When you trip or stumble, your body quickly tries to restore balance so that you do not fall. The part of your brain that plays a major role in helping you to stay upright is called your cerebellum. The cerebellum is a small region of your brain that has three major functions: muscle tone, balance and movement co-ordination. The cerebellum is one of the three components of your brain.
While it is only 10% of your brain based on volume, it contains over 40% of all your neurons and it impacts all aspects of your life.
Sidney Crosby’s concussion affected his brain and cerebellum and had a major impact on his ability to play hockey. The cerebellum is very sensitive to falls, injuries and chemicals. The stumbling gait of an intoxicated person is a result of decreased cerebellar function due to the alcohol. Improving your cerebellar function will not only improve your balance but also reduce your risk of injury. Some research has suggested that improved cerebellar function is even linked to improved brain function and the delay of cognitive decline associated with aging.
So what can we do to improve the function of our cerebellum?
There are exercises to activate your brain or cerebellum. Simple activities like balancing on one foot with your eyes closed will help make your cerebellum work better. Coordinated hand and foot movement also helps, as well as activities such as bouncing a ball to playing the piano. If you want more detailed or precise exercises on how to improve your nervous system function, feel free to come down to the Northwest Wellness Centre.
Message from Dr Brett Hessel & Dr Jennifer Adams-Hessel:
We have had a very busy summer studying and taking exams for functional neurology. We first started taking classes with the Carrick Institute in the fall of 2011 in order to improve our diagnosis and treatment of patients with neurological related issues that we see on a daily basis. Thank you to everyone who supported us with our studies. We look forward to finding out our exam results at the end of November.