Friday, February 29, 2008

Balancing Act

The week of Valentine's day my balance was on a decline again. It was time to practice on the BOSU (Both Sides Up) device. It had been a week since I focused on it. I have fluctuations where my balance will be doing pretty well and all of a sudden take a dip. That is why I have to continually train, walk, and keep my legs in shape. Like my friend Greg with NF2 says "Every day is a training day".

Upon using the device again I very obviously suffering from more imbalance as I had to repeatedly try standing on the BOSU for a certain length of time. I was falling off within 6 to 10 seconds and had to work my way up to 30 seconds again.

When I first started in February 2007 I could not stay on without using the wall to start out and letting go when ready. When I tried to stepup without the wall I had a difficult time even maintaining 10 seconds without falling off. The average was about 3-5 seconds. So then I started out with the device butted up against the wall and my fingertips touching the wall surface. When ready, I would release my fingers and try to stand on it as long as possible working my way to 150 seconds the evening after last year's big climb to 10 minutes in the summer prior to my surgery.

Gradually I stopped starting out facing the wall to having the wall at my side and using only one hand for support while mounting the device. Now I do not touch the wall at all and move the device about a foot to a foot and a half away stepping up free of grabbing onto anything for support.

It takes practice doing this as my body in the forward motion of stepping up wants to continue its inertia of moving ahead causing me to step off the device. So now I am working on some new muscles and a new skill to try to control my ability to stop in place after moving forward. The ability to do this is most challenging on hills or when jumping off of something as the movement wants to carry my body forward instead of stopping in its tracks. Thus when stopping to tie my shoe when walking down hill the instinct of my body is to roll downward so often I need to put out my hand for support.

Last week I was on the rise again. From 30 seconds to a minute to 2 minute to 3 I was able to achieve 4 minutes! Often I have to start again and again but this time I only mounted the device twice. The first try (a warm up) I was able to stand on it for 36 seconds. Then I concentrated really hard and was determined to make it to 2 minutes the second time but instead lasted 4 minutes!

I have also advanced to a few new exercises on it since surgery. I have started doing squats and try to work my way up to 10 without losing balance and falling off. In addition to the 4 minutes during friday's workout, I stayed on and accomplished 13 squats which is the most by far!

Here is another exercise that I sometimes practice too:

This device is great for all fitness levels! (from those needing to improve balance to pro athletes) There are several exercises you can do on it to train certain muscles and enhance skills. I am finding it very useful in strengthening my ankles, shins, and calves which help me in walking on uneven terrain, hiking, running, and even doing something as simple as tying my shoe without falling over.

Check out this page for exercises by inventor David Weck:

Check out this link for Jen's Tips:


Kathy said...

This is a very informative blog Becky. I have never heard of this BOSU Ball before. By golly I want one now to help with my balance issues I have due to Meniere's disease. I'm glad this product helps you out! =)

Rebecca said...

This device is totally cool!

check out the links

for more information.

I go to Gold's gym where they have them. I am sure you can probably find them for sale on amazon or maybe ebay. Dunham's Sports in town might have them or be able to order one for you.

Ask if the YMCA has one you can try out. There is also a Gold's gym in Escanaba when I lived there 11 years ago (never went in there). At least here they have a free 1 week trial membership. Look into it and see if they carry the BOSU.