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Abstract HTML Views: 222 PDF Downloads: 87 Total Views/Downloads: 309
Participation in regular physical activity has a variety of health benefits including increased levels of function and independence for people who are ageing. The inclusion of motor learning principles into exercise programs is proposed to increase functional benefits. The presence of these principles in the Feldenkrais Method (FM) suggests this may be a beneficial program for the ageing population. Objective: A proof of concept study was conducted to determine the effectiveness of an eight week movement class based on the FM when compared to a generic balance class. Method: A pseudo-randomized controlled pilot study was conducted in an Australian community based organization of healthy people post-retirement, n=22. Self-perceived health and functional status were measured by the Short-Form 36 (SF-36) and Patient-Specific Functional Scale (PSFS) respectively. Objective functional assessment, by a blinded assessor, included the Timed Up and Go Test (TUGT), Functional Reach Test (FRT), Single Leg Stance time (SLS) and Walk on Floor Eyes Closed (WOFEC) measures. Results: There was a significant time effect for all measures except the WOFEC. Post hoc analysis demonstrated significant improvements for both the FM and generic groups in the SF-36, PSFS and FRT and for the FM group only in the SLS test. Conclusions: Classes based on the FM are effective in improving health and functional measures in a healthy ageing population, equally so with the generic class. Considerations for future research include a randomized controlled trial in a rehabilitation setting, with a larger sample size and appropriate measures to detect relevant change in functional levels.