Your sense of balance relies on a dynamic process in which your brain and body take in and respond to physical information through your eyes, muscles and nervous system as you physically navigate the world. Without this feedback, your body's ability to respond to it and balance itself suffers.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
'Big Brother' was watching me last week!
I'm not referring to that reality TV show, just using the term that people use when trying to describe how 'someone in Authority knows what the ordinary person is up to' as he/she goes about everyday life. The inference has sometimes been associated with an almost sinister overtone, but my experience was much more benign.
Since 2007, I have been part of a joint research project of Queensland University of Technology and the University of Queensland, called 'Habitat'. Over those years, I had filled out 3 booklets of questions about my suburb and its facilities, my health and well being and also questions about my work and exercise.
Then a month ago I got a letter from the team saying that because of more funding being made available, the team was going to collect data on how people's faculties/physical abilities change as they age, and the team were looking for volunteers. I agreed to be part of this stage.
So that's how a charming young research officer called Genevieve came to my home to 'put me through some paces' :-)
After a short interview, I was given a survey booklet to fill out while Genevieve set up little 'activity stations' on our large side veranda...hmmm what had I let myself in for...?
Most of the activities were balance focussed...it started with simple things and gradually built up to the rather difficult 'stand on one leg for 30 seconds...with both eyes closed'...sounds easy? Try it! Lol. I managed the 30 secs on my left leg but could only manage 15 secs on my right leg. ( I hate failing at 'stuff', so afterwards Googled the scenario of standing on one leg with eyes closed and found that the brain uses a number of sources to maintain balance...vision is one source)
Other activities tested flexibility, ability to change direction quickly and another one was stepping with knees high for 2 minutes...like the 'marking time' we used to do in marching drills at school.
This all took an hour, and then it was time to brief me about what I would have to do for this project for the next 7 days...these items and I would have a very close relationship during that week...
The week went quickly and in no time at all it seemed, I was putting everything into the replied paid envelope and sending it back to the team at the university. In 2 years I will have to do it all again...in the meantime I 'm planning to keep practising those balance activities! Lol
A bit more about the origin of that term, 'Big Brother'...