Thursday, October 07, 2010

The Art of Balance

How does balance work anyway?  Standing or kneeling on top of an inverted Bosu ball will tell you a lot.

The first time I tried this in PT, even holding onto Jennifer it was scary.  After a few minutes I got the sense of how to react when the ball started to tip.  I could even let go of my death grip for a moment or two.
Then she told me to close my eyes and it became instantly terrifying.  The lesson here is how much sight contributes to balance.  It was literally like being on a boat at sea.  I absolutely couldn’t let go of her shoulders.  At home some of the scariness disappeared as I did my daily exercises, using the elliptical to catch me when I started to topple.
This says that blind people must have some other coping mechanism that helps them stay upright (or balance on a Bosu ball) without their eyes to make the correction.  
And why do this exercise?  Jennifer says it’s to wipe out my motor memory of balance and recreate it in a way that will serve me better.  I’m actually fairly confident now with my eyes open.  But closing them still sends me into that sea of black chaos.  What a humbling experience.
She has proposed an experiment in which I will be hooked up to a neuro-feedback system to find out exactly how my brain processes this balance experience.  Only a PhD in PT would be so curious.  I’m game!  

Jake is my exercise buddy, but he hasn't attempted to balance on the Bosu ball just yet.


Blogger Cyndy said...

I think it would be fascinating to find out how your brain processes balance and how it might differ from one person to the next. It's really cool that they can measure something like that.

4:17 PM  
Blogger e said...

That sounds intriguing...Let us know how it goes.

10:00 PM  

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