Effects of Alexander Technique training experience on gait behavior in older adults

J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2015 Jul;19(3):473-81. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2014.12.006. Epub 2015 Jan 7.


Heightened fall risk, potentially caused by aging-related changes in gait, is a serious health issue faced by older adults. The Alexander Technique is thought to improve balance and motor function; however, the technique's effect on gait has not been studied. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of Alexander Technique training in older adults on the temporospatial characteristics of gait and medio-lateral center of mass displacement during fast and comfortably paced over-ground walking. Six licensed Alexander Technique teachers and seven controls between the ages of 60 and 75 years of age participated in the study. Alexander Technique teachers exhibited a reduction in medio-lateral center of mass displacement during fast paced walking compared to comfortably paced walking that was not present in controls. Due to this difference Alexander Technique teachers displayed a smaller medio-lateral Center of Mass displacement compared to controls during fast paced walking. Alexander Technique teachers also demonstrated significantly smaller stride width and lower gait timing variability compared to controls. These findings, which suggest superior control of dynamic stability during gait and potentially reduced fall risk in Alexander Technique teachers, warrant further study.

Keywords: Aging; Center of mass stability; Fall prevention; Walking.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control
  • Aged
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Gait / physiology*
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Education / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postural Balance / physiology*
  • Walking / physiology*