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Author Topic: center of balance- a newbie question  (Read 1812 times)
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kwilliams
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« on: September 18, 2012, 05:08:18 PM »

I'm new to minimalist/barefoot shoes. I'm also new to my Wii fit.  The Wii fit computer analyzes your balance and from what I can tell, my balance.. well.. it sucks. I was not surprised when my "computer trainer" asked me if I fall down when I walk. Just b/c I'm clumsy, no need to be rude! haha

anyway, it seems like, from the balance tests, my center of balance is to my left and I definitely favor my heels. When I followed the computer's direction to center my balance, I was shocked at how much I felt like I was leaning forward but then I realized that its likely b/c I have been walking incorrectly, that I've also been balancing incorrectly using my heels.

I'm not a runner- I do like to walk for fitness and do aerobic type activity.  With more barefoot activity and barefoot shoes being added to my casual wear as well, should my center of balance gradually shift to where its supposed to be? I definitely plan to keep working w/ the balance exercises.

thank you!
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Kelly - mom of 2, navy wife, jewelry maker and coffee addict.. new to minimalist/barefoot shoes and loving it!
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« on: September 18, 2012, 05:08:18 PM »

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« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2012, 05:33:17 PM »

I agree.  I felt as though I was leaning forward too when I did my balance test on the Wii fit.  I have not played around with it in quite some time, so I can't say if my balance has improved since I began wearing minimalist footwear.  I will have to give it a whirl and see what I come up with.  I think I tend to lean backwards naturally to compensate for the extra pounds I carry in the front.  Since the weight is still there, I doubt I will see any postural improvements, but maybe.  I wish I would have had a Wii fit 100 pounds ago, I might have actually had decent posture/balance then.
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« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2012, 05:41:31 PM »

I'm curious to see if your balance test shows your center of balance has changed!  Please update if you do the test if you don't mind!
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« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2012, 04:42:34 AM »

I`m a teacher of the Alexander Technique, and one of the main principles involved in learning it, is realizing `unreliable sensory appreciation`. In short this means you are feeling things that are incorrect. This is because neurons fire at a basic rate, which can shift. So they will only tell the brain you are leaning more forwards or backward than usual, but not an actual degree or inclination. Very often when I teach people and I `sort` things out for a pupil during a lesson as we call it sometimes, the pupil protests saying things like: `Now I feel like I`m leaning backwards.` It is always very much fun pointing them to the mirror, because they are without exception amazed to find out that they are, in fact, more upright than when they came in (and not leaning backwards).

Mr. Alexander ussed to say: "Everybody wants to be right, but no-one stops to consider if their idea of `right`is correct."
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« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2012, 04:42:34 AM »

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kwilliams
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« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2012, 10:29:20 AM »

I`m a teacher of the Alexander Technique, and one of the main principles involved in learning it, is realizing `unreliable sensory appreciation`. In short this means you are feeling things that are incorrect. This is because neurons fire at a basic rate, which can shift. So they will only tell the brain you are leaning more forwards or backward than usual, but not an actual degree or inclination. Very often when I teach people and I `sort` things out for a pupil during a lesson as we call it sometimes, the pupil protests saying things like: `Now I feel like I`m leaning backwards.` It is always very much fun pointing them to the mirror, because they are without exception amazed to find out that they are, in fact, more upright than when they came in (and not leaning backwards).

Mr. Alexander ussed to say: "Everybody wants to be right, but no-one stops to consider if their idea of `right`is correct."

this makes a lot of sense. When I was watching the Wii screen to get myself centered, I kept thinking "this can't be right" but I could SEE it on the screen. I need to keep practicing it so what seems 'wrong" to me know eventually becomes my norm. 
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Fan of Jayas, Frescas and Soft Star Shoes!
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« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2012, 12:45:36 PM »

This is something that is very big in the sports world.  Muscle memory is mentally "right" because that is how your body knows it is in the position you are used to.  I play baseball and bowl and in both sports very minute changes in the position of your hands, back, and a dozen other locations can have dramatic results.  At first you must feel like you are overcompensating.  So if you want to shift your balance you have to feel like you are not leaning a little bit, but leaning ALOT.  Your body will naturally compensate more towards your comfort level which will inevitably put you in the correct position.  After a while you will adjust but that is when you need to make sure you change your mindset to overcompensating to going back to comfortable.  Seeing yourself on the Wii Fit will help you because you will visually be able to align yourself and know when comfortable is correct.

Just an example, many competitive bowlers start with the ball too low when they line up.  To correct this, you lift the hand up to a point ABOVE where it should be, they will inevitably drop it (to the correct position) while they are walking to the line.  If you don't watch them, the hand will continue to rise as their comfort level changes because they think they still need to have a certain level of discomfort to be correctly placed.  This could happen with your balance as well.  You will originally lean WAY forward to correct yourself, but if you don't pay attention, as your comfort level changes, you will shift your center of balance well past the middle of your foot and closer to the balls of your feet and even toes. 
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« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2012, 08:51:58 AM »

thank you! I'm working on it! Its hard b/c I don't think about it, but I need to start making myself aware of my body in space.
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« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2012, 09:29:20 AM »

Thinking about it, I wonder if a lot of us lean too far forward because of being used to wearing heeled shoes? I feel the opposite should apply, as having a heel always causes you to have to tilt your body backwards...but walking with the back of the foot articificially raised must have various knock-on effects on walking and balancing long term. I know it took me ages to learn to walk comfortably in barefoot shoes.

For what it's worth I wasn't good on the Wii balance board either when I tried one time. I totally cacked-up the ski-jump and was disqualified because my feet lost contact with the board. Well, it's meant to be a ski jump, right??  Grin
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« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2012, 09:33:20 AM »

Thinking about it, I wonder if a lot of us lean too far forward because of being used to wearing heeled shoes? I feel the opposite should apply, but walking with the back of the foot articificially raised must have knock-on effects on walking and balancing.

For what it's worth I wasn't good on the Wii balance board either when I tried one time. I totally cacked-up the ski-jump and was disqualified because my feet lost contact with the board. Well, it's meant to be a ski jump, right??  Grin

I think it is actually just the opposite.  If you are wearing thicker heels, when you stand straight the majority of you body weight is on your heels, that is the focal point.  So when you take the shoes off, your only measurable is the feel of the weight on your heels, so your body is going to lean backward until your body weight is the same as it is in thick heels.
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