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December 8, 2007

'Look for opportunities to practice standing on one leg' — Scott McCredie


McCredie's new book, "Balance: In Search of the Lost Sense," is a meditation on the wonder of human equilibrium.

I was struck by the penultimate paragraph of Daniel B. Smith's August 19, 2007 New York Times Book Review discussion of the book; that paragraph follows.

    From the review:

    Tales of "extreme equilibrium" ("Balance" also includes unicyclists, Chinese acrobats, and an 84-year-old competitive table tennis player) provide McCredie with something of a practical moral. At the start, he proclaims his concern over "an epidemic of falls" that is "mowing down the elderly like scythes." This sounds like tabloid hyperbole until you read the statistics. By 2040, at the current rates cited by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25 million people will fall in the United States each year, "resulting in eight million injuries and 25,000 deaths." To counteract this trend, McCredie suggests balance training, in the form of anything from tai chi to ballroom dancing. He even includes an appendix of balance exercises. For example: "Look for opportunities to practice standing on one leg.... Do it while you’re waiting for the bus, cooking, brushing your teeth, watching TV or any time you find yourself standing around."


Having had several neighbors die after falls over the past few years, this advice resonates.

Where's my slackline?

December 8, 2007 at 02:01 PM | Permalink


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Judo. Judo teaches falling skills.

I tripped coming out of court - spouse by my side - and went down head first. I tucked, hit first on the left shoulder - rolled across my back and came off of my right hip and was standing up before my spouse even realized what happened. I didn't even tear my suit (thought the palm pilot in my right hip pocket (wallet is in jacket) lost the screen....).

I took Judo in high school. I didn't even know that I would react that way until it happened. I've since taken up Aikido and am building upon the 30-year-old foundation. The oldest person in the class is an 83 year-old who can toss me across the room whenever she wants to.

Posted by: 6.02*10^23 | Dec 8, 2007 7:14:55 PM

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