ < 10

Balance Beam Test

Purpose: To assess active balance, through the ability to maintain balance while walking along an elevated beam.

Equipment required: gymnastics balance beam, stopwatch


Procedure:


The aim of this test is to walk the entire length of a standard balance beam steadily, without falling off, and within a six second time span. The participant will start at one end, step up onto the beam, walk the length to the other end. The test is repeated three times.


Scoring:


Participants are to be given three trials to complete the beam walk. The table below lists scores based on subjective observations of the beam walker. For more accuracy, use a team of three or more judges to observe a given individual perform. The score for each trial is the average of all the judge's scores. The overall score for the individual is the average of the three trial scores


5

Walks the balance beam flawlessly. Does not need to check balance, does not pause. Completes the walk within six seconds.


4

Walks the beam, but is somewhat unsteady. Completes the walk within six seconds.


3

Walks the beam, but is somewhat unsteady. May pause one or more times. Takes more than six seconds to complete the walk.


2

Walks the beam, but is very unsteady, almost falling off, may pause one or more times, and/or takes more than six seconds.


1

Falls off the beam before completing the walk.


0

Falls off the beam immediately.

Training Methods

Core Strength training

Core strength exercises strengthen your core muscles, including your abdominal muscles, back muscles and the muscles around the pelvis.


Pilates:


Uses coordinated breathing and movements to stretch and strengthen the body, targeting balance, posture and core strength.


Swiss ball:


Is used to develop core stability. Individual is required to maintain balance and stability on a large ball while performing various movements and exercises.