Being in balance is one of those things we take for granted and don’t consciously think about. It is actually quite tricky for your brain to keep it all together with just a simple walk across the room.
After reading Finding the Right Balance last week, this validated what my “balance” instincts have been telling me. “Simple balance exercises alone won’t achieve what we want. It is novelty and unpredictability, rather than repetition, that are essential to keep your brain engaged.”
It is part of my routine to focus on activities that aren’t repetitive. I prefer hiking and trail running over road running. The terrain is varied and your body isn’t in auto-pilot. That is also a reason I don’t like a treadmill…it’s not challenging the brain.
My brain has to work even harder than most because of the benign brain tumor (vestibular schwannoma) that is pushing on my left vestibular (balance) nerve and brain stem. This type of tumor is sometimes called an acoustic neuroma. You can check out the Acoustic Neuroma Association site for more detail. (The actor Mark Ruffalo has this type of tumor as well.)
Getting enough sleep is also important to maintain balance. With your body at rest, it allows the neurons in your brain to restore themselves. I get regular check-ups to test my balance and so far the doctor is impressed with my balance endurance. It’s because I choose to practice to stay in balance.