20 Jan 2005 16:45:55
Mrs Redboots
Balance pad

Someone mentioned working with a balance pad - was it Sling? I have
bought an inflatable one, but so far, even standing on it seems like an
adventure (and Husband finds the same, so it's not just me!) and I can't
begin to do any of the exercises they suggest.

Anybody any ideas?
--
"Mrs Redboots" mailto:annabel@amsmyth.demon.co.uk
http://www.amsmyth.demon.co.uk/
Website updated 2 January 2005




20 Jan 2005 21:35:06
Doris Penndorf
Re: Balance pad


"Mrs Redboots" <Annabel@amsmyth.demon.co.uk > wrote in message
news:WLIe5pEDB+7BFwkP@amsmyth.demon.co.uk...
> Someone mentioned working with a balance pad - was it Sling? I have
> bought an inflatable one, but so far, even standing on it seems like an
> adventure (and Husband finds the same, so it's not just me!) and I can't
> begin to do any of the exercises they suggest.
>
> Anybody any ideas?

I used it briefly in rehab and have read about it alot. Just standing on 2
feet as a start is good to get the proprioceptors in your feet to make nicy
with your brain. Then try closing your eyes but have something to grab onto
right nearby. See how long you can stand by spotting (look at something at
your eyelevel like a spot on the wall ahead of you. Then go to one foot
(and hold onto something initially.) Next stand a little ways away for it
and step up onto it, one foot, then bring up the other, and step down off it
one foot at a time. Take it slow and build up till you feel more steady.

Many times the exercises that come with these things are really quite
advanced for us everyday folk. My mini-trampoline accomplishes the same
thing, but I think I am going to order one of these pads as well. Is it the
half globe type? My athletic rehab equip catalog has all sorts of these
things and videos and booklets too. For such a simple thing they sure are
expensive! But I must admit it was a fun challenge and helpful the few
times I used it.
> --
> "Mrs Redboots" mailto:annabel@amsmyth.demon.co.uk
> http://www.amsmyth.demon.co.uk/
> Website updated 2 January 2005
>
>




21 Jan 2005 17:10:58
Mrs Redboots
Re: Balance pad

Doris Penndorf wrote to rec.sport.skating.ice.recreational on Thu, 20
Jan 2005:

>I used it briefly in rehab and have read about it alot. Just standing on 2
>feet as a start is good to get the proprioceptors in your feet to make nicy
>with your brain. Then try closing your eyes but have something to grab onto
>right nearby. See how long you can stand by spotting (look at something at
>your eyelevel like a spot on the wall ahead of you. Then go to one foot
>(and hold onto something initially.) Next stand a little ways away for it
>and step up onto it, one foot, then bring up the other, and step down off it
>one foot at a time. Take it slow and build up till you feel more steady.
>
Thanks, I'm doing that. It's small enough that it can be left out in
the sitting room so it gets used. Today I put it on my chair, sat on
it, and swung my legs back and forth, and discovered the hard way that
this worked my lower abs rather harder than they're used to!

>Many times the exercises that come with these things are really quite
>advanced for us everyday folk. My mini-trampoline accomplishes the same
>thing, but I think I am going to order one of these pads as well. Is it the
>half globe type? My athletic rehab equip catalog has all sorts of these
>things and videos and booklets too. For such a simple thing they sure are
>expensive! But I must admit it was a fun challenge and helpful the few
>times I used it.

Yes, it's like a large plastic cushion with spikes on it (for
stimulating the feet), and it wasn't expensive - I found it in among the
sports equipment in a local department store. The first one I had to
take back as the pump broke the first time I tried to use it, but this
one is fine.
--
"Mrs Redboots" mailto:annabel@amsmyth.demon.co.uk
http://www.amsmyth.demon.co.uk/
Website updated 2 January 2005




21 Jan 2005 17:18:20
Phil Earnhardt
Re: Balance pad

On Thu, 20 Jan 2005 16:45:55 +0000, Mrs Redboots
<Annabel@amsmyth.demon.co.uk > wrote:

>Someone mentioned working with a balance pad - was it Sling?

I spoke of the Airex balance pad -- not an inflatable one.
http://www.alcanairex.com/products/e/200/260_e.htm

I contrasted to the Aeromat balance pad, which doesn't feel nearly as
nice. And it looks just the same from the pictures! www.aeromats.com

> I have
>bought an inflatable one, but so far, even standing on it seems like an
>adventure (and Husband finds the same, so it's not just me!) and I can't
>begin to do any of the exercises they suggest.

