Body Movement and Upkeep in Old Age
How Old Are You, Biologically?
One’s biological age stretches the boundaries of age – as most of us know them – and it is distinctly affected by one’s lifestyle. Our lifestyle choices (in such terms as working out, sleep quality and stress level) affect our biological age, which could be as much as 15 years younger or older than our chronological age (our, purportedly, real age).
The bottom line, it determines how many years we would live and what would be the quality of our life. So, what is your biological age?
The biological age of those who (as compared to their peers) look young for their age, is in many cases lower indeed than their chronological age. In most cases it is affected, for better or worse, by their lifestyles: Their physical activity, the quality of their sleep and the degree of stress that is present in their lives.
Physical exercise that improves ease of movement, flexibility, posture, quality of sleep and reduces stress levels, contributes significantly to lowering of one’s biological age (anti-aging at its finest).
Not as It Was
Tamar, a post-menopausal woman in her 60s, came to see me after having felt, for several years, that her locomotion has become rather onerous; that her flexibility is absent and, likewise, that her physical balance has become deficient. She related that it is difficult for her to go up and down stairs, using a banister whenever one is available. She felt less than safe walking outdoors. In her daily life she does what she can, as necessary, but with distinctly less enjoyment and lesser confidence in her body. She sadly shared with me that for years now she can no longer dance or have her grandchildren visit with her. At the end of our conversation she told me she simply feels old.
So many individuals lose their vitality as they get older, as well as their fine posture, their flexibility, their ease and agility of movement, their equilibrium and their confidence in their bodies.
When they consult with their physician, the latter does not really know what treatment to prescribe, and in many cases he just tells them that this is how it is and that they have to come to terms with it, it is simply their age, he informs them, which is causing their condition.
It’s Not Aging – It’s the Drill
It is shocking to see how (chronological) age is perceived as legitimizing the body’s so-called aging. One might mistakenly think that age or overweight or genetics, are supposedly the real reason for your physical weakness. But according to studies conducted during the last century, in eighty percent of the cases, aging is not the reason. The real reason for such drawbacks is related to the way one moves her or his body and uses it. This reason is so fundamental, it affects our biological age.
I have spent the last 20 plus years of my life researching that topic (aging) and to that end I have structured my own programs, which are designed to help each person who would use them reach the next level of their motor quality of life and reconnect to the body’s natural ability to move energetically, as well as one’s vitality and flexibly. The resulting transformation is highly significant. It restores body forces that have disappeared over the years. Amazingly, such transformation is accomplished without stretching, straining or suffering pain.
It is exciting to recognize how each time anew, seemingly without an obvious explanation, at the end of a soft and precise practice, which is effortless and painless, the practitioners get off the mat more upright, feeling it easier to move, better balanced, more vital and less pain.
Slowing Down Old Age
A Practice Based on the Softness Method Suits:
- Individuals who desire to be on the move, who are however in pain, thus they are (and rightly so) afraid to join a workout group comprised of individuals who live a pain-free life.
- Individuals who “only” feel stiff, are ossified and may be aging prematurely.
- Individuals of all ages who do not suffer from pain, and just do not like to strain themselves as they workout 😊.
The practice increases the joints’ range of movement and, simply stated, it flexes the body. Thus, for instance, it allows one to, once more, be able to get dressed and easily put on shoes, bend down all the way to the floor, sit on it and easily get back up painlessly, and more.
While it is common to think that in order to develop fitness one has to go beyond the limits of comfort, to strain, sweat even experience pain (“no pain no gain” (, the Softness Method reshuffles the deck, so to speak, as it demonstrates, time and again, how fitness can be improved gently, attentively, lovingly and certainly with the absence of pain.
All it requires is to exercise a set of simple movements? over and over again, to the extent possible for you individually; to take a break, rest a little and practice again, several times a day. There are no formulas, no pre-determined number of sets prescribed for the exercising individual by a fitness trainer who is not us, who doesn’t feel what we feel, who has no idea what would be ample practice for each one of us, individually. She does not know what the trainee went through emotionally and physically during that day or the previous day, nor how much strength one has in order to practice, day in and day out. It is therefore best – as designed by the Softness Method – to allow those practicing to determine how exactly to practice.
There is no need to speed up the process if it’s not effortless, as it is clear that in old age fitness acquisition is not a trivial matter. Gentleness and compassion are the main features of that play. What is animating the process behind the scenes is self-love. It is impossible to go through such a process without those three. Without gentleness we will surely hurt ourselves. Without compassion the gentleness will not exist and without self-love we will not be able to give ourselves this wonderful gift of liberation.
It is amazing to discover again and again how perseverance in practice, even if it is a soft one, produces change over time. It also increases fitness, ability and a sense of competency, at any age and under any circumstances 😊
Certain studies that bring hope in their wake, show that even in our 70s we can return to the level of fitness we had possessed in our 20s (it entails a process that lasts between one to two years).
If, effortlessly, without tension or pain, we can improve our physical fitness, posture, flexibility and ease of movement, what are we waiting for? For a glimpse of the Softness, the Strength of Physiotherapy and Feldenkrais Combined program, designed for those who want to gently nurture their body, click here.
Most of the significant studies on the effect of Feldenkrais practice have been conducted on elderly populations (65 and older). The positive experiences of my students are well-known to top researchers in the field and are documented in studies which may be found in the US National Library of Medicine PubMed and their abstracts which can be reviewed through the attached links:
Feldenkrais practice (which, along with physiotherapy, is the basis of the Softness Method I have developed), even if undertaken for periods of only 6-12 weeks, would produce significant changes in one’s sense of comfort and joy regarding one’s body, in terms of motion agility and physical balance as well as one’s body awareness. The relevant study was conducted on a subject group of 87 individuals whose average age was 76. This is the link to that particular study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28840179
Improvement among the elderly of body awareness and of one’s sense of comfort regarding the body and its functioning https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28840179
Practicing Feldenkrais infuses cognitive functions among the independent elderly population
Improved motor learning and physical performance based on the Feldenkrais method
An overview of the Feldenkrais method’s effectiveness as a tool for motor learning (in the context of perfecting one’s equilibrium and agility of movement in elderly population) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25949266