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FALL 2009


Written by: Teresa Bisson, PT, MSPT, NCS, ATP

A performer in a Cirque du Soleil show.   A high schooler running in a cross country race.   A construction worker carrying tools across a beam on the 20th story of a high-rise building.  A woman walking across a busy street with lots of traffic. 

What is one thing these people have in common?   They are all challenging their balance! 

Balance is a complex process that involves many elements.  Some of these elements have to do with you as a person, such as your muscle strength, flexibility, sensation, vision, and ability to think and react.  Other elements have to do with the environment around you, such as how even or uneven the ground is, how much light is available, what obstacles are present, and what’s going on around you.   Finally, there is whatever action you are involved in, whether it requires you to move or stand still, reach, pick something up, or change positions.   So the challenge to your balance depends on you, your environment, and the task you are doing at any given moment. 

Some people describe feeling “wobbly” when they walk.  Others have more difficulty walking to the bathroom at night, or turning their heads to scan the grocery store shelves as they walk up and down the aisles.   There are people who can stand on a hard floor without a problem, but tend to fall over when standing on soft ground or sand.  Standing on one foot to put pants or shoes on can be a challenge.  All of these situations describe different types of balance problems.

So what do you do if you have difficulty with your balance?  At Bodyscape we can evaluate you to determine what is affecting your balance.  Your therapist or trainer will then work with you to develop a movement and exercise program specifically designed to help you.  

We'll work with you at Bodyscape, but you will also be given things to do at home.  This is the most important part!  Being diligent about doing your exercise program makes a huge difference in your improvement!  Researchers found that older individuals who had a history of falling made a 33% improvement in their balance abilities when they did all their home and PT exercise programs as instructed by their therapists.   The individuals who only did their home program some of the time only improved by 11%. 

The exercise of the month that you see in our newsletter is just one example of a balance exercise.  There are many ways to improve your balance, and it is important to talk to your therapist or trainer about the best ways for you!


  1. Research has shown that exercise can help to improve balance and reduce the risk of falling.
  2. People who wear bifocals are at increased risk for falling, especially within the 1st 6 months after their prescription changes.
  3. As we get older, our balance reactions become slower, but they can improve with practice!

How to Get Started

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Written by: Olivia O'Hare, Pilates Instructor

Take three steps starting on your right foot, head straight, arms to your sides. On the third step shift your weight fully onto your right foot.  Lift your left leg up, bending your knee and taking your foot off the ground briefly stopping the forward motion of your walk.  You should be standing on one foot like a flamingo.  After balancing on the right foot, swing your left foot in front, placing your weight on the left and continue to walk for three steps pausing to balance on your left foot as your right foot pulls away from the floor into a flamingo stance.  Do your best as you walk to roll through your foot articulating heel, ball of your foot, then toes with each step.

Olivia demonstrating Walking BalanceOlivia demonstrating Walking BalanceOlivia demonstrating Walking Balance

If you find you are a bit wobbly when you balance try to engage your abdominal muscles more deeply and fix your gaze on a specific point in front of you.  Watch out for looking down or slumping forward as you move.  You might also recruit a friend to offer you an arm for support as you build confidence.

To make this test more challenging try moving your foot so your shin is perpendicular to the floor and hold the position for a few seconds to a minute at a time.  Also you can do it barefoot, on an unstable or uneven surface, turning your head side to side, with your arms overhead, or with your eyes closed (best to make sure you have a buddy to keep you safe if you choose the latter). 

This is just one of many exercises that, if practiced regularly, can help to improve your balance and prevent falls.



Saturday, October 17th, 2009 @ 11 AM
Learn and experience Alexander Technique!.  This is a FREE one-time only introductory class.  Please sign-up with Lia.

NEW EVENING PILATES MAT CLASS!!! Mondays 7-8pm, Taught by Olivia O'Hare. Starts October 12th!!!

CARDIO TONE CLASS - FUNCTIONAL FITNESS: Wed & Fri 8:30-9:30am, Taught by Pam Johnson

PILATES MAT\ CLASS - Mon 8:15-9:15am, Taught by Alexa Weir

HATHA YOGA CLASS - Thur 9-10am, Taught by Alexa Weir

For complete information visit our GROUP CLASS PAGE.


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If you have problem with the link above, please call Lia at 626-449-3900 so we can send you an invitation from the site.





Earn a reward every time you refer a friend who signs-up for a series of private/group Pilates classes, or Physical Therapy.

Client Type                Your Reward
Physical Therapy       45-minute CranioSacral massage
Private Pilates            One (1) private Pilates session
Group Class               One (1) group class session

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Drop your name in our fishbowl for our October giveaway drawing! You may be the next winner!

September Prize: 1 Full Foam Roll -- $20 value

October Prize: 1 hour CranioSacral Therapy -- $75 value

Congratulations to Cynthia Bennet --- Our August Winner!!