Improving by Moving Backwards?

rear view of feet of woman in comfortable shoes walking outdoors

While it sounds a bit odd, there is at least one less-than-common way we can improve our balance, strength, cardio-respiratory fitness, flexibility and range of motion, coordination and calorie burn. We can also reduce knee pain, give our brains a challenge, and have a bit of fun too — all at the same time! It also may also attract attention — something you may, or may not —  want to do. It’s so simple just about anyone can do it – though some caution is in order. And it requires no extra supplies and minimal preparation, once you’ve done it a bit. Walking Backwards! Obviously, walking backwards requires some preliminary attention to safety and is not for everyone. A safe,

Turning Into the New Year

Golfer finishing a stroke with great form.

What does turning mean anyway? We discussed this recently in a Mindful Movement with Parkinson’s class. We mostly agreed that turning involved all (or at least most) of ourselves. Our eyes and head; shoulders, ribs and pelvis; even the weight on our feet.  Perhaps “turning“ describes our self in relation to the outside environment, a change in orientation or direction. Which aligns with the more official definition of turning. But as we played with more differentiated movements, twisting came to mind — one or several parts moving in relation to other parts and with some center line or axis around which we move. We can all think of examples – looking over a shoulder without any weight shift on feet

Get Better at Almost Anything with Deliberate Practice

Get Better at Almost Anything with Deliberate Practice

Have you heard of Ben Hogan? I suspect not, unless you follow golf and are familiar with mid-20th century golf records.  I only learned about him in an article a colleague recently shared. Turns out, my husband, who never ceases to amaze me, knew who he was.  But I digress . . . Ben Hogan was an exceptional golfer and he got that way by constant practice. But not just regular repetition.  He is actually credited with inventing practice.  He precisely broke down each phase of the golf swing and fine-tuned his execution of each segment.  He amassed nine championship records to become the 4th all-time record holder. Today experts call his approach Deliberate Practice. Deliberate Practice refers to a

Take Steps to Avoid Dementia

Take Steps to Avoid Dementia

I received an email with this title recently:  New Medication Associated with a 50% Risk Reduction for Dementia! Wow! Now that’s almost unbelievable news.  Actually, “medication” grabs attention, but it’s not a medication in the usual sense of the word. What is it? Lace up your shoes! OK, there’s a big clue! It’s not a pill. I’m not sure you could really even call it a treatment. A practice or activity might be closer to the truth. If you guessed walking, you nailed it! The Journal of the American Medical Association just reported on a study following over 78,000 adults over a seven-year period. The researchers looked at the relationship between the number of steps participants took each day (including

Alzheimer’s Disease is Preventable and Reversible!

Alzheimer’s Disease is Preventable and Reversible!

This is Personal I am sharing information here that is very close to my heart. My father and grandmother both died with Alzheimer’s disease. Plus my mother had dementia in her later years. None of us wants that future and I’m very excited that there is good news to share — the decline of Alzheimer’s is not inevitable. I first wrote about this topic in 2017 when I learned about Dr. Dale Bredesen’s book The End of Alzheimer’s – The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline.  Dr. Bredesen, along with other researchers, has just published a peer-reviewed proof-of-concept trial in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.   The results for the RE-CODE Personalized Medicine Protocol he has been developing

The Tiny Difference that Makes the Difference

Large container ship

We Get What We Practice From time to time, I think of the saying “We become what we repeatedly do” (Will Durant) or my own version – we get what we practice.  Sometimes though, we’re not aware of what we’re doing.  We may actually be doing something different than we think!  And that little difference could be making our life less pleasant. Like turning around this cargo ship, it can seem overwhelming to change our long-held movement or postural habits. But it’s not impossible. We influence the big picture by our small daily decisions. Even a tiny change, a one-degree shift in direction, can radically change the destination. It won’t happen all at once; it requires ongoing attention and willingness

Your Amazing Shoulder Girdle

Older couple walking on the beach

We see someone walking and we just know — that’s Mary!  How do we know? Maybe it’s the fluidity and gracefulness of her movement.  Or the particular way her head moves, how the arms swing, or the fact that the arms barely move at all!  Like walking itself, recognizing another person’s walk is not usually a conscious process. But we can use conscious attention to improve our own walking comfort and enjoyment.  An easy place to start is with the shoulders.  Perhaps you’ve experienced the difference in walking while holding your shoulders and arms very still compared with allowing your shoulders and arms to move.  Most of us notice we take smaller steps when our shoulders and arms aren’t involved

Taking In the Good – Counteract Negativity

Vertical Sunset

Our brains evolved with a “negativity bias,” So writes neuro-psychologist Rick Hanson. While this was useful to our survival as a species, it is not so helpful in today’s world where chronic stress is a problem for many. Luckily, we can shift that bias, thanks to neuroplasticity, the capacity of our brain to change its connections and structure. Learn how to spend just a few minutes doing so. Your “positivity bias” will grow with practice.

Visualizing Movement

Feet on Path

Sometimes actual movement seems impossible. Perhaps we are in great pain, perhaps actual movement is non-existent due to a neurological or other event. We don’t need to give up in these instances! Visualization is a powerful technique for improving brain function and movement. Dr. Feldenkrais employed this approach in many lessons, long before visualization became a staple of athletic and performance training as it is today. Here’s a little guidance and what the research is saying about this technique.

In Trouble? Twenty Questions to Explore

Older man with Shoulder Pain

OUCH! My shoulder hurts! What did a do? Did a sleep on it wrong?

When your usual go-to movement solutions don’t work consider asking yourself some questions. Take some time to explore – slowly, within your comfort range, breathing easily. See what you discover about the situation and your approach to such difficulties. With a little practice, you’ll be able to find relief and will probably move a bit easier in the process.

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