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J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2016 Oct;20(4):751-760. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2016.04.009. Epub 2016 Apr 8.

Older adult Alexander Technique practitioners walk differently than healthy age-matched controls.

Author information

1
Department of Kinesiology, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA USA. Electronic address: hamelk@sfsu.edu.
2
Department of Kinesiology, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA USA.

Abstract

The Alexander Technique (AT) seeks to eliminate harmful patterns of tension that interfere with the control of posture and movement and in doing so, it may serve as a viable intervention method for increasing gait efficacy in older adults. The purpose of this study was to compare the comfortable pace gait kinematics of older AT practitioners with those of healthy, age-matched controls. Participants were six licensed AT practitioners and seven healthy age-matched controls between the ages of 61-76. During the stance phase, AT participants exhibited significantly greater ankle stance range of motion (ROM) and plantar flexion at toe off, as well as lower ROM of the trunk and head compared to controls. During the swing phase, the AT practitioners had significantly increased hip and knee flexion and a trend toward significantly increased dorsiflexion. The findings suggest that the older AT practitioners walked with gait patterns more similar to those found in the literature for younger adults. These promising results highlight the need for further research to assess the AT's potential role as an intervention method for ameliorating the deleterious changes in gait that occur with aging.

KEYWORDS:

Aging; Biomechanics; Gait; Kinematics

PMID:
27814855
DOI:
10.1016/j.jbmt.2016.04.009
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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