According to recent research, if you’re a flamingo, standing on one leg can allow the other half of your body to relax, so you don’t use too much energy.
The same is not true for humans of course! If you’ve ever had a balance evaluation you may have timed how long you can stand on 1 leg. So should you practice doing it, and what would it mean if you could stand there for longer?
A 1 leg stand is the simplest way many people think about assessing their balance. And being able to do so comes with some advantages: being able to put on pants or shoes without sitting down, a certain satisfaction from holding a yoga tree pose, or because some members of your family or friendship group can’t do it.
And it does reveal something about your balance.
But in the real world you care about good balance because it allows you to walk and talk, run and jump, sometimes not rely so heavily on vision, being able to turn your head, sit down, stand up and therefore unless you train and challenge your balance while doing these things, standing on one leg may give you an incorrect view of how good your balance really is.
When you stand on 1 leg it doesn’t prepare you for running or jumping, because in those movements, your leg is not static, it’s swinging, ready for the next step or leap.
Even for putting on pants, you need to be able to bend and straighten in order to reach the pants in the first place. And that head movement makes a big difference. Firstly, because your head is heavy, so it’s the most challenging body part to move from a muscle strength perspective. And then because a major part of your balance sensory system – your inner ear – is sending signals to your brain about which way is up and where the muscles need to fire to keep you upright. It matters whether the movement you’re making is large or small. Being able to make a small movement (lifting up one foot) doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll also be able to perform the larger movement (bending down to put on your pants or shoes).
A better way to measure your balance is with an appropriate medical device, designed by experts and tested with various populations for over 15 years. The ZIBRIO SmartScale also comes with a free app to help you understand your score and learn how to improve your balance.
Originally published by Zibrio: https://bit.ly/2ERaqAh