Exercises targeting Sensory orientation

Overall goal of the exercises

Improving the ability of keeping balance in unstable surfaces and without the use of vision.

Overall theme of the exercises

Practice moving on unstable surfaces (soft, uneven, inclined or movable) and/or with occluded vision (closed eyes or in visual complex environments).

Additional considerations

Exercises can be designed towards promoting visual or proprioceptive reliance.

Spatial perception is regarded as a property of sensory orientation.


Key exercises Examples of progressions Examples of regressions

Turning to touch the walls with a finger standing with the back to a corner. (Keeping the feet in the same position and keeping the nose pointing towards were to touch the walls)

turn to touch

  • Closed eyes
  • Standing on a soft or inclined surface
  • Higher speed (keeping precision)
  • Very slow speed
  • Varying were to touch the walls
  • Varying amplitude of movement
  • Narrow foot position
  • Eyes open or on the floor
  • Preferred speed
  • Wider foot position
  • Supporting to the wall when touching

Walking or standing on the spot with closed eyes with the back to a corner

walking on the spot

  • Keeping the eyes closed for longer time
  • Lifting the knees higher
  • Running
  • Keeping the head in turned position while walking (varying positions)
  • Moving the head while walking
  • Standing with closed eyes
  • Closing the eyes for only a few steps (but keep walking)
  • Touching the wall lightly with one finger
  • Facing the wall touching the wall with both hands

Stepping on a cushion with the back to a corner

stepping on cushion

  • Using softer cushion
  • Closing the eyes
  • Stepping up and down (facing the corner)
  • Using semi-hard cushion or foam pad
  • Keeping one foot on the floor (alternating steps between the feet, facing the corner)

Walking in front of a (big) curtain which moves in the wind

  • Using a bigger curtain
  • Walking in short distance from the curtain (the curtain occupies a larger percentage of visual field)
  • Using curtain with complex graphical pattern
  • Moving the head for looking at details in the curtain while walking
  • Standing
  • Standing or walking with greater distance to the curtain (the curtain occupies a smaller percentage of visual field)
  • Using a (patterned) curtain which does not move
  • Alternating between looking at the curtain and looking at a stable object
  • Touching a wall or table

Walking while keeping a balloon in the air (while looking at the balloon)

  • Keeping the balloon close to the head (to occupy a large percentage of the visual field)
  • Walking in complex patterns (backwards, cross-stepping, long steps etc.)
  • Keeping the balloon in the air for short periods
  • Holding the balloon in the tip while walking (not hitting the balloon)

Walking to a mark on the floor with closed eyes (the position of the mark is verified with eyes open before walking)

walking to mark

  • Starting position further away from the mark
  • Starting position turned away from the mark
  • Turning 360 degrees returning to same position in a corner
  • Placing a plastic cup on the mark (A second plastic cup can be used as the mark)
  • Starting position closer to the mark
  • Walking next to a wall or (kitchen) table 

Move linear or rotional with eyes closed. Verifying the new position in space by pointing towards a goal after moving

move and verify

  • Moving by jumping
  • Greater turn angle
  • Greater linear transition
  • Combining turning and linear transition
  • Stepping instead of jumping
  • Turning slowly 360 degrees in a corner with closes eyes, verifying returning to a line on the floor between the feet