Ever watch Star Trek?
Personally, my memories are watching with my father, who was a bigger fan than I. But I can recall the famous exchange between the bold Capt. Kirk and his chief engineer, Scotty.
Kirk: “Scotty, the ship is listing. We need all the power you got to level her out.”
Scotty: “Captain, I’m giving her all she’s got. I don’t have enough power.”
Since we live on this wonderful earth and not out in space, we are all subject to gravity as soon as we get out of bed to encounter our day. As we begin to move our bodies, different parts begin sending us signals about the world around us and how we are moving through it. One such amazing mechanism is our equilibrium. Playing the role of captain, your equilibrium is a primary tool in detecting position changes and relaying the information, along with appropriate corrections and adjustments, to the rest of the body. So whether your intent is to move or stay in one place, it is good to have a great captain calling the shots so you can keep on course.
But there is another role in this process that is just as important. Not as flashy, choosing to do the brunt of the work in the background, your muscles rarely get the credit they deserve. These are the work-horses, the engines that heed the signals sent by the bossy brain, and respond accordingly. That is, if they can.
Your balance is not just about your equilibrium. It is also about having great muscles. Moving your body through life requires both roles to be played by strong players. In fact, if one is weak, the other is useless. For example, if someone pushes you, a healthy equilibrium would tell you to “right” yourself so not to fall, but if you are too weak to stop your momentum, you are going down anyway. This scenario may play out like this:
(your body shifts too far to the right)
Equilibrium: “Muscles, we are listing to the right. Bring us back up.”
Muscles: “I can’t do it captain. We don’t have the strength.”
Equilibrium: “Did you hear me, muscles? Give it all you’ve got!”
Muscles: “Still too weak captain. Save yourself!”
(body hits the ground. “snapping” sound is heard)
Equilibrium: “Good job. We’ve stopped. What was that sound?”
Here’s the good news: both your equilibrium and your muscles respond to exercise. You can improve your equilibrium through movement, causing it to become more sensitive and allowing it to read the signals you send on a daily basis. Likewise, improving your muscles through strength training gives you stronger equipment to respond to the signals and right your ship. So, move your body with some consistent care, and equip your ship with the ability to stay upright and on course.
Mark Moreland is the owner of Body Outfitters Personal Training Studio in Zionsville and has 13 years of experience as a personal trainer. Mark welcomes your comments and ideas for future topics. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.