5 Minutes a Day to Help Keep You Safer This Winter
Falls can be serious.
We have had a mild winter in central Indiana this year, but we aren’t out of the woods yet. Some people can tolerate a fall on the ice and only suffer from a bruised ego – for others it can be the start of a serious life changing event.
Simple prevention can prevent serious injuries.
Accidents are bound to happen. Even the most careful person will eventually be placed in a situation where they need to have cat like balance and agility. Of course, we want to try and prevent falls on the ice, but what can we do when the unavoidable happens?
Proprioceptors tell your brain where you are in space.
What really needs to be developed are your body’s proprioceptors. Proprioceptors are sensors in your body that tell you where you are in space. If you close your eyes and try to bring your index finger towards your nose it is the proprioceptors that are doing a lot of the work. They tell your brain where your index finger is in relation to your nose so your brain can figure out which muscles to use to complete the task.
Test your proprioceptors.
Here is a simple test you can do. With your shoes off, try looking straight ahead and standing on one leg. Now, try the other leg. Were you able to stand rock solid or did you wobble – perhaps even fall? Let’s kick it up a notch by having you stand on each leg, but this time with your arms crossed across your chest. How did you do this time? Was it even harder? For the final challenge stand on each leg, with your arms crossed and your eyes closed. How did that go?
You should be able to stand for at least 20 seconds rock solid with your arms crossed and your eyes closed. If not, you need to read the self-treatment section to help increase your proprioception!
Develop your proprioceptors.
Luckily, this problem can be helped with some self-treatment. To develop your proprioceptors, practice standing without shoes on each leg- I would suggest starting with 5 minutes a day. Make sure you are close to a wall for balance and support so you don’t fall. You will find that the balance often improves quickly. As you develop steadiness, you can progress to practicing with your arms crossed. Once that becomes steady, add in the final element – closed eyes.
To help resolve old injuries osteopathic manipulation is effective.
Proprioceptors are often damaged during simple trauma like a sprained ankle (and the trauma is not always as obvious as an ankle sprain). We tend to not rehabilitate these injuries and so these problems can fester for years. Without the proper alignment and function, proprioceptors cannot function optimally. If you experience aches and pains, that can be a sign of altered function and its best to have an evaluation. Prevention of problems is key!