Balance is another reason to pay attention to your Touch Points.
Balance and posture are very interrelated.
Poor posture does nothing to help your balance. If you are consistently not balanced you will be holding yourself up with excessive muscular tension, which contributes to poor posture.
How we balance ourselves is very complex but you don’t have to understand it all. What I bring up here is the importance of Touch Points to balance.
Try this experiment:
- Stand on two feet with your eyes open.
- Stand on one foot and close your eyes. Notice how long you can balance easily on one foot before you lose your balance, start to fall over and eventually have to put your other foot down.
- Do it a couple of times. Notice how your body feels different when it is balancing vs. when it is struggling not to fall over.
- Stand on two feet about 6—12 inches from a solid surface—a wall or a (securely!) closed door.
- Touch one finger lightly on the wall (or door) in front of you. Stand on one foot and close your eyes.
- Are you able to stay balanced longer on one foot with your finger on the wall than without?
- Repeat with two fingers (one finger from each hand) on the wall.
Most people find they can balance longer on one foot when touching the wall lightly with their finger. This is because the finger provides an extra Touch Point. That gives your body information about where you are in space and helps you to maintain balance.
There is a difference between balancing and trying not to fall over. When you are balancing you are moving slightly as you adjust but it “feels easy”. When you are trying not to fall over you will start to tighten and hold in various parts of your body. It doesn’t “feel easy”.
Why is this distinction between balancing and trying not to fall over important? Because if you are consistently trying not to fall over you will tighten and hold. Do this over and over again and it begins to feel normal. And that excess tension is not helpful for your posture.
I use Touch Points whenever I can. When I go up and down stairs I always have a fingertip on a handrail. I don’t lean into it or use it to pull myself up. Just a light touch to help me stay balanced and therefore easy in my body. No handrail? I drag my fingertip lightly on the wall (sorry mom!)
When I hike on uneven surfaces I use two lightweight walking poles for just the same reason. I rarely need to lean into them but having four “feet” on the ground instead of two helps me maintain my balance.
I touch whatever I can whenever I can! My balance (and my posture) is much better for it.