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Aging, the Alexander Technique, and a Great Way to Spread Alexander’s Work 

Michael Gelb, (friend, colleague, and fellow co-author of Walking Well),  begins his post on Aging and the Alexander Technique by telling us about how Alexander Technique teacher John A. Baron inspired and helped organize a landmark study conducted at San Francisco State University entitled:  Research into gait patterns in elderly AT practitioners compared with an elderly control group. 

The study found that older Alexander Technique practitioners had “gait patterns that align closely with those found in young adults, suggesting that AT practice may mitigate aging-related changes.” 

The study found that in comparison to others of the same age the AT practitioners showed:

*greater ankle flexibility 

*more efficient knee and hip movement 

*more stable head and trunk movement 

*better overall balance and coordination

*more upright / and stable trunk posture 

Baron comments, “Many in the Alexander community have known for years how AT work can help people walk with less stress and effort.”  He adds, “Now we have scientific support for the idea that the Alexander Technique improves walking efficiency as well as potentially reducing fall risks in the elderly.”

Almost Everyone Walks

Michael continues:

The AT is an amazingly effective means to improve performance in a range of disciplines. I’ve written about how it can help improve presentation skills, martial arts and juggling, and colleagues have written wonderful books about how it applies in acting, running, singing, playing various musical instruments, swimming, golf, yoga, etc. 

 Nevertheless, there’s a huge, untapped audience for the Alexander Technique.  Not everyone acts, sings, runs, swims or juggles, but almost everyone walks.  

In the U.S. more than 100 million people consider walking to be their most important form of exercise.

Walking Well – Our New Book on Walking

Michael and I have been working on this book, essentially every day for the past year. It’s a much better book than either of us could have written alone. I offer a simple, effective methodology that helps people become more comfortable and generate more vitality when they walk. Michael, also an avid walker, understands the unmistakable connection between walking and inspiration, and both of us are passionately interested in walking as a spiritual practice. 

I was amazed by Michael’s research skills. He’s read everything out there on walking. He’s found every fantastic quote written on walking by a countless number of great artists, philosophers, scientists, and environmentalists who, for a multitude of reasons, loved and needed to walk. But most importantly, Michael inspires us to walk. He makes us really want to walk. Then, once you’re out there walking, after you’ve read our book, you will have many enjoyable and effective ways to improve how you walk, ways I’ve developed over a half century of teaching people how to walk well.  And once you know how to walk well, it just makes you want to walk more because it feels so good, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

This book has the potential to help millions of people around the world walk with greater comfort and freedom as they age. It’s a perfect activity through which Alexander teachers can impart Alexander’s principles of non-doing, of naturalness, and integration. Think of it, a Sunday morning AT/Walking Well class! Sounds like fun, right. 

You can help us. And yourself. Pre-order our book. It will help us with our Amazon ratings. Our book advocates strongly for AT. That means, the more people who read it, the more people there will be who gets interested in AT. We hope it will help you both personally and professionally.

Walking Well: A New Approach for Comfort, Vitality and Inspiration in Every Step will be released by New World Library on September 3, 2024. It is available for preorder.

Excerpt from the Preface:

Walk While You Can

We are excited about bringing our more than 100 years of collective experience to you so that you can learn to walk with more comfort and energy for the rest of your life. We are united by a shared desire to alleviate suffering and elevate joy.  That desire springs from an ethos with which we were both raised, a love of learning and a sense of responsibility to help contribute to a healthier, happier world.  

Walking is a quintessentially human experience.  It is a way of experiencing a strong sense of being alive in this world. We don’t take it for granted.  We are grateful that we are fortunate enough to walk in relative safety, and we are devoted to contributing to a world where everyone enjoys this freedom. We also know and love many people who for a variety of reasons are unable to walk, whose walking is impaired, or who can no longer walk without assistance.  Michael’s father Sandy is 97 years old -and after surviving a stroke, a knee replacement, major heart and stomach surgery, and severe pneumonia, was in a wheelchair for more than a year, and is now, as we write these words, actively, every day, working on taking a few steps on his own.  With a twinkle in his eye, he suggested that we entitle this book: Walk While You Can.  If we are fortunate enough to be able to walk, safely and freely, then, regardless of our religion, nationality, race, age, gender, sexual orientation, or socio-economic background, while we can, let’s walk.  Let’s walk together, in comfort, in kindness, with vitality, with dignity, and in peace. Let’s walk well. 

