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Balance as a training for balance
A boy shows artistic balancing
Several people find a common balance

Balancing means keeping yourself, an object or other people in mechanical equilibrium under the influence of the gravitational field , whereby the equilibrium is achieved through continuous fine corrections, as with the inverse pendulum , since the position itself is unstable. Even the usual standing and walking is an act of balancing.

Balancing means that you can

  • Keeps the body's center of gravity vertically above the base / standing area when stationary, or
  • in motion (unstable equilibrium) lets the so-called sham plumb bob - the resultant of gravity and centrifugal force - pass through the support surface,
  • or that small deviations of the apparent perpendicular from the stand area can be corrected in good time by counteracting movements.
  • for several people who carry each other in different positions, find a common, possibly dynamic focus and must adhere to it


When balancing a person, the main role is played by the organ of equilibrium (in both inner ears) and the muscular sense , usually in connection with vision: the head must not be tilted or moved too much in order to avoid dizziness .
With our own tests it can be determined that the accuracy with which we can determine the perpendicular direction is about 1 ° - see also visual navigation . Therefore, a force of 1–3 percent of the body weight is enough to counteract the onset of an imbalance .

When balancing an object, the sense of sight and fine motor skills play the main role.

Sports and artistry

In sports and games, it is often about keeping your balance on a narrow running or support surface while moving. A help here is spreading your arms or, in the case of artists, a balancing pole , umbrella or fan, because this makes the reaction to small changes in inclination more precise and faster.

The artistic art of balancing is called equilibrism, and artists are called equilibrists . In the Ikarischen games a complex balance is shown, which gets a great dynamic through the many throws of the upper person.


Sports and acrobatic disciplines, equipment and games in which balancing is an important element:

Cargo transportation

Historical illustration of an Italian woman in typical costume, carrying a jug on her head. Carl Gustav Carus : "Memory of Sorrento" , 1828

The balancing of objects on the shoulders or on the head works in a similar way. Carrying loads on the head, which is common practice in southern countries, is the easiest way of carrying loads for muscles and the backbone and especially of fetching water. The loads are balanced without looking. This is done with the help of a suitable support on the head and, above all, requires controlled holding still and, if necessary, slight tilting of the head while moving, so that the load does not tip over by jerks and that its dummy perpendicular always goes through the support surface. A special gait technique saves energy and prevents the hips from moving up and down under load. In this way, up to 20% of the body weight can be carried without additional effort.

See also

Individual evidence

  1. GMO Maloiy, NC Heglund, LM Prager, GA Cavagna, CR Taylor: Energetic cost of carrying loads: have African women discovered an economic way? In: Nature . tape 319 , no. 6055 , 1986, pp. 668-669 , doi : 10.1038 / 319668a0 .