I understand what you are talking about. IMHO, I think a lot of people
see the same thing with the Fitter1 big wobble board. They're just too
damn hard for people to use to really benefit from.

I like fitter1's rocker board. The rock is nice and organic and you
can "balance" at a particular angle -- not necessarily flat. And
there's plenty of challenge in such a board. Just close your eyes...

My other fave is fitter1's weeble boards -- 2 individual wobble boards
for both feet. Balance is both easier and harder than the big wobble
boards. And the weebles demand that you engage your adducters. Anyone
who understands that "core strength" really applies all the way from
your feet to your head will want to include the adductors in their
work. http://www.fitter1.com/weeble-board.html

>Anybody any ideas?

Return it. Ditch it. Or find a smooth 3/4" disk as big or bigger than
the pad to put on top of it. Fitter1 sells these, or you can easily
make one yourself. Make sure there are no splinters. That should make
your infatable easier to ... stand on.

It's too bad that NetFlix doesn't have an option where you can try
destabalizing devices rather than DVDs. A proprioceptor of the month
club, perhaps.

Clubs are adopting the BOSU, but even those are pretty damn hard to
use correctly. BOSU injuries are popping up. And most exercisers don't
have a clue: the challenge is to relax your superificials and allow
your deep muscles to engage.

Get the Airex pad -- you can buy from Power Systems (
www.power-systems.com ). And they come from Germany (Switzerland?);
you should be able to find it on your side of the pond.

I'm a 4-year Pilates student (and I did get my IHRSA Level 1 inline
instructor certification years ago). I'm very interested in the
tensegrity nature of mind/body work. I will be publishing a book list
and a toy list on my new website shortly.

--phil
The Tensegrity Tutor



21 Jan 2005 17:23:07
Phil Earnhardt
Re: Balance pad

On Fri, 21 Jan 2005 17:10:58 +0000, Mrs Redboots
<Annabel@amsmyth.demon.co.uk > wrote:

>Yes, it's like a large plastic cushion with spikes on it (for
>stimulating the feet), and it wasn't expensive - I found it in among the
>sports equipment in a local department store. The first one I had to
>take back as the pump broke the first time I tried to use it, but this
>one is fine.

Have you seen the Yamuna Foot Savers?
http://www.yamunabodyrolling.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=FSK&Category_Code=E&Store_Code=0127

These are half-balls for myofascial release in your feet. The feel of
these guys is just right; your foot muscles will release if you're
patient enough. Killer toys.

Trivia fact: they're made by Ledraplastic, the principal manufacturer
of "Swiss Balls" (except that the plant is in Italy).

--phil



22 Jan 2005 11:38:37
Mrs Redboots
Re: Balance pad

Phil Earnhardt wrote to rec.sport.skating.ice.recreational on Fri, 21
Jan 2005:

>>Anybody any ideas?
>
>Return it. Ditch it. Or find a smooth 3/4" disk as big or bigger than
>the pad to put on top of it. Fitter1 sells these, or you can easily
>make one yourself. Make sure there are no splinters. That should make
>your infatable easier to ... stand on.
>
Oh, I'm enjoying it now. Managed to follow Doris' idea of standing
still and focussing on just one point for at least a minute earlier
today - the point happened to be a cobweb on the wall, which I must go
and dust off in a minute.

I'm also finding that putting it on my chair and sitting on it is great
- especially if I then straighten my knees and flex them again. 2 sets
of 20 reps of that and I know I have lower ab muscles! My push-pull toy
doesn't seem to address those at all, although I can do 50 reps non-stop
(but today I did 25, then did 20 lower abs, then repeated the set, which
I think will be the pattern in future).
--
"Mrs Redboots" mailto:annabel@amsmyth.demon.co.uk
http://www.amsmyth.demon.co.uk/
Website updated 2 January 2005




22 Jan 2005 19:27:10
The Walsh Family
Re: Balance pad

I found that good crosstrainer sneakers or standing on a bit of wood on top
helps keep it from pinching your foot
Lyle
p.s. it also helps to look down!


