You have no doubt heard the expression, “The left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.” I had no idea where that came from, but I just had some insight that may explain it. I am teaching a class in Move With Balance, a program that was designed to help elders improve their balance and cognition. I found out about this program through a newspaper article, and I immediately bought the book and began the activities. The complete name is “Move With Balance: Healthy Aging Activities For Brain and Body” by Karen Peterson, M.A.
If you read my blog, you will have already learned about this class, as I wrote about it a week or so ago. I told you about my neighbor Louise, who was reluctant to commit to the class, and made a little game of her attitude, which made us both laugh. I am happy to report that Louise came to my first class a week ago and did a splendid job of the balance activities. She is 86, or maybe 82; I’m not sure because she tells me differently each time. I had her do the movements while sitting because I thought it would be easier for her. She concentrated hard and did a good job. I told her I was proud of her. The other people who were supposed to be there did not show up due to other appointments and such, so she and I had a one-on-one.
Today Louise said she had been sick and could not come, but hoped to be there next week. Another neighbor, Jean, came and we had a private session also. She did very well and was so pleased to finally have something that would help her with her balance. He daughter had told her something like, “You know, you are 82,” to which she replied, “I don’t care, I’m still here.” After the session, Jean said she would practice at home during the week. Both women told me they felt more awake and so much better after a half hour of these activities.
After a half hour, we seemed to have completed enough for one day, and we sat and talked a while. Jean said she began to feel off balance after she had surgery on her left knee about a year ago. Then this past spring she had surgery on the left hand, and the balance seemed worse. Both surgeries were on the same side of her body. I told her that I first felt off balance after having foot surgery a year ago. Immediately after saying this, I had this insight: if one side of the body is not working properly, or is weakened due to injury or surgery, an imbalance sets up, and you can be subject to falling. That is because the left side and the right side of the body must work together in harmony in order to have balance. And you don’t have to be old to experience these things. That is what this Move With Balance program is all about. Every activity works one side of the body in coordination with the other, crossing the hands over to the opposite knees, tossing a ball from left to right, etc.
The left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing means that one is off balance, and the brain/body coordination is out of whack. If you are having a balance issue, it may be due to surgery, injury, or some other physical malady that needs correcting. I’m not a professional physiologist, but just sayin’ . . .