I was talking with a patient about my experience last Monday standing alternately on one leg at a time on an unstable surface (disc-o-sit in this case) for three and a half hours. It was profound. Not just the calve muscles one day after but the lower back muscle soreness two days after signaled a very powerful muscle strengthening stimulation – the balance training (neurologic) aspects go without saying!!
I was mentioning it to him because he just came through the very painful stage of a severe acute low back pain episode, and could start considering rehab activity if he was so inclined. He stays so active that he figures that’s enough.
Today, I read Scott Meredith’s Blog Post which happened to talk about standing in Tai chi postures. I decided to share it so that you get the impression that I am not the only one saying what I have been saying. His Post is about Tai chi so it goes beyond the scope of this conversation but it relates.
How? And why would I be telling a patient to stand on one leg to rehabilitate his back. Well, I have often mentioned standing on one leg to train balance and avoid falling. Falling is a big deal.
What I wanted to impart with this conversation is how simple and easy it is to stimulate balance and strength training in the back muscles. He (and you likely) doesn’t need an unstable surface; standing on one leg all by itself with do. He also doesn’t need to do it for over three hours to hit the low back muscles hard enough to matter; much less than thirty minutes will likely do. The average American adult spends three hours each day watching TV, so the opportunity is probably there.