"Mrs Redboots" <Annabel@amsmyth.demon.co.uk > wrote in message
news:WLIe5pEDB+7BFwkP@amsmyth.demon.co.uk...
> Someone mentioned working with a balance pad - was it Sling? I have
> bought an inflatable one, but so far, even standing on it seems like an
> adventure (and Husband finds the same, so it's not just me!) and I can't
> begin to do any of the exercises they suggest.
>
> Anybody any ideas?
> --
> "Mrs Redboots" mailto:annabel@amsmyth.demon.co.uk
> http://www.amsmyth.demon.co.uk/
> Website updated 2 January 2005
>
>





22 Jan 2005 20:58:07
Phil Earnhardt
Re: Balance pad

On Sat, 22 Jan 2005 11:38:37 +0000, Mrs Redboots
<Annabel@amsmyth.demon.co.uk > wrote:

>Phil Earnhardt wrote to rec.sport.skating.ice.recreational on Fri, 21
>Jan 2005:
>
>>>Anybody any ideas?
>>
>>Return it. Ditch it. Or find a smooth 3/4" disk as big or bigger than
>>the pad to put on top of it. Fitter1 sells these, or you can easily
>>make one yourself. Make sure there are no splinters. That should make
>>your infatable easier to ... stand on.
>>
>Oh, I'm enjoying it now. Managed to follow Doris' idea of standing
>still and focussing on just one point for at least a minute earlier
>today - the point happened to be a cobweb on the wall, which I must go
>and dust off in a minute.

But what if you can't balance after removing the cobweb? ;-)

>I'm also finding that putting it on my chair and sitting on it is great
>- especially if I then straighten my knees and flex them again. 2 sets
>of 20 reps of that and I know I have lower ab muscles! My push-pull toy
>doesn't seem to address those at all, although I can do 50 reps non-stop
>(but today I did 25, then did 20 lower abs, then repeated the set, which
>I think will be the pattern in future).

There is a small ball -- the gymnic overball -- that has gained a lot
of popularity in some Pilates circles. You can see one of 'em between
the knees of the model on the homepage of www.balldynamics.com .

In her book "Abs on the Ball", Colleen Craig demonstrates another
application: she sits on a Swiss Ball while placing each foot on a
half-inflated overball. This is very challenging! It also gives a
strong connection to our feet while sitting.

Mrs. Redboots: there may be a fundamental disconnect with many of my
suggestions. I'll usually be talking about top-shelf proprioception
toys; it's generally unlikely that low-price stores will sell such
things. There are a few stores in my area that sell product from
Fitter1.com and balldynamics.com , but I fear that few locales stock
such devices in abundance.

--phil



23 Jan 2005 12:55:42
Mrs Redboots
Re: Balance pad

Phil Earnhardt wrote to rec.sport.skating.ice.recreational on Sat, 22
Jan 2005:

>Mrs. Redboots: there may be a fundamental disconnect with many of my
>suggestions. I'll usually be talking about top-shelf proprioception
>toys; it's generally unlikely that low-price stores will sell such
>things.

And even more unlikely that I could afford them! :-) So I make the
best of what I have.
--
"Mrs Redboots" mailto:annabel@amsmyth.demon.co.uk
http://www.amsmyth.demon.co.uk/
Website updated 2 January 2005




23 Jan 2005 09:59:01
Phil Earnhardt
Re: Balance pad

On Sun, 23 Jan 2005 12:55:42 +0000, Mrs Redboots
<Annabel@amsmyth.demon.co.uk > wrote:

>Phil Earnhardt wrote to rec.sport.skating.ice.recreational on Sat, 22
>Jan 2005:
>
>>There is a small ball -- the gymnic overball -- that has gained a lot
>>of popularity in some Pilates circles. You can see one of 'em between
>>the knees of the model on the homepage of www.balldynamics.com .
>>In her book "Abs on the Ball", Colleen Craig demonstrates another
>>application: she sits on a Swiss Ball while placing each foot on a
>>half-inflated overball. This is very challenging! It also gives a
>>strong connection to our feet while sitting.
>
>>Mrs. Redboots: there may be a fundamental disconnect with many of my
>>suggestions. I'll usually be talking about top-shelf proprioception
>>toys; it's generally unlikely that low-price stores will sell such
>>things.
>
>And even more unlikely that I could afford them! :-) So I make the
>best of what I have.

Which begs the question: how well could people ever perform in their
recreational skating if they bought their equipment from low-price
stores? Or how far would beginning figure skaters get if they decided
that they couldn't afford any instruction or coaching?

For what it's worth (to coin a phrase), froogle.google.com reports
that the gymnic overballs are available for $4 each here in the
States.

--phil



23 Jan 2005 18:27:43
Doris Penndorf
Re: Balance pad

>
> Which begs the question: how well could people ever perform in their
> recreational skating if they bought their equipment from low-price
> stores? Or how far would beginning figure skaters get if they decided
> that they couldn't afford any instruction or coaching?

