Improved Balance and falls’ prevention

Improved Balance and Ease of Movement

Our physical balance, together with our confidence in it, are important at any age, however, as we grow older, they become critical to the point of affecting the quality of one’s life even her survivability. Quite a few falls that end-up in fractures have become, for too many, an acute impediment causing severe and irreversible damage to one’s quality of life. A pelvic fracture that leads to severe impairment of one’s walking ability and from there to an inconceivable dependence on a wheelchair, lessens significantly the quality of life, even its longevity.

Abilities in Decline

As kids we ran, jumped, climbed, crawled – life was replete with daring. Some of the difficulty we encounter now relates to physiological impediments of rigidity and pain. Some obstacles, however, are mental and emotional and are related to our world of beliefs (“I’m too old for that”).


Rebuilding Lapsed Ability

We put up (somehow) with the remnants of our former abilities and gradually give up on more and more abilities that are seemingly just being taken from us (“I have aged and I can no longer either jog or squat”).

Because of our age we allow ourselves to say that it is because of exercising or, rather, due to its absence. In this particular case I would hone in on, and say that it is because of, the lack of one’s youthful spirit which brings one to dare, to be charged with ambition. It is also because of a lack of understanding of the body and of its potential for renewal, at any age.

Studies show that even at age 70 it is possible to return to the fitness and regain the abilities we possessed when we were in our early twenties, even if the process would take a year or two to complete. It is nevertheless possible!

I like examining a given posture – standing on one leg – before and after practice with my group of students. It makes me feel like I’m a magician. This is a very important posture for anyone who wants to improve his or her balance, walk more easily and on somewhat rough surfaces (outdoors for example).

Talent or Its Absence

Regardless of which lesson we’d practiced, standing on one leg at the end of a session, compared to it’s beginning would be of a considerably greater quality, even impressive: The small tremors, whether affecting one’s foot or the entire body, whose purpose is to stabilize one’s balance and restore it, would decrease, even disappear at the end of the session. The length of time you can stand on the same foot would increase (10 seconds is a perfectly reasonable length of time for most day-to-day activities). The posture’s stance is transformed. It is as if the foot we stood on became planted, of its own accord, deep in the ground while the rest of the body grows and lengthens towards the sky.

Unlike muscle strengthening that requires practice over a long period of time, improving balance by practicing lying on the mat is done “on the way” and, in most cases, in order to bring important results regarding pain relief.

The significance of improving balance is immense for those who experience difficulty in standing or walking, and for those whose balance became impaired.

A Cushion vs. a Wooden Branch 

Falls are not the exclusive domain of adults. Children fall too. But as they fall, children retain a softness in relation to their bodies and the results are in concert. Accordingly, fractures are extremely rare as a result of falls. A young person’s soft body, resembling a soft pillow’s fall, distributes the shock throughout the skeleton’s entire structure.

An older person, who doesn’t maintain his or her body’s flexibility, becomes more and more rigid over the years, as if she was afflicted by a ‘rigidity malady.’ The stiff body of an older person, like a long, dry wooden branch that was detached and had fallen from its tree, absorbs the shock at the fall at the point of contact with the surface with much greater impact and intensity.

If we add to all that the bones’ fragility and the predisposition toward osteoporosis in one’s old age, we will understand why many elderly individuals who fall end up with bone fractures. A fall followed by a fracture could be the beginning of the end. It is easy and simple to postpone it with a Softness Method practice … while lying down, as surprising as it may sound.

If balance improvement coupled with the prevention of falls is accomplished effortlessly and without tension or pain, what are we waiting for? For a peek at a Softness, the Strength of Physiotherapy and Feldenkrais Combined program, for people who want to improve their balance, ease of movement and strength of bones, click here.

Most of the significant studies on the effect of Feldenkrais practice (which, along with physiotherapy, is the basis of the Softness Method I have developed), 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. These studies’ abstracts can be reviewed through the attached links.

Feldenkrais exercises for improving balance, based on learning motor skills and improving posture

The effect of Feldenkrais exercises on balance, mobility, confidence in having balance and walking functions among those 65 and older, indented to reduce their risk of falling!!!

Feldenkrais method balance classes improve balance in older adults: a controlled trial (Average Age 76).
A study of the effects of various forms of exercise on balance in older woman. Gairdner Hospital Nedlands. Western Australia 1999

Effectiveness of Feldenkrais Exercises in Improving Equilibrium: “Grounding Gracefully” In the Elderly Population (Average Age 75)