Brain Balance Challenge - FIT Human Performance

Brain Balance Challenge


July 24, 2015 –

Here’s a quick do-it-yourself test for brain health: See how long you can stay balanced on one leg.

Recent research finds that if you can’t hold that flamingo position for at least 20 seconds it could indicate damage to small blood vessels in your brain, even if you have no other symptoms. That damage could put you at high risk for brain disease, including stroke and cognitive decline. If you have been practicing your ‘tree’ pose in yoga then you will have no problem.

The study found that the ability to balance on one leg is directly related to brain health and circulation of blood into the brain. Micro-bleeds or blockages of tiny blood vessels in the brain can cause damage that affects a persons walking and balance. This self-test might surprise you … give it a try it now.

Brain Balance Challenge

BalanceThe research study had about 1,400 men and women, with an average age of 67, stand with one leg raised and their eyes open for a maximum of 60 seconds. Each person in the test did this twice. Their better time was recorded for the study. Afterward, each subject underwent an MRI brain scan to detect any blood vessel damage.

Those who struggled to stay balanced for 20 seconds were more likely to have brain lesions from a ministroke or from a micro-bleed. About 35 percent of those who had had more than two of these mini strokes had trouble balancing; 30 percent of those with more than two micro-bleeds also had trouble staying upright on one leg. If that’s not worrisome enough, short balance times were linked with lower scores on memory and thinking tests.

The researchers did note that people with blood vessel damage tended to be older and have high blood pressure and thicker carotid (neck) arteries than those who had not had mini strokes or micro-bleeding.

Those who can’t stay balanced for very long should talk to their doctor about further evaluation, AND workout with me at F.I.T. Human Performance. Here we will keep practicing those challenging unilateral exercises that we utilize frequently. And of course, stay hydrated and try to increase your green leafy vegetables and fiber.

Balance and posture are so much more than good looking!

In good health,


“ Balance is not something you find, it’s something you create.” – Janna Kingsford