Think you can lift your leg?

Science made Simple’s Zoe gives it a go

Human beings have a centre of balance around the belly button. You can usually stay balanced as long as the imaginary vertical line down from your belly button falls between the area that you are balancing on – usually your feet!

When you lift your leg, the top half of your body needs to lean slightly the other way so that this line falls onto the one foot that is balancing you.

Because the wall is in the way you can’t move your upper body to counterbalance your leg. Your body knows it will fall over if you do lift the leg so it is very hard to convince yourself to do it. It feels a bit like your leg is stuck or frozen! The same thing happens if you try and touch your toes with your heels against the floor.


So what…?

High jumpers need to move their centre of balance over a pole to win medals. The Fosbury flop is a style of high jumping where your centre of balance actually travels under the pole. This requires less energy than getting your whole body up to the height of the pole. The year that atheletes began using this technique, there was a big jump in the world record. The ultimate example of the appliance of a bit of science!

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