It's a Balancing Act for Runners! - 3 Drills for Mastering Your Coordination
Balance and Coordination? Is it necessary for me as a runner? Am I even lacking? To understand balance and coordination in the human body you have to break down 3 systems in the human body. The body utilizes three systems including the visual, proprioceptive, and vestibular systems. While we rely on the visual system predominantly, we must use a collaborative effort from all three systems to maximize our coordination. Without realizing how critical these systems are to our human movement, your body is heavily recruiting information from each system when we move at increasing velocities while running. Let's break the three systems down in elementary form and relate how each system aides runners.
This system is our workhorse or at least we hope it is. Your eyes are receiving information that the hindbrain is processing at rapid speeds. The visual field is not only directly what your eyes are focusing on rather all the information in the foreground, background, and peripheral view. Your vision can be distorted from medical conditions such as near sightedness, far sightedness, macular degeneration, cataracts, or other visual disorders. Lighting can distort visual perception. As we age we begin to lose the receptivity of light and thus we require brighter/more luminous lighting to be able to process the same information that we might have been able to process 20 years prior. This makes pre sunrise or post sunset runs a bit more challenging from a balance perspective. If you have a visual impairment that can be corrected w/ glasses or contacts be sure to utilize this equipment during your runs. This will aide to improve your balance and reduce injury risks.