With lots of practice, determination, committment, love of the sport.
Remember long ago, skaters had much different skates, practiced outdoors,
wore old wool sweaters and mittens and hats, and took instruction when they
could afford it even if it was just a 15 minute session.....many of them
rose to high level skaters.
>
> For what it's worth (to coin a phrase), froogle.google.com reports
> that the gymnic overballs are available for $4 each here in the
> States.
>
> --phil

Many people do not have disposable income for all the little extras
available from specialty vendors. A friend of mine made a wobble board for
me using 3/4" plywood, cut out a large circle, then attached underneath a
large ball that comes with its own screw (I think it is used on stairway
posts), all via local home center, and certainly at far less than what I
have seen in athletic catalogs. It works fine for me! Sometimes with some
imagination and spare parts, we can make the same item for far less.

And not everyone likes to shop off the internet........
>




23 Jan 2005 23:32:34
Phil Earnhardt
Re: Balance pad

wOn Sun, 23 Jan 2005 18:27:43 GMT, "Doris Penndorf"
<doris_m_penndorf@sbcglobal.net > wrote:

>> Which begs the question: how well could people ever perform in their
>> recreational skating if they bought their equipment from low-price
>> stores? Or how far would beginning figure skaters get if they decided
>> that they couldn't afford any instruction or coaching?
>
>With lots of practice, determination, committment, love of the sport.
>Remember long ago, skaters had much different skates, practiced outdoors,
>wore old wool sweaters and mittens and hats, and took instruction when they
>could afford it even if it was just a 15 minute session.....many of them
>rose to high level skaters.

Of course. And someone can learn proprioception and balance skills
with amazingly little equipment. In fact, a dedicated individual can
learn many such skills with imagination itself -- that's about as
cheap as it gets. But most are not willing to take such a "pure"
path.

In the NG's figure skating discussion, I presume that few individuals
are willing to take the path that you are implying. Your platitude is
interesting, but my guess is that, as a practical matter, nobody in
the NG has ever recommend the "Wal-Mart Route" for anyone to pursue
figure skating today.

>> For what it's worth (to coin a phrase), froogle.google.com reports
>> that the gymnic overballs are available for $4 each here in the
>> States.
>
>Many people do not have disposable income for all the little extras
>available from specialty vendors.

But they do have the money for doctor visits and pills and surgeries
that such "little extras" might allow us to obviate. We do indeed live
in strange times.

>And not everyone likes to shop off the internet........

You misunderstood. The point of the price quote to get a [low] price
range for the device, not necessarily to buy on the Internet.

--phil



24 Jan 2005 08:06:59
S.P.
Re: Balance pad

> proprioception and balance skills

I think the thing is, to bring people along from stage to stage so that
they themselves experience the benefits, and become curious or
motivated to want more.

Figure skates example:

I've progressed from $7 skates, to $125 skates, to $650 skates (and now
wouldn't bat an eye at $850 for boots alone for a true custom boot).
At each step up, there was a timely teacher's recommendation -- and
there was also my own development and readiness for experiencing where
I was, and wanting more.

The first step up was based entirely on trusting my teacher's
recommendation, that my $7 skates would hold me back in my skating
progess from this point on: but this was after a year of lessons
already, and I had started (or was about to start) the waltz jump (as I
recall).

Thinking back, it's entirely likely that my teacher spent that whole
first year being appalled at my floppy skates with about as much
support as a Kleenex (in fact, I recall skating sometimes in rentals, I
believe on her recommendation, in order to get more support, not that I
could tell support from a hole in the ground at that point) -- but she
drew me along step by step rather than hit me with the new skate outlay
right away. (And at the time $125 was a lot of money on my grad
student stipend, and the most I'd ever spent for any one thing in my
life -- apart from rent.)

The second step up was based both on my teacher's recommendation, and
on my own experience of not being able to do everything I wanted to do
and could see others doing. I didn't know enough in advance to realize
*how much* difference the new skates would make, but I had a depth of
experience that let me know I did want more than what I had now.

I know these anecdotes could be read as, "in each case my teacher was
right". But I read them as, "in each case my teacher combined their
recommendation with my own experience of having gotten as far as I
could go with my current equipment." And in each case, I did achieve
things before needing to step up to the next level.

In the case of balance pads, the relevant steps to me would be, what
does the skater want to do? OK, let's assume that's easy: we all want
to improve our balance!

