The elders in the neighborhood used to suggest that the children “walk it off” if they fell and hurt themselves. Such advice can be perplexing as it’s not based on science, rather machismo. “Be tough and never let the world see you buckle” is the underlying message. But, what if there was a way to walk away from an injury? This isn’t meant to over promise the spectacular gift that is Power Plate®.
This post is meant to highlight a recent scientific study that concludes Power Plate® training improves walking function (as defined by walking speed) in spinal cord injury (SCI) patients. It’s worth mentioning that SCI patients range from the moderate (able to rise to standing) to the extreme (quadriplegia). For the study in question, there were “17 subjects with SCI, all of whom had the physical ability to rise from sitting to standing (using upper body support) for at least one minute.” These patients had begun Physical Therapy (PT) and were showing signs of improvement. Then an intervention happened to add whole body vibration to their therapy regimen. “After 12 sessions of Power Plate® intervention, an increase in cadence, step length, and intralimb coordination was noted.”
The intralimb coordination, also known as contralateral movement, is important to an efficient gait pattern as it provides the most balance and stability. Stand up for a moment and take a few steps around your office or apartment. With each step, be sure to move your right hand forward every time your left foot moves forward and vice versa. Exaggerate the movement as you walk around your space. Pay attention to the rotation in your hips. That contralateral movement helps the hips to rotate allowing for a longer stride after the rotation of the hips.
If you want to see more of this, watch some Olympic runners in slow motion. Part of the class curriculum at the cutting edge Power Plate® studio in Alameda, Symmetry Yoga, is coordination. Focusing on contralateral movement and balance through dynamic single-limb support helps class attendees to maintain an efficient gait pattern, increase their walking speed, and walk away from injuries stronger than ever.