• Oftentimes in later years people lament the loss of balance, unsteadiness in walking or even the occurrence of falls. The concept of balance is often wrapped in many myths and its loss is met by bewilderment, fear and apprehension of movement. This typically snowballs into inactivity and fear of the outdoors amongst the elderly. A simple phrase that demystifies the concept of balance is, “the use of the right muscles, at the right time, producing the right amount of force needed”. With this statement in mind, it is implicit that balance can be developed through specific exercises. 

    In aiming to improve our balance, we cannot neglect the role of the brain and neural system. The secret to movement lies in motor engrams. Think of motor engrams as small computer programmes or recipes that upon being executed, create a set of muscle contractions within the body, thereby producing a desired end result – movement. The brain then evaluates these movements through the function of the cerebellum and adjusts the movement accordingly to create desired movement. 

    Therefore, training to improve one’s balance is not merely about stimulating the body but also about stimulating the brain. With the correct and relevant exercise prescription by your trusted physiotherapist, the right motor engrams in the brain can be enforced whilst new ones are developed.

    Over time, through consistency and dedication to the specific exercises, the brain and associated neural system become more adapted to correct movements, empowering you to move more freely, smoothly and in a balanced manner.