As we get older, we sometimes tend to get a bit less than graceful in our muscle movement. We tend to lose some of the ability to move in a totally controlled and coordinated manner, the way most of us were able to move in our youth. Note that I’m not talking about “fine motor skills” such as tying shoelaces or fastening buttons. That’s another topic altogether.
I am simply referring to the ability to move our muscles, joints and other infrastructure to make our body do precisely what it’s supposed to do. Sometimes our body does what it wants to do, and that’s not always what we want. Some call it a loss of coordination. Some call it “klutzy”.
It does include beginning to lose major hand-eye coordination. As we get older, we tend to miss more tennis balls or duff the golf ball more often, or even struggle getting into our clothes gracefully. We tend to lose our balance or take a little longer to recover. It comes with the territory. It’s part of the normal aging process. It includes the ability to put our hands and feet where we want them to go. It includes the ability to control our physical movements. It includes keeping our balance and being able to easily regain our balance if we get a bit off center.
Motor coordination can be retained or retrained if we put the time and the effort into doing it. Remember those words: time and effort.
How? By including some motor coordination drills as part of your normal exercise routine. They can be learned and performed fast or slow and in different versions. The more slowly you do them, the more motor skills are required.
That’s one of the reasons why I believe floor or ground movements are so good for Seniors. They require a certain discipline of movement to do them correctly and effectively. The more slowly you do them, the more motor coordination it takes. I’ll describe some of those floor and ground movements with videos starting the first quarter of next year. One of the best methods I’ve seen recommended for motor coordination skills it to learn to juggle. Doing cross-body arm and leg movements is another.
Most gyms have balance boards, “bosu balls”, and other equipment for working with your motor skills, especially for balance. If you don’t belong to a gym, try walking on a roadside curb, or try walking on those little curbs in front of your car in a public parking lot. Walking railroad track rails was fun when I was a kid. You might get thrown out of the subway station if you were to try it on today’s modern systems, and most AMTRAK or commercial rail lines are well protected with barriers. Don’t even think about it.
Mostly it’s a function of paying attention and focusing on what you are doing. It’s both a mental and physical process. If you are aware of what your body is doing when you move it, you will be practicing motor coordination skills. If you do it enough, you’ll retain those skills.
Thank you for reading.