Physical Therapy Exercises for Balance at MediLodge of Taylor

As physical and occupational therapists, we understand that good balance is the foundation for all movement activities as well as functional activities.  In the physical and occupational therapy departments here at MediLodge of Taylor, we strive to maximize a person’s quality of life by focusing on several categories, including strength, posture, mobility, gait and function.  Having good balance is the foundation for each one of these categories.

Taylor Balance

By performing balance exercises, you help to strengthen the appropriate muscles in your lower legs that are needed for movement activities.  Having an aligned center balance point helps the individual to have an upright posture, which reduces friction on the joints, thereby decreasing pain in the joints and surrounding muscles.  Balance training is the key to having good posture.  Equilibrium exercises also help to enhance mobility.  By having a good balanced base of support, the extremities are able to produce force and complete the tasks efficiently.  Furthermore, having to balance is critical for gait.  When we walk, we spend time balancing on one foot during the stance phase of walking.  Consequently, practicing balance exercises for standing on one foot is essential for maintaining stability while walking.

 

Balance training is essential to perform before starting a stretching program.  Stability exercises will help you stay grounded while you reach out to touch your toes or reach back behind you to stretch the back.  Many stretching positions can put you in a position of being off balance.  That is why it is essential to practice equilibrium routines before you start to stretch.

Monroe OT

Finally, having good stability is critical for all functional movements including our activities of daily living.  We all need balance skills for reaching overhead into a cupboard without falling backwards. Additionally, moving from sitting to standing requires stability so that we do not fall forwards when we get up.  Going up and down stairs also requires balance abilities to maintain proper momentum and to keep from tripping and falling.  As physical and occupational therapists, we know that good balance is a foundation required to perform all these movements.

 

In physical and occupational therapy, we apply balance activities to most of the exercises that we have our patients perform.  For example, to increase balance skills, or to build strength and core muscles as well as help those sore shoulder muscles heal, we can add standing on a soft or uneven surface while performing shoulder strengthening exercises.  To help build muscle strength that supports arthritic knees, we often train the hamstring and quadriceps muscles to perform strengthening exercises while on a balance board.  The added challenge of imbalance enhances strength and balance abilities at the same time.  Additionally, in therapy we make sure to challenge our postoperative hip and knee replacement folks with their balance during walking.  We often add obstacles like stepping over cones or on and off different size steps to advance coordination, proprioception and stability.

Montrose Therapy Success small 2012

Who says physical therapy can’t be fun?

April is Occupational Therapy Month.  We would like to acknowledge our Occupational Therapists and recognize the differences they make in our Lodger’s lives:  Julia Gile, Lynaire Days, Mala Sabnas, Stacy Schubert-Winters and Christine Plonka.  THANK YOU!

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