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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

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Balance and core stability

What is balance?

Balance means your ability to stop yourself from wobbling or falling over.

Our bodies keep their balance because information from your muscles, joints, eyes and ears is sorted out by your brain and used to help you move. For example, if you stand on one leg, you may put your hands out to stop you wobbling so much.

Why is balance important?

Having good balance means your muscles work well together and you are less likely to stress your joints, which can cause pain. It makes sitting, standing, walking and other activities easier.

What is core stability?

This is how steady and strong your middle (tummy, back, hips and shoulders) is.

Why is core stability important?

If your middle is strong you are less likely to get pain in your back, arms or legs. If your muscles work well together around your middle it is easier to sit, stand, walk, run, and move your arms and legs. It also makes it easier to keep your balance.

How do we check your core stability and balance?

For core stability, we watch how you sit, stand, walk and move.

We may ask you to try some exercises and watch how easy or difficult you find them.

For balance, we time how long you can stand on each leg with your eyes open or closed. We can then see how this compares with other people your age.

Further information

Balance and core stability information sheet (pdf; 105 KB)