A respected movement professional once made a perplexing statement that I believe I now understand better. They said something to the effect of, ‘all of us would benefit from the occasional toss around on the ground’.
Over the years I have appreciated the positives of many movement professions. Feldenkrais, Pilates, Yoga, etc. I marvel in hindsight in summary about how much I am pretty much just rolling around on the ground. Interestingly enough I almost always end up feeling great.
As I age I have noticed when playing with my kids, or working on the house, that I find myself experiencing dizziness during change of head positions more than ever before. One day after competing with my daughter performing somersaults, I experienced a surprising amount of dizziness and loss of balance that took longer to recover than I had remembered. I realized a whole area that I had neglected in addressing age related changes affecting movement, in particular balance.
Just like my posting on balance, the vestibular system may experience age–related sensory degeneration documented since the 1970’s. I am a firm believer of the plasticity of the body meaning given the right stimulus the vestibular system has the capacity adapt to the imposed demand.
Thus introducing ‘The Foster Maneuver’ a.k.a. the ‘Half Somersault’ for treatment of the inner ear dysfunction known as Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo or BPPV. Did you read that right? A ‘Half Somersault’. Just another piece of evidence and justification to the statement ‘all of us would benefit from the occasional toss around on the ground’.
So in summary as you continue to pursue independence through function and mobility, please continue to challenge the systems in your body to adapt and perform as they did in your youth. Often we lose what we do not use. Remember to change head positions as tolerated in your exercises. Looking left, right, down, up, side-to side may help to restore the vestibular changes resulting from lack of use.
In case you are curious here is a link to the Foster Maneuver.