Introduction & Guidance
The Movements in Photo Form
Video of the Movements
About this course
- Approx. 30 minutes
The exercises in this programme are appropriate for those who can stand, walk and move unsupported by any devices. This course includes an exercise manual and video. It does not include the mat.
Why movement for seniors is important
The fear of falling and developing dementia or Alzheimer’s is more common today amongst seniors, or the elderly, than it ever has been. But at the same time, the latest research into how our brain and nervous system develops and how we can prevent physical and mental deterioration also helps us to combat that fear with simple, practical advice and routines.
As we grow older many of us lose the motivation to exercise for a variety of reasons; be it pain, dysfunction or habit. But the more we learn about the brain and the nervous system and how movement affects us positively, the more proof we have that movement is our best medicine!
We do know from extensive studies that physical exercise has a multitude of effects on both our cognitive and physical improvement. In studies over a 6 year period, it was found that those over 65 years of age who exercised more than 3 times per week were 32% less likely to be diagnosed with dementia than those who exercised once or twice per week [i].
The brain is capable of changing at any age! Unfortunately, few people realise that lack of physical activity and being overweight also has detrimental impact on the brain. The research shows that people who are very overweight and obese in middle age are 74% more likely to have dementia [ii].
Moving less contributes to loss of mobility, balance and stability and it begins to affect our ability to control our trunk. This deterioration of balance, mobility and stability causes people to move even less, decreases their confidence and independence and increases the risk of falling.
However, a carefully designed exercise or movement programme can not only reduce the risk of falling, but can also improve our cognitive fitness. The increase of balance, mobility and stability can also give us more confidence and independence in going about our daily activities.
Cross-lateral movements (movements that cross the midline of the body) increase blood flow to all parts of the brain, making it more alert and energized and more cohesive to concentration and learning. Cross-lateral movements also unify the cognitive and motor regions of the brain [iii]
A lot of the research on falls prevention involves 2-3 sessions per week of exercise. The advice given frequently by medical practitioners and physical therapists is also to practice 2 to 3 times per week. Although this is better than not doing anything at all, this is not enough.
It is our experience, from working with stroke patients and with patients with other neurological issues, that frequency and repetition are integral to making physical, mental and neurological changes.
So the advice is to do some movement every day or at least six days per week. It doesn’t take much to feel the changes – 30 minutes per day for 6 weeks is sufficient to change the movement map. If you can do more, even better!
You should aim to get to 45-60 minutes of functional movement per day and then make it part of your daily lifestyle.
It will help you move better, think better, more importantly, it can enhance your brain power and make you feel better!!
If YOU can’t find an hour per day to dedicate to your health and fitness , you are not trying hard enough!
How the Movement for Seniors Programme works
Improves balance: challenges the brain and the body to move outside the centre of balance in a safe way
- Improves stability: trains the proprioceptive system and increases the body’s awareness of its positioning and to correct faulty movements
- Improves mobility: includes whole body movements that counteract flexion patterns caused by extended sitting and lack of movement
- Improves brain function: uses cross lateral movements which increase blood flow in all parts of the brain and synaptic connections in the brain.
- Improves quality of movement patterns: Through carefully designed movements and repetition, this programme helps participants regain full movement throughout their bodies (reestablishing movement patterns in the neuromuscular system) or simply improve and extend their existing movement patterns.
[i] Larson, E.B., Wang, L., Bowen, J.D., McCormick, W.C., Teri, L., Crane, P. and Kukull, W., 2006. Exercise is associated with reduced risk for incident dementia among persons 65 years of age and older. Annals of internal medicine, 144(2), pp.73-81.
[ii] Whitmer, R.A., 2008. Central obesity and increased risk of dementia more than three decades later.
[iii] Brady, J.F., 2009. EXERCISING THE BRAIN. ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal, 13(2), pp.27-31