Saturday, December 19, 2020 (12 days remain in 2020)
On a recommendation by Jane Brody, Health Writer for the NYT, I’m reading a book published in early 2020, entitled, “Falling is not an Option”, by George Locker. It’s subtitled, “A way to lifelong balance.” Brody writes periodically about the losing of balance as people mature. She finds that Locker’s book explains and illustrates exercises appropriate to re-strengthen human balancing muscles. Locker’s exercises, designed for maturing adults and seniors, are to rebuild self-confidence in the ability to balance.
I’m interested, because of living on a small rocky acreage and being active with horses. Maintaining balance while navigating the property on foot, alone or leading a horse, is a concern. Our local hospital offers a popular balancing program, to which I’ve been referred, but always too busy, or something.
Locker isn’t a physical therapist, but a forty-year practitioner and teacher of T’ai Chi. In teaching, he offered seniors exercises not otherwise available to improve their balance. His teaching reflected the science and biomechanics of T’ai Chi balance and stability. His book is about “postural retraining”, by following assembled exercises, and illustrated postures and movements, based on his long study and experience.
The book is readable and understandable, the exercises simple, but powerful, and focused on holding times, instead of active repetitions. They’re designed to re-strengthen feet, ankles, and weight bearing muscles. Locker asserts that balance isn’t mental, cannot be willed, is neither a skill nor a sense. Instead, he says, balance is knowledge, pure muscle knowledge from doing the balancing. Essentially, it isn’t the mind, but the body that learns balance.
Locker’s recommended exercises that appear simple aren’t so. For example gaining the strength to stand, with slightly bent ankles and knees, while maintaining relaxed arms and a straight back, is a slow process. An exerciser’s goal would be standing this way and unmoving, say, for fifteen minutes.
I’m on board with what seems an appropriate way to practice daily, and in time available, focusing on self-balancing. I’ll begin this morning.
Dear Friends: Locker’s confidence is catching, his methods seem worth trying. Diana