Next step: what kinds of things can they do with what they have now?
Annabel has already improvised some things with her current tools.

Next step: what kinds of things do they want more, that they can't get
yet? And why would different equipment help that? And do they want
them enough to go that next step? I don't know if Annabel is to that
point yet. And I haven't yet seen answers about that yet either, even
for the person who does want to go the next step up.

As in skating, the first things we want to do give way to later goals.
I started skating wanting to learn to skate backwards, and my first
skates sufficed for that. Eventually I wanted to be able to do more
things, and *then* I needed better skates.

Similarly for balance and proprioception -- as skaters, we here are
presumably all clear on our need for balance. However, we may be at
different stages in learning how involved balance is with the
functioning of our entire bodies, what the technical term
"proprioception" has to do with it all, and even more astonishingly,
how improved body sense can help with injury prevention and good health
apart from the obvious of "less falls."

__Sharon



24 Jan 2005 22:04:24
Doris Penndorf
Re: Balance pad

Well said and thank you!


"S.P." <pedersen17@hotmail.com > wrote in message
news:1106582819.939896.27960@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com...
> > proprioception and balance skills
>
> I think the thing is, to bring people along from stage to stage so that
> they themselves experience the benefits, and become curious or
> motivated to want more.
>
> Figure skates example:
>
> I've progressed from $7 skates, to $125 skates, to $650 skates (and now
> wouldn't bat an eye at $850 for boots alone for a true custom boot).
> At each step up, there was a timely teacher's recommendation -- and
> there was also my own development and readiness for experiencing where
> I was, and wanting more.
>
> The first step up was based entirely on trusting my teacher's
> recommendation, that my $7 skates would hold me back in my skating
> progess from this point on: but this was after a year of lessons
> already, and I had started (or was about to start) the waltz jump (as I
> recall).
>
> Thinking back, it's entirely likely that my teacher spent that whole
> first year being appalled at my floppy skates with about as much
> support as a Kleenex (in fact, I recall skating sometimes in rentals, I
> believe on her recommendation, in order to get more support, not that I
> could tell support from a hole in the ground at that point) -- but she
> drew me along step by step rather than hit me with the new skate outlay
> right away. (And at the time $125 was a lot of money on my grad
> student stipend, and the most I'd ever spent for any one thing in my
> life -- apart from rent.)
>
> The second step up was based both on my teacher's recommendation, and
> on my own experience of not being able to do everything I wanted to do
> and could see others doing. I didn't know enough in advance to realize
> *how much* difference the new skates would make, but I had a depth of
> experience that let me know I did want more than what I had now.
>
> I know these anecdotes could be read as, "in each case my teacher was
> right". But I read them as, "in each case my teacher combined their
> recommendation with my own experience of having gotten as far as I
> could go with my current equipment." And in each case, I did achieve
> things before needing to step up to the next level.
>
> In the case of balance pads, the relevant steps to me would be, what
> does the skater want to do? OK, let's assume that's easy: we all want
> to improve our balance!
>
> Next step: what kinds of things can they do with what they have now?
> Annabel has already improvised some things with her current tools.
>
> Next step: what kinds of things do they want more, that they can't get
> yet? And why would different equipment help that? And do they want
> them enough to go that next step? I don't know if Annabel is to that
> point yet. And I haven't yet seen answers about that yet either, even
> for the person who does want to go the next step up.
>
> As in skating, the first things we want to do give way to later goals.
> I started skating wanting to learn to skate backwards, and my first
> skates sufficed for that. Eventually I wanted to be able to do more
> things, and *then* I needed better skates.
>
> Similarly for balance and proprioception -- as skaters, we here are
> presumably all clear on our need for balance. However, we may be at
> different stages in learning how involved balance is with the
> functioning of our entire bodies, what the technical term
> "proprioception" has to do with it all, and even more astonishingly,
> how improved body sense can help with injury prevention and good health
> apart from the obvious of "less falls."
>
> __Sharon
>




27 Jan 2005 21:24:35
Phil Earnhardt
Re: Balance pad

On 24 Jan 2005 08:06:59 -0800, "S.P." <pedersen17@hotmail.com > wrote:

>In the case of balance pads, the relevant steps to me would be, what
>does the skater want to do? OK, let's assume that's easy: we all want
>to improve our balance!

That would be one goal. But another thing available with the Airex
balance pad is to relax one's feet. AFAICT, this pad is the closest
indoor approximation to walking on the beach that I've ever seen.

