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Vestibular Training Exercises

by
author image Sarka-Jonae Miller
Sarka-Jonae Miller has been a freelance writer and editor since 2003. She was a personal trainer for four years with certifications from AFAA and NASM. Miller also worked at 24 Hour Fitness, LA Fitness and as a mobile trainer. Her career in the fitness industry begin in 2000 as a martial arts, yoga and group exercise instructor. She graduated cum laude from Syracuse University.
Vestibular Training Exercises
Bald man's ear and eyes Photo Credit Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

Overview

Vestibular training exercises treat peripheral vestibular pathology caused by inner ear disorders. Dizziness, weakness, headaches and muscle fatigue are all possible symptoms relating to an inner ear disorder. Medication may alleviate symptoms, but they may also be habit-forming, and can often negatively effect a person's ability to do normal activities, which is ultimately the opposite of what they should be accomplishing by lessening dizziness. Vestibular training exercises offer an alternative without side effects.

Basic Gaze Stabilization Exercise With Progressions

Gaze stabilization exercises should be done daily. A basic gaze stabilization exercise for vestibular training is to hold a business card 1 foot in front of you with your chin level and then turn your head 45 degrees to the right--but keep your eyes on the card. Pause for a second and then shift your head back to center and then an additional 45 degrees to the left. You can progress this exercise by moving the business card 3 feet away. You then repeat the exercise with the added distance. Another progression is to eliminate the pause when you turn your head to each side. Instead, turn your head at a moderate pace and work up to head thrusts, which means to quickly turn your head while focusing your gaze on the card. What is behind the card and in the background also adds difficulty to the exercise. Having a blank wall behind you is easier compared to doing the exercise in front of a window or a store.

Heal to Toe Standing and Walking

Heel to toe standing is a vestibular exercise to challenge your balance. It is like trying to stand on a balance beam, but safer. To do this exercise on your own, stand sideways to a wall so you can use it prevent falling if necessary. Stand with your right heel touching your left toes. Both feet face straight ahead. Try this exercise with your eyes open for 30 seconds, and if you can do that without using the wall, then do the exercise with the eyes closed. Cross your arms on your chest for even greater challenge. Once you have mastered the standing heel to toe exercise, trying walking heel to toe in a corridor or between parallel bars so you can grab on in case you lose your balance.

Standing on a Couch Cushion

Standing on a couch cushion is a deceptively difficult exercise. The cushion will not remain completely still under you like a wood floor. If standing on a couch cushion is too hard, try a single pillow and work up to the cushion. Place the cushion in front of a wall or corner and face the wall so you can quickly catch yourself if you lose balance. Stand upright with good posture and your eyes open. Close your eyes when you are ready to make this exercise harder.

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