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The Undervalued Importance of Balance in Physical Health

The Undervalued Importance of Balance in Physical Health

When it comes health and fitness, everyone understands the importance of strengthening, cardiovascular health, and range of motion/flexibility however many of us tend to underestimate the importance of balance. The term balance has different definitions depending on the context being used. In the realm of health and wellness, balance is the principle of being able to evenly distribute your body weight in order to be steady and remain upright. In other words, it’s your body’s ability to avoid falling or tipping over when you move or perform certain activities. blog, we will explore the stigma surrounding mental health in communities of colour, and provide some strategies for navigating these challenges.
Our body uses various anatomical and physiological inputs to stay balanced, including our sensory, muscular, vestibular, and visual systems, all of which work subconsciously all the time. With our sensory and muscular systems, your muscle and nerves send signals to your brain that processes where your body is in space, and in return, the brain sends a feedback signal to your muscles and nerves to react and move, in order to stay balanced (eg. balancing on one foot with your eyes closed). With our vestibular system, your inner ear contains canals and small organs which helps send feedback to your brain about the positioning and motion of your head; that is why many people that have inner ear conditions tend to have trouble with balance. Lastly with our visual system, your eyes detect where your body is in space, which then lets the brain know how to give feedback to the muscles and nerves to react and move. As one can tell, balance is a complex dimension of our body, which requires input from several systems in order to stabilize and have good balance.

Balance and Its Importance With Older Population

As we age, our body naturally changes and adapts, which then affects all our physiological and anatomical functions. When it comes to balance, the typical trend that one often sees is that the older you get, the worse your balance becomes (this doesn’t have to be the case! More later). There are numerous ways to objectively measure one’s health as we age, and balance is actually a very easy metric to measure, and often correlates with overall healthiness. Recent studies have shown that having poor balance is associated with all-cause mortality, and people with poor balance can have as high as 84% higher risk of all-cause mortality. What this means is that although balance isn’t the cause of people’s death, it is a very good predictor of health. To break this down, when we have poor balance, this leads to much higher chance of falls, which can lead to serious injuries such as fractures. And although breaking bones isn’t the biggest threat to your body, being hospitalized due to fractures may increase many other complications such as infection from surgery/the hospital environment, loss of cardiovascular health or shortness of breath, blood clotting, etc. This in turn may cause one to have even worse balance after they recover, which then increases further the risk of more falls in the future, and the cycle continues.

Ways To Work on Balance

The good news is that balance is something that we can work on and improve! There are different ways to work on improving balance, depending on your goals. These include working on your ability to hold static postures, your ability to balance through dynamic movement and your muscle’s strength and ability to withstand internal and external stressors. These areas will differ between person to person, and therefore it’s important that you seek help from professionals (physiotherapist, athletic therapist, personal trainer, etc.) especially if you are unaware of your body’s strength and limitations to receive guidance as to ways to improve your balance. Here are some exercises/tests you can try at home to examine your balance:
Warning: if you are unsure of your balance strength/weakness, please perform this in a safe space where you have extra supports such as a kitchen counter, table, couch, or even a second person beside you.
1) Perform a semi-tandem stance and see if you can hold for 30 seconds or longer. If yes, move on to the next step. ​​​
image 1 physio balance
semi-tandem stance balance
2) Perform a tandem stance and see if you can hold for 30 seconds or longer. If yes, move on to the next step.​​​
tandem stance balance 1
tandem stance balance 2
3) Start in a tandem stance (just like step 2), and walk in tandem on an imaginary straight line on the floor. If you are able to walk for 30 seconds or longer without losing footing or balance, move on to the next step.​​​
4) Perform a single leg stance by standing on one foot and bring your other knee to waist level height. The goal is to be as steady as possible, and with little movement of your body or arms. See how long you can hold this position and compare both legs.​​​
single leg stance balance


To wrap it all up, the concept of balance in health and wellness is simple yet requires various systems to collaboratively work together to function at their best. It’s often undervalued when it comes to rehabilitation, but it can become a game changer to your recovery, your maintenance of your health, and avoiding injuries. Balance is also a very important metric that can be used to measure a person’s overall health, especially as we age, and is very easy to measure. And if you do have some balance difficulties, it’s not the end of the world as it is a component, like anything else, that can be worked on and can improve.
Now that you’ve learned about balance and tried some of the exercises above, it’s time to take action. Body Science Therapy clinic specializes in balance training and we’re here to help you gain confidence with your balance, stay injury-free and reduce your fear to falls. Let’s work together towards a healthier, happier you.

About Body Science Therapy

Looking for top-notch physiotherapy services in Mississauga and the Greater Toronto Area? Body Science Therapy offers an integrated approach combining non-invasive, evidence-based care and customized treatment programs. They provide advanced approaches such as P-DTR, AiM, and Neurofunctional Acupuncture to address root issues of each person’s nervous system. Their experienced physiotherapists are passionate about helping clients return to peak performance and achieve their goals, regardless of their fitness level or injury severity. Get back into action as soon as possible with Body Science Therapy.
To easily search, compare and book an appointment with a physiotherapist near you, visit

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