Clearly this doesn't work if you're listening to the piano after work in the pub, but a report in the Archives of Internal Medicine shows that if you're getting on in years this might just be what you need to stay on your feet.
Sure, this may sound like a sweeter version of an 80's pop group, but it is actually a form of music and movement education. Developed a century ago by the Swiss composer Emile Jaques-Dalcroze, it is a way of using your body to gain a fuller understanding and deeper meaning of musical expression. It sounds a little weird but actually makes a huge amount of sense and you naturally do it anyway when you're tapping your toes or waving your hand to the beat. If you want to learn more there's a great write up and explanation on the Dalcroze Society of America website.
Back to the research
The study, conducted by Dr. Andrea Trombetti included 134 adults over the age of 65 who were at an increased risk of falling. Over a 6 month period the study group performed a series of multitask exercises that challenged the body's balance control system, these included walking in time to piano music and responding to changes in the music's rhythm. The study found that not only did those in the study group have fewer falls than the control group, they also increased their walking speed and stride length.
Music to Walk to
I think this is brilliant and is just one more piece of information that supports the idea of music being good for you. If you would like to try this out with some piano music I would recommend you try out the Solo Piano Playlist. You can stream the music directly from the site or become a member and download the tracks to your iPod.
Here's one of my favorite piano pieces - written for a very brave lady who survived cancer:
Emma – 20 minutes 4 seconds
Piano track written for a friend who was fighting cancer at the time - Liner notes