HomeAgingOur 6th Sense: Balance

Did you know that balance is really our 6th sense?

Did you know that our miraculous human biology includes several more senses than the 5 senses Aristotle described – sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste?

balance, man balancing on wooden rails, men's shoes, sense of balanceProbably the most important of these others is the sense of BALANCE. But there also exists, a sense of pain, a sense of time, or a sense of direction. I’m sure we all know people who, though very intelligent, have not got a good sense of these last two. :-)

You can’t take any of these senses for balance! As your TV yoga teacher of many years, I know that balance must be practiced, just as much as muscles have to be!

Without good balance we get old before our time. Why? Because, our sense of balance becomes less acute as we age—just as does our eye-sight or hearing!
Just think, what is it that old people are most afraid of? FALLING! They all know about the disastrous results of others having fallen and want to prevent that happening to them.

As a result, they stop taking any risks by staying home more, and by starting to take tiny steps during which they don’t bend either their ankles, or the soles of the feet.
This last means that sensory feedback from our feet to the frontal lobes of our brain—where ‘gross motor control ‘ is located—is lost! We would not experience this loss of function, if we always went bare-foot, or kept changing our shoes.

Alas, all the above lack of exercise means a resultant lack of ‘mobility and flexibility’, which eventually leads to the greater frailty of older people’s limbs! Instead of resorting to walkers and canes as we age, we would therefore be better-served to exercise, or walk a dog.

Nor should we look down at our feet while walking downstairs or on uneven terrain, because then we aren’t getting much info from our feet either. According to scientists, to keep that communication with your aging feet going, it is best to start “feeling your way” with your feet again.

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