Proprioception and Balance

Proprioception is the term used to describe the body’s ability to transmit a sense of position, analyse that information and react (consciously or unconsciously) to the stimulation with the proper movement. In short, it means your body’s ability to recognise where it is in space and react to any change in that position accordingly.

One of the major effects of reduced proprioception is poor balance. As we all know, when you get older your balance (or lack thereof) becomes a big issue. Falling is one of the highest causes of injury amongst the elderly with fractures and breaks of the hips, wrists, and ribs, becoming more and more prevalent. The best way to combat issues with balance and proprioception is to incorporate a few simple exercises into your daily routine to train your nervous system.

The following are 3 exercises that you can add to your home program, all of which can easily be done without the need of any equipment.

Single Leg Balancing:

Balancing on one leg for as long as possible.

Progressions include:

• Adding a high knee lift
• Taking your shoes off
• Closing your eyes
• Standing on an unstable surface like a pillow or towel

Heel to Toe Walking:

Stepping forwards making sure the heel of the front foot is in contact with the toe of the back foot each time you step.

Progressions include:

• Closing your eyes
• Walking backwards
• Placing both arms straight by your sides

Standing Calf Raises – Assisted

Whilst standing, lean forward slightly and press through the ball and toes of each foot until your heels are as far off the ground as possible.
Hold for 3 seconds and return heels to the ground in a controlled manner.

Progressions include:

• Single Leg Calf Raises
• Free standing without assistance
• Adding small hand weights

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