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Reviewed by Jon Michael Miller for Readers' Favorite
A Science of Healthy Balance: Why We Need One - What It Might Look Like by George Locker is a straightforward, clear, and scholarly examination of what the title promises. Locker is a longtime practitioner of Taijiquan or what we commonly know as Tai Chi. In his concise, brilliantly direct, and often wry treatise, Locker makes an almost indisputable argument that could go a long way toward solving the severe but often overlooked problem of falling injuries and deaths, especially among seniors. He presents the statistics and proposes a solution. He justifiably complains that the medical community not only ignores the issue before it is too late but also tends to misunderstand the causes and the solutions. He finally presents the scientific resolution to maintaining what he refers to as a healthy balance. We should practice weight-bearing exercises such as paddle boarding, ice skating, and cross-country skiing, or even simply standing on one foot, with the knee and ankle bent. He makes a special plug for Taijiquan.
Now and then, I happen to pass a group of people doing Tai Chi, moving together in a kind of dance, and I wonder what in the world they are doing. I thought it was some weird type of meditation. And though George Locker scorns the way that Tai Chi is popularly taught, he believes that when done properly and begun before age forty-five, Taijiquan is the perfect way to develop and maintain a healthy balance. I was informed by his presentation on a subject that I have rarely heard mentioned. He puts it in scientific terms (going back to Newton’s laws of motion), describing how balance is derived physically. It can be developed and maintained so that when we reach retirement age, we are not victims of random falls previously thought to be inevitable during aging. A Science of Healthy Balance is a powerful eye-opener that, if further developed, could save many lives.