Healthy Beginnings

Outsmart the clock: How to keep doing the things you love as you get older

Show your skeleton some love with the Feldenkrais Method. Photo: Getty Images

What scares you most about getting old? For some its (1) not being able to care for ourselves or our loved ones; (2) not being able to do what we love; (3) fear of pain, injury, or degeneration; and (4) death itself.

Yet, we know aging and death are inevitable and these things will come to pass. So beyond specific spiritual support, what can we do to prepare for this transition more meaningfully and make it less frightening?

Helping our bodies be mobile and comfortable is critical to peace of mind and health, strengthening our mental and emotional stability far beyond what you’d imagine. If you’ve been reading my monthly articles in Healthy Beginnings, you’re probably getting the idea.

Our skeleton is our hidden ally which, when well organized and aligned, helps us feel and do everything better — especially as we age. Improving our skeletal posture and balance allows us to build muscle strength without injury, so that muscles pull through joints in a balanced way. When the skeleton is misaligned, muscles compensate and cause pain — a sure sign that something needs to change. But what and how?

People often head to the gym or onto the street to jog/walk. This can be uncomfortable and even dangerous after long period of inactivity. Why? Because we’ve stopped feeling our bodies, connecting to ourselves, and using our musculoskeletal support in safe, sensible ways.

This is where the Feldenkrais Method shines because of its unique approach to working with attention and awareness. You learn to connect to yourself as you did as a child, by feeling and sensing. Even the smallest effort you make to pay attention to movement in your body can make a huge difference. This is how your body and brain are designed to work.

As you develop attention, you build confidence and become more alert and less prone to injury. Knowing where your feet and the rest of your body are in space allows your balance and general movement to improve. So does your mood. You’ll learn to avoid injury as you move more efficiently, comfortably and safely, at the same time reducing pain.

You can do it at home using books, YouTube videos, CDs/DVDs; or, go to local Feldenkrais classes, workshops and private sessions. Of course, check with your doctor first. If s/he hasn’t heard of Feldenkrais, there are thousands of websites and articles online.

The Feldenkrais Method was developed by Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais in the 1930s and is used all over the world as a safe way to improve movement for any age or condition.

Feldenkrais combines 21st century neuroscience with martial arts and child development concepts; it teaches you gentle movements to do at your own level.

While it won’t stop the clock from ticking, it establishes new neural pathways between brain and body, improves stability, vitality, coordination and balance. You’ll do the things you love longer, more comfortably and with more joy in your heart. So, take the help that your skeleton is designed to give and love your life again!

To learn more about the Feldenkrais Method or Awareness Through Movement classes please contact me at renofeldenkrais@gmail.com or 775-240-7882.

Carole Bucher, BA, is a Guild-Certified Feldenkrais practitioner/teacher and owner of Reno Feldenkrais Integrative Movement. Visit renofeldenkrais.blogspot.com to learn more.