Eurythmics Helps Elderly Maintain Balance and Prevent Falls

In a 12-month trial it was shown that when elderly people take classes in eurythmics they actually cut their risk of falling by half.

Eurythmics is an exercise and music program that was originally designed for children, but it has been shown to have great benefit for the elderly.

134 people whose average age was 75 and who were unsteady on their feet were studied for one year after they were randomly assigned to two groups. One group studied eurythmics for one hour a week for a full year, while the other group only took up the program the last 6 months of the study.

Outside of class the two groups were observed to see how often each group was subject to falling. In the first 6 months the full year group had 24 total falls, while the other group had 54 falls. Even after the program ended the participants continued to show improvements in their balance and were able to walk with a more normal gait. They also showed improvements in walking while doing other things at the same time, like talking.

Eurythmics was developed by the Swiss composer Émile Jaques-Dalcroze in the early 20th century. Movement in time to music is taught, whether the music is a Mozart minuet or a jazz improvisation. Walking, turning around and staying in step with varying tempos is practiced, and participants also learn to shift their weight, maintain balance and manipulate objects while walking. Participants are also taught to make exaggerated body movements of the upper part of their torsos also while standing and walking.

About

Rachel Forsythe has a B.A. in English Literature and worked as an editor for a local weekly news magazine. She is now a stay-at-home mom, raising three younger boys and two older daughters. Her favorite activities are hiking, reading, traveling, bike riding, skiing in the winter and surfing in the summer. She also loves to cook. Be in touch with Rachel at Rachel[at]sunstoneonline.com

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