>As in skating, the first things we want to do give way to later goals.
>I started skating wanting to learn to skate backwards, and my first
>skates sufficed for that. Eventually I wanted to be able to do more
>things, and *then* I needed better skates.

This is much more difficult with balance/proprioception aids. What do
people want? How do they even know what's available? How would "being
able to relax my feet like I'm walking on sand" show up as a priority?

Would they seek out an expert on such devices? How would they know if
devices they cobbled together themselves were effective -- or even
safe? Is the ball at the bottom of a banister really a safe thing to
create a wobble board with? I really don't know.

>Similarly for balance and proprioception -- as skaters, we here are
>presumably all clear on our need for balance. However, we may be at
>different stages in learning how involved balance is with the
>functioning of our entire bodies, what the technical term
>"proprioception" has to do with it all, and even more astonishingly,
>how improved body sense can help with injury prevention and good health
>apart from the obvious of "less falls."

Would skaters realize that there are different levels of challenge
with balance aids, and that less challenge may well be more effective?

In your story, you had the benefit of instruction from the beginning.
Would skaters seek out advice on balance/proprioception aids from a
qualified source -- a fitness instructor, or maybe their skating
instructor? Or would they approach a wobble board as a commodity like
a CD Player or a toaster?

>__Sharon

--phil



01 Feb 2005 16:33:26
S.P.
Re: Balance pad

I went back and looked up Phil's earlier balance pad mention in the
"West Side balance exercise" thread http://tinyurl.com/6sqafand
realized that I had forgotten that Phil had described the keys for
balance very clearly over there.

Here are some of Phil's comments from that thread:

> I don't equate balance with being still. Many achieve balanc=ADe by
> tightening the superficial muscles of the leg they're balanc=ADing on;

> that tends to have a quality of stillness. But true balance =ADis
> achieved by relaxing those muscles -- allowing the deep musc=ADles to
> maintain the balance. And (brilliantly!) those muscles to th=ADeir
thing
> by constant micro-shifts. And they're pretty darn good at ba=ADlance
--
> once we let go of our superficial layers.

I completely agree with all of this. What I now understand (and missed
Phil's point earlier about in this thread), is that some balance
tools/toys will help discover that stillness and inner balance; while
others will not.

I've been trying to analyze *why* less destabilization can be better
than more, and have come to believe this example: I have a round wobble
board. I sometimes practice balancing or revolving on one foot on it.
I can sort of do it but not very well yet and generally prop myself up
lightly on the wall with my fingers, or else tense up in my legs and
body as I try to balance (wobble wildly) and get it to go where I want.
If I had the rectangular rocker board, that can only rock in one
direction at a time, then I could practice balancing or tilting in one
direction only and be able to focus on the deep stillness in a more
restricted and simpler (in some sense!) setting, without having my
superficial muscles tense up and get in the act because my deep still
balance is overchallenged.

So it seems also with balance pads... some could make it easier to
explore the still deep center of balance, or the totally analytically
unexpected results of sand-like micromassage/microdestabilization of
the foot, or even other features that I won't even know are beneficial
until I experience them or benefit from someone else's more experienced
report. While other pads just might not be built with the technology
to make that possible.

I've had a couple of other discoveries that have me believing that
progress in this area can be via utterly unexpected directions, things
that would seem odd or irrelevant or unneccessary when I first heard of
them (I was pointed towards these by Phil, as it happens, not so
coincidentally :-) :

Discovery 1: massaging the bottom of the feet with a small ball results
in better ability to bend over. Try it: stand up, bend over with
straight (but not locked) knees and see how far you get. Then massage
one foot over a tennis ball, all over from the toe pads to the heel and
everywhere side to side. Then do the bend over test again. Notice
differences from before, and between sides. Then massage the other
foot. Then bend over again. Notice the differences from before. I
was utterly blown away by the ability for massaging my foot to change
the stiffness in my back, so far away from my feet, which usually makes
it hard for me to bend over.

Discovery 2: this is using the FitBalls available from Ball Dynamics,
and their Body Release DVD (I thought I didn't really need the DVD, but
got it anyway, and am really glad I did, because it gave me far more
effective ideas than I would have had on my own about how to use
these). Anyway, acquire the 7" Beginner ball. Perform body release
rolling for pelvis, spine, shoulders. Stand up. Discover that your
back no longer hurts, your spine is no longer twisted, you no longer
have to strain to feel relatively balanced and aligned, and that
skating (and all of life) feels much much more comfortable and easy,
including especially the parts of skating (or anywhere else in life)
where you're trying to be upright/aligned/balanced/etc.

