What’s a good way to have a positive impact on staving off the effects of Alzheimer’s disease and at the same time, help you stay stronger and reduce the potential from a fall? A good answer would be to move well and think well at the same time!
Joe Kleman, owner and therapist at Movement Creates Infinite Possibilities (MOVE) in Raleigh, NC, was kind enough to contribute to our Blog. He discusses how it is not only important to keep mobile, but to combine movement or base movement on good thinking. As we get accustomed to having so many things done for us as we grow older we lose those reflex instinctive things we were born with.
If we fall for example, it may be we think we can’t get up but in reality we can. It’s just that we’re not thinking through the natural moves to make it easier like rolling over and getting up on your elbows. Read on so you can get a feel for what Joe is advising us. The beauty is in the simplicity. You can do this all in the comforts of home.
The importance that movement has on our minds is crucial. According to Moshe Feldenkrais “The brain can’t think without a body.” The ability to stay functional and active comes down to whether or not we can simply get up from a fall or feel strong enough in our bodies to continue to move independently. Finding ways to keep moving in new fun ways each day is important for the body, but also for the mind to keep a certain level of play involved in our lives.
Randomized movements help keep our mind and body fresh and able to navigate life accordingly. As we age we begin to feel less agile and nimble. In our minds, this lowers our ability to survive. So the more we can challenge our minds through increased frustration and learning scenarios we are able to keep our minds and bodies fresh and ready for anything.
Simple does not always mean easy. One simple exercise you can practice is starting on the ground and standing up. The challenge of this exercise is to sit down and stand up two to five times a day, using five different ways. This way you are always challenging your ability and learning five new ways to stand up. The tendency is to fall on your dominant side with the potential to break your arm or hip, leaving you helpless on the ground.
If you are proactive and practice the sit to stand exercise, it will train your mind to know how to handle the situation and be able to look around and find a way to stand up or get help.
An important lesson in the struggle of the exercise is just like babies when they are first learning to move and become frustrated, attempting the exercise safely and becoming frustrated is a way the brain heals.
In the demo below I am showing a couple examples you can try when practicing the exercise. They include holding one arm to your chest and attempting to go from a laying (fall) position and working your way back up to the chair. This can be done with either the right or left arm. I also show one where I have one leg off of the floor as if
I would have broken my leg or hip. As much as no one wants to fall it is important to understand the potential exists and to practice what you would do in the case it would happen.
There are many ways we can learn new movements, no matter our mobility. Someone told me three simple words years ago, “JUST DO SOMETHING.” So I will leave you with this: whether practicing to sit and stand, or playing with the grandkids, find new ways to keep the body moving so that the mind can continue to grow and be healthy!
Joseph A Kleman,
Therapist and owner of MOVE