(Re)Mind Your Body
Improve your balance
Movement Workshop for fit or wobbly -
Stand on one leg and live longer!!(?)
October 18 2014 Saturday 10.30 – 14.30
PENRITH Friends Meeting HouseCA11 7TR
This workshop is for people of any age and level of fitness, from athletes and dancers to many with post-stroke (see endnote 1), injury, MS (see note 2), Parkinson’s (3), and other neurological conditions - but is probably not useful for the very frail elderly. Contact if unsure Feldenkrais practitioner Virginia Taylor PhD 0797 796 1563 or through this website.
Feldenkrais practitioner Sheri Cohen has written a great blog and saved me the trouble of telling you how Feldenkrais can help your balance, and how that can improve (not to put too fine a point on it) everything! - check it out.a
Research at Manchester Metropolitan University (4) is looking at the effects of ageing on balance to better understand why we have a greater chance of falling when we’re older – with the goal of coming up with an intervention. But there is one intervention already (5)
The Feldenkrais Method®!!!! (6)
There are some great lessons in the Feldenkrais repertoire which improve balance, confidence, flexibility, and sense of well-being – FEEL BETTER. People who move a lot (dancers, yoga, fell-runners) LOOK & SEEM younger, and though younger isn’t itself the same as better, feeling it is great!
Stand on one leg and live longer!!?
Did you read reports that people unable to stand on one leg were more likely to die prematurely than people of the same age with good balance? (eg
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/the-simple-tests-that-tell-if-youll-live-to-a-ripe-old-age-9303994.html) Doesn’t make much sense. First off, how do they know? Turns out, they do - there has been a longitudinal study, now through the Medical Research Council, which has been tracking 5,000 people born in 1946 throughout their lives.
When they were 53, they did some physical tests, including standing on one leg with eyes closed. ‘Those able to hold the position for less than two seconds were three times more likely to die [in the following 13 years] than those who could hold it for ten seconds or more. People unable to do the test at all were around 12 times more likely to die in the following 13 years’. Is this meaningful? Well, if any comfort, no one I have asked, of any age or fitness, has actually managed to stand on one leg, arms crossed on chest, eyes closed, for more than a few seconds. I broke an ankle at the beginning of July, not exactly a terminal disease but it affects my current proprioception - so my score on this measure is pretty pathetic. I’m not planning my funeral yet but I guess I am a bit alarmed that my balance is compromised – and this gets me thinking of the other things that I’ve not done since my injury. It can creep up on you.
So being able to stand on one leg is maybe a measure of how well-tuned you are - and (very Feldenkrais), how well-tuned your nervous system is. It isn’t going to prevent you developing cancer or catching flu – but it’s not going to do any harm and whether by being a call to action or by magic like the vampire/garlic, elephants/bar jokes (7), it may do some good.
A tested Feldenkrais programme for older people: http://www.gettinggroundedgracefully.com.au/main.html
The Feldenkrais Method®
Feldenkrais is an accessible, practical, and enjoyable system of movement re-education that can help everybody, young or old, to achieve better movement, better balance and an improved quality of life. You will be guided through a scientifically structured series of easy (sometimes surprising) movements - done at your own pace and with awareness. These enable you to change as you learn, slowly and gently, how each movement is most efficiently done – no strain, all brain! Feldenkrais is neuroplasticity in action – the brain that changes itself and the body too. Many people experience an immediate change in flexibility, balance and ease of movement. Improvements in confidence and gait may take a little longer.
Guy walks into a bar. Orders a drink. Bartender sees the guy keep snapping his fingers. Asks the guy, "Why're you snapping your fingers?" Guy says, "It keeps the elephants away." Bartender says, "But there aren't any elephants." Guy: "See? It works." (Huffington post version)