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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A woman demonstrating the ability to balance.

In biomechanics, balance is an ability to maintain the center of gravity of a body within the base of support with minimal postural sway.[1] When exercising the ability to balance, one is said to be balancing.

Balancing requires concurrent processing of inputs from multiple senses, including equilibrioception (from the vestibular system), vision, and perception of pressure and proprioception (from the somatosensory system), while the motor system simultaneously controls muscle actions. The senses must detect changes of body position with respect to the base, regardless of whether the body moves or the base moves.

In the case of an individual standing quietly upright, the limit of stability is defined as the amount of postural sway at which balance is lost and corrective action is required. The limit of stability may be described by an irregular conical envelope above the support base. [2]

A balance board—which is an unstable standing surface that moves in different planes of motion—is commonly used to train balance.


  1. ^ Shumway-Cook A, Anson D, Haller S. "Postural sway biofeedback: its effect on reestablishing stance stability in hemiplegic patients," Arch. Phys. Med. Rehabil. 1988, vol. 69, pp. 395-400.
  2. ^ Hutchinson, Karen J., "Changes in the mean center of balance during balance testing in young adults", Physical Therapy, 1995, 75(8):699-706 PubMed

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