Following on from my previous artice on Static Balance (where an individual has the ability to retain the centre of their mass above their base of support in a stationary position) , this article will explore Dynamic Balance.
Dynamic balance is the ability to balance while in motion or when changing positions. During movement, for example walking, the body is being affected by two forces, gravity and momentum, each one pulling in different directions. In dynamic balance your inner balance sensors have to work harder to keep your centre of gravity above your base of support .
When assessing dynamic balance, the test that is most commonly used is a “Timed Up and Go” test. The purpose is to determine falls risk and to measure the progress of balance, transitioning from sitting down to standing up, as well as walking ability. Originally this test was developed for elderly individuals but can also be used for those with Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, knee or hip replacements and other conditions.
During this test an individual’s balance and coordination is tested from sitting down to standing up, as this is a change in body position and orientation. Then straight away once an individual is standing they are to start walking forwards for 3 meters and navigate around a stationary object before walking back to the chair. This phase of the test looks at an individual’s ability to walk and the changes in direction it takes to move around an object. The final phase of testing is to sit back down in the chair. Again, the last part of the test is a change in body position. The safety and speed at which the whole test is conducted, determines the falls risk which is an indication of how well an individual’s dynamic balance is functioning, improving or worsening.
The whole movement combination involved in this test is testing balance in activities that we all do in our everyday lives when balance is essential.