The vestibular system, controls equilibrium, balance, and orientation to upright and is located in the inner ear. This system is highly developed in the early years of life. Remember playing on on merry-go-rounds, teeter totters, monkey bars and swings? Remember we used to play are “upsy daisy”, “bucking bronco” on your dads knee, and bounce houses at birthday parties? All of these activities challenged your vestibular system early in life.

Parents are helping developing their child’s vestibular system without even knowing it.  These children become fearless if balance is developed properly and early in life.  Before you know it, those kids are zooming down the mountain without ski poles and doing flips on the gymnastics floor.  The minute we stop exercising our balance, we begin to lose it. Though some vestibular functions are challenged through sports, or gymnastics, many kids stop gymnastics around age 10 and sports don’t focus on rapid change of direction and thus our system begins to decline.

We include something in every CrossFit Kids workout to challenge the kids vestibular functions including things like skin the cat, handstands and bear crawls. As we become adults however, unless we practice getting inverted,  take part in rock climbing, mountain biking and sports alike we become deficit in our tolerance to positions other than upright.  If one other component of balance is lost – strength, vision, or proprioception – risk of fall is exponentially increased.  The “use it or lose it rule” becomes vital to long-term maintenance of balance. Sounds like functional fitness to me! I think I am going to go do some cartwheels.

Maggie B. and Megan C. challenging their vestibular function at the White Flint Metro.

Workout of the Day

DE Box Squats – 12×2 @ 50%

-then-

4 minute AMRAP of:

Max Rep Thrusters (155/105)

 

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