Part of the phenomenal discovery with the FitBalls and Body Release for
me was that things I'd been trying to achieve by using muscles -- e.g.
pull my twisted spine around so shoulders are parallel to hips -- were
going to be very hard (if not impossible) to achieve that way; whereas
once I'd done the body release thingie and kneaded out all the
difficulties, everything felt natural and easy all over.

So, I stand open to more information and think I understand better what
Phil was trying to bring out earlier in this thread; it didn't make
complete sense to me until I remembered the other thread to put it in
context with.

__Sharon



01 Feb 2005 17:06:16
S.P.
Re: Balance pad

I made another post inspired by, but not quoting, this one.
In this post I'm doing the more traditional line-by-line response.

Phil Earnhardt wrote:
> On 24 Jan 2005 08:06:59 -0800, "S.P." <pedersen17@hotmail.com> wrote:
>
> >In the case of balance pads, the relevant steps to me would be, what
> >does the skater want to do? OK, let's assume that's easy: we all
want
> >to improve our balance!
>
> That would be one goal. But another thing available with the Airex
> balance pad is to relax one's feet. AFAICT, this pad is the closest
> indoor approximation to walking on the beach that I've ever seen.

Aha! In my other post replying to this, I mentioned learning how
foot-stuff can have a far-reaching effect beyond just my feet. So now
I believe that it could indeed be remarkable to have an Airex pad to do
its stuff with.

> >As in skating, the first things we want to do give way to later
goals.
> >I started skating wanting to learn to skate backwards, and my first
> >skates sufficed for that. Eventually I wanted to be able to do more
> >things, and *then* I needed better skates.

I was inadvertantly misleading previously -- I knew how to skate,
forwards, since I was a child, long before I took lessons. I should
have said, "I started skating *lessons* wanting to learn to skate
backwards." That was in graduate school. (And if I'd had a clue to
how to figure out how to skate backwards on my own, I probably wouldn't
have taken lessons. Leaving me most likely skating backwards clumsily,
and not interested in lessons until I found something else that I
wanted to do and couldn't figure out how to.)

> This is much more difficult with balance/proprioception aids. What do
> people want? How do they even know what's available? How would "being
> able to relax my feet like I'm walking on sand" show up as a
priority?

Point taken. I wouldn't even have wanted to learn to skate backwards
if I hadn't seen people doing it on TV. It would have never occurred
to me that such a thing were possible. (I must have seen other kids
skating backwards occasionally too, but I don't recall that as
inspiring me at all ?! go figure...). And we have much less access to
information about the subtle things that go into developing body-sense.

> Would they seek out an expert on such devices? How would they know if
> devices they cobbled together themselves were effective -- or even
> safe? Is the ball at the bottom of a banister really a safe thing to
> create a wobble board with? I really don't know.

Certainly the more information that is shared, the better.

> >Similarly for balance and proprioception -- as skaters, we here are
> >presumably all clear on our need for balance. However, we may be at
> >different stages in learning how involved balance is with the
> >functioning of our entire bodies, what the technical term
> >"proprioception" has to do with it all, and even more astonishingly,
> >how improved body sense can help with injury prevention and good
health
> >apart from the obvious of "less falls."
>
> Would skaters realize that there are different levels of challenge
> with balance aids, and that less challenge may well be more
effective?

Probably not, until someone came along who could pass along the word.

> In your story, you had the benefit of instruction from the beginning.

No, not from the beginning -- see above correction.

Actually, even parts of the instruction I had took a while to take. I
remember in my first round of lessons in graduate school, my teacher
showed me alternating edges. I thought they were the world's most
bizarre and useless activity. Now I could spend hours working on them
and keep finding how useful all the little bits of things are that they
train.

I wasn't a dead loss as a student though: I seem to have learned Back
Crossovers quite well in that round of lessons.

It's only in this round of lessons (20 years later) that I find myself
attuned to edge quality, and quiet stroking, and extension, and
carriage, and flow.

I was famously resistant to getting private coaching for a couple of
years. I had to completely exhaust all sense of progress that I could
make with just group lessons and on my own, and find at the end that
there were still things that I wanted to master that I couldn't figure
out at all, before getting a coach.

Nevertheless, I have to acknowledge that there was "expert input" at
*all* times though in any case: watching other skaters, seeing how the
smooth ones looked, reading about skating to learn some of the terms
and concepts that went into that effortless look I like.

