Do your parents need a movement M.O.T?
Updated: Sep 29, 2020
One of the first signs that a person is getting into trouble with their movement is their inability to move through weight transference.
You can try this simple test on yourself or your parents if they are game. Ask your Mum or Dad as they are sitting in a chair to bring their weight onto one sit bone or buttock and see what they do.
The chances are that they will do something like this:
You can see that to bring my weight onto my left sit bone I have tilted my spine as a piece and have lifted my right foot to help me to try and balance. My head has swung in an arc over to the left.
The trouble with this way of shifting weight is that it causes the person to be vulnerable. I am precariously balanced in the photo above on my left sit bone and I am having to use my right foot and leg as a counter weight to stop me completely falling of the seat of the chair. If this patterns shows itself in walking then it can quickly become a waddle where the person's head swings from side to side and the gait becomes heavy. As the person's skeleton fails to support them so the feet, knees, hips and back begin to take the strain;
If your Mum or Dad are showing signs that this is happening to their movement then one of the best things you can do to help them is to teach them the 'secret' of weight transference and you can do this while they are sitting in a chair.
The spine and pelvis are meant to be our suspension system. If it is working as it should be then their movement enables us to shift weight from one leg to another or one sit bone to another.
You can see in the image below what I mean.
In this image you can see how I have transferred my weight onto my left sit bone once more but this time my head has stayed more centered. My right sit has lifted slightly, my ribs have moved to the left and my left side is now longer than my right (check out the height of the two shoulders so that you can compare). In walking, using my spine and pelvis in this way would look more like the image below:
Can you see the same pattern of weight transference. I am stable on one leg because I have allowed my pelvis and spine to side bend to the left. My left side is longer than my right and because my head is centered I am still able to look around myself to check for risks. Imagine this is someone waiting to cross a road looking out for speeding traffic.
One of the reasons I wrote my book, the Fit Sit Revolution, was to give the reader the tools to begin to think differently about how they are moving and how to change it. I've always believed that if you can show someone a different way of doing something that to them feels easier then they are much more lifely to change their habitual way of doing. This is the essence of the Feldenkrais Method.
The lessons in the book are easily done at home on a chair. Imagine the pleasure of helping your Mum and Dad to move better into their senior years.
I also have a video on my YouTube chanel which shows you how you can easily help your parents to improve this function:
The book is now available on Amazon either as a paperback or e-book edition. You can find it be clicking on the affiliate link below.