November 26, 2010
Aging: Unsteady on Your Feet? Try Moving to Music
By RONI CARYN RABIN
Elderly people in a new study cut their risk of falling by more than half after they took classes in eurhythmics, an exercise-and-music program designed for young children.
The 12-month trial recruited 134 people, average age 75, who were unsteady on their feet. Half were randomly assigned to weekly hourlong eurhythmics classes for the first six months, and the other half took no classes until the following six months.
The program, developed by the early-20th-century Swiss composer Émile Jaques-Dalcroze, teaches movement in time to music, from Mozart minuets to jazz improvisations. Participants have to walk and turn around, stay in step with changing tempos, learn to shift their weight and balance, handle objects while walking, and make exaggerated upper-body movements while walking.
The two groups were monitored to determine how many times they fell. In the first group, there were just 24 falls over the first six months, compared with 54 among those who were not in the classes.
Even after the classes ended, the participants maintained their improvements in balance, walked with a more regular gait and were better able to walk while doing other things. The study was published online in Archives of Internal Medicine.
Read the full article HERE.