> Would skaters seek out advice on balance/proprioception aids from a
> qualified source -- a fitness instructor, or maybe their skating
> instructor? Or would they approach a wobble board as a commodity like
> a CD Player or a toaster?

Yes.

In skating, I find that nothing is ever as it seems -- the things that
I would think I need to control to do something, turn out never ever to
be the keys. (I may just have a wildly tone-deaf skate-effectiveness
body-sense, to mix several metaphors...). This is what I really value
about my coach, that she knows what's needed. Because I would have NO
CLUE on my own.

What I'm learning about balance and proprioception is that there's What
I Thought Was True, and then it's like a door opening, and on the other
side there's a whole set of completely different things about How
Things Really Are Or Can Be that I would never ever have thought of for
myself.

__Sharon



03 Feb 2005 20:52:22
Phil Earnhardt
Re: Balance pad

On Mon, 24 Jan 2005 22:04:24 GMT, "Doris Penndorf"
<doris_m_penndorf@sbcglobal.net > wrote:

>Well said and thank you!

Doris: what stage are you at in learning how involved balance is in
the funcioning of our entire bodies, what the technical term
"proprioception" has to do with it all, and how improved body sense
(proprioception) can help with injury prevention and good health?

--phil


>"S.P." <pedersen17@hotmail.com> wrote in message
>news:1106582819.939896.27960@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com...
>> > proprioception and balance skills
>>
>> I think the thing is, to bring people along from stage to stage so that
>> they themselves experience the benefits, and become curious or
>> motivated to want more.
>>
>> Figure skates example:
>>
>> I've progressed from $7 skates, to $125 skates, to $650 skates (and now
>> wouldn't bat an eye at $850 for boots alone for a true custom boot).
>> At each step up, there was a timely teacher's recommendation -- and
>> there was also my own development and readiness for experiencing where
>> I was, and wanting more.
>>
>> The first step up was based entirely on trusting my teacher's
>> recommendation, that my $7 skates would hold me back in my skating
>> progess from this point on: but this was after a year of lessons
>> already, and I had started (or was about to start) the waltz jump (as I
>> recall).
>>
>> Thinking back, it's entirely likely that my teacher spent that whole
>> first year being appalled at my floppy skates with about as much
>> support as a Kleenex (in fact, I recall skating sometimes in rentals, I
>> believe on her recommendation, in order to get more support, not that I
>> could tell support from a hole in the ground at that point) -- but she
>> drew me along step by step rather than hit me with the new skate outlay
>> right away. (And at the time $125 was a lot of money on my grad
>> student stipend, and the most I'd ever spent for any one thing in my
>> life -- apart from rent.)
>>
>> The second step up was based both on my teacher's recommendation, and
>> on my own experience of not being able to do everything I wanted to do
>> and could see others doing. I didn't know enough in advance to realize
>> *how much* difference the new skates would make, but I had a depth of
>> experience that let me know I did want more than what I had now.
>>
>> I know these anecdotes could be read as, "in each case my teacher was
>> right". But I read them as, "in each case my teacher combined their
>> recommendation with my own experience of having gotten as far as I
>> could go with my current equipment." And in each case, I did achieve
>> things before needing to step up to the next level.
>>
>> In the case of balance pads, the relevant steps to me would be, what
>> does the skater want to do? OK, let's assume that's easy: we all want
>> to improve our balance!
>>
>> Next step: what kinds of things can they do with what they have now?
>> Annabel has already improvised some things with her current tools.
>>
>> Next step: what kinds of things do they want more, that they can't get
>> yet? And why would different equipment help that? And do they want
>> them enough to go that next step? I don't know if Annabel is to that
>> point yet. And I haven't yet seen answers about that yet either, even
>> for the person who does want to go the next step up.
>>
>> As in skating, the first things we want to do give way to later goals.
>> I started skating wanting to learn to skate backwards, and my first
>> skates sufficed for that. Eventually I wanted to be able to do more
>> things, and *then* I needed better skates.
>>
>> Similarly for balance and proprioception -- as skaters, we here are
>> presumably all clear on our need for balance. However, we may be at
>> different stages in learning how involved balance is with the
>> functioning of our entire bodies, what the technical term
>> "proprioception" has to do with it all, and even more astonishingly,
>> how improved body sense can help with injury prevention and good health
>> apart from the obvious of "less falls."
>>
>> __Sharon
>>
>