Here are a few early reviews:

“Walking Well” transcends the ordinary, unveiling the profound journey of walking as not merely a form of physical exercise but as a vibrant pathway to a richer, more integrated way of life. Masterfully interweaving practical techniques with deep philosophical insights, the authors illustrate how each step can be a step towards greater health, creativity, and spiritual awakening. More than a guide; this book is a companion for those who seek to transform their daily walks into a practice of mindful exploration and personal growth.  “Walking Well,” doesn’t just teach us how to walk; it teaches us how to live fully, with each step revealing the beauty of the moment and the potential within ourselves. A must-read for anyone yearning to connect more deeply with themselves and the world around them.”

~Robert Peng, author of “The Way of Virtue: Qigong Meditations to Cultivate Perfect Peace in an Imperfect World”

“If you just read and experiment with the material in Part I of WALKING WELL your walking will become easier and more comfortable.  If you read and experiment with Part 2 you will have more energy and stamina as you get older; and if you read and experiment with Part 3, you’ll find out how every walk you take can become a spiritual and creatively inspiring experience. “

~Eva Selhub, M.D.  Author of Your Brain on Nature and Resilience for Dummies.

 Walking Well helped me to relearn a fundamental skill that’s been diminished by multiple surgeries over the past two years. This has improved my confidence and balance while offering me a pathway to more robust health. I especially love the animal imagery- so vivid and practical. A huge thank you to Michael and Bruce.

~Sally Helgesen, author, Rising Together, How Women Rise, The Female Advantage

“This is an absolutely brilliant work that integrates a huge amount of spiritual, scientific, cultural, and most importantly practical information.” 

–Kenneth Cohen, author of The Way of Qigong: The Art and Science of Chinese Energy Healing

“Can walking to your yoga class benefit you as much as the class itself?  Michael J. Gelb and Bruce Fertman answer with an emphatic YES!   In Walking Well, they deliver a cornucopia of surprisingly effective, immediately applicable, practical wisdom.  This original, compelling and creative book will show you how to make every step more comfortable, energizing and inspiring. “

~ Chip Conley, NY Times bestselling author and founder of the Modern Elder Academy

“Walking enhances brain function, boosts focus, elevates moods, and improves memory. That’s why I recommend it to all my patients. This book offers an easy-to-follow blueprint that will help them (and you) walk with more comfort, ease, and energy, so you can gain the most benefits possible from every step.” 

~ Daniel Amen, MD, CEO and Founder, Amen Clinics, author of Change Your Brain Every Day

“Gelb and Fertman, show you how you can swiftly improve your walking, balance and flow as you age.  I highly recommend this wonderful and life-saving book!”

~Ken Dychtwald, PhD Founding CEO of Age Wave 

“This inspiring book is replete with sound, evidence-based, advice for a healthier and happier life. “ 

~Tal Ben Shahar, PhD, author of the NY Times bestseller Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment

“Gelb and Fertman, renowned experts in movement and well-being, take readers on a compelling journey through the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of walking. Going beyond conventional understanding, they share an original approach grounded in a practical understanding of biomechanics and living anatomy, to making every step more comfortable, energizing, and inspiring.   This book will unlock the full potential of your walking life. “

 ~Patrick McKeown, Author of multiple bestsellers including The Oxygen Advantage. Fellow of the British Royal Society of Biology

“Gelb and Fertman unlock the profound mental and physical benefits of mindful walking, merging ancient wisdom with modern science. This book isn’t just about improving your stride; it’s about enhancing every aspect of your life by tapping into the natural rhythm of your body… I recommend Walking Well to anyone looking to step into a healthier, more creative, and balanced existence.”

~Dr. Marshall Goldsmith is the Thinkers50 #1 Executive Coach and New York Times bestselling author of The Earned LifeTriggers, and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.

Preorder NOW: Walking Well: A New Approach for Comfort, Vitality, and Inspiration in Every Step

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