A Science of Healthy Balance

Why We Need One - What It Might Look Like

Non-Fiction - Health - Fitness
71 Pages
Reviewed on 09/23/2023
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    Book Review

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.

Natalie Soine

A Science of Healthy Balance by George Locker explores the concept of healthy balance, emphasizing the ability of individuals to stand and move without hesitation or fear of falling. Locker contends that healthy balance should persist throughout one's life, challenging the misconception that falling is an inevitable consequence of aging. Organizations like the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Council on Aging assert that falling is not a normal part of aging. Locker's journey toward understanding healthy balance began through his study of Taijiquan, a martial art, which led to improved balance and stability. The loss of healthy balance is a neglected and poorly understood aspect of personal care and well-being, with a lack of medical attention due to a gap in education regarding healthy balance within the medical field. The book aims to promote a scientific understanding of healthy balance, highlight effective practices in fall prevention, and empower readers to maintain their own healthy balance throughout their lives.

Thanks to George Locker, I finally discovered why I possess the unique talent to fall up stairs and trip over nothing. A Science of Healthy Balance is well-researched and expertly written, filled with valuable information and resources. Most people would not give a second thought to why we fall for no reason, sometimes sustaining serious injuries. For that reason, this book should be on everyone’s reading list and deserves a place on all bookshelves and in medical consulting rooms. Focusing on physical balance might be the most significant act of self-care we could ever undertake. I mostly enjoyed George’s writing style – succinct, informative, and to the point.

Philip Van Heusen

Falling is the primary cause of injuries, many of which are fatal, in older adults. So, it's crucial to focus on developing and maintaining a healthy balance. This is the premise of George Locker’s book A Science of Healthy Balance: Why We Need One—What It Might Look Like. According to George, practicing T'ai Chi will lead to better and longer healthy balance through the Seven Elements. When one neglects to practice a healthy balance, they soon lose the ability to maintain balance. George offers this book as a call to action, asking that the medical profession study healthy balance and develop, teach, and apply a science of healthy balance based on a better understanding of how human balance is different from rigid block balance. This is a very interesting and important book.

Is it possible to take the technical and scientific discussion of human balance and make it understandable to the non-scientist? While it may seem like an impossible task, George Locker has accomplished this hard task in A Science of Healthy Balance. Using statistics, such as by 2030 more people will die yearly from falls than ever died from automobile accidents, George offers a fresh look at an age-old problem. George talks about the flaws in the traditional view of human balance, starting with the basics of Newton's Laws of Motion, and then explains how T'ai Chi can help you keep your balance youthful and strong. I highly recommend this book for those approaching or before middle age to understand what they can do to prevent falls well past the age of 65.

Pikasho Deka

After a certain age, some people begin to lose their stability and balance. Why is it so? How do you maintain or even improve your balance as you age? Find the answers to these questions and more in George Locker's A Science of Healthy Balance: Why We Need One - What It Might Look Like. As a long-term practitioner of Taijiquan, George's balance is better than ever, even at the age of seventy-three. In this book, Locker delves deep into the subject, signifying the roles of the different parts of the body, including legs and postural muscles, showing readers how they can maintain, improve, or even lose their balance and stability. He is immensely critical of modern medicine and the CDC and offers a new approach to take you on the path of healthy balance through weight-bearing sports and exercises.

Beginning with a discussion listing the seven elements of healthy balance, George Locker explores the topic further by debunking some commonly-held misconceptions behind healthy balance, such as equating balance with strength, or balance being "sensory," or an inborn talent. The author emphasizes that by using the correct approach, the human body can be finely tuned to stability and balance. He also strongly advises readers to engage in balance-related sporting activities and exercises, preferably before the age of forty-five. A Science of Healthy Balance ultimately provides a science-based framework to help middle-aged people and above find the tools and exercises that can significantly improve their balance and stability, which, in turn, will remarkably enhance their way of life. If you're on the verge of reaching middle age or pushing fifty-plus, this book is a must-read. It is a motivational book that I will highly recommend.

Carmen Tenorio

A Science of Healthy Balance by George Locker concurs with the medical field when it says that falling is not an inevitable part of getting older. This is a companion book to Falling Is Not an Option: A Way to Lifelong Balance where he supplements his previous work with materials that show us the scientific basis and the complementary Eastern and Western perspectives on muscle systems that support a new definition of healthy balance is, how to maintain it, and its connection with leg health. He also talks about how medicine misdefines what balance is, which results in the limited approach and management of both the medical profession and the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) which fails to curb the escalation of falling as an epidemic. The latter part of the book features a self-help, science-based exercise program created to preserve good balance that can greatly enhance the quality of life for millions of people and help lessen incidents of fall accidents and deaths in the future.

Similar to his previous work, A Science of Healthy Balance has a think-outside-of-the-box approach. The epidemic of falling is seen as an oversight of medicine and the author pushes for scientifically acknowledging a more broad and precise definition of what healthy balance is and the need to start maintaining it with information and skills that can give it a lifelong extension. The author believes that by adopting a more complete picture of what healthy balance is, accidents and death due to falling can be significantly minimized. This should especially be started by midlife or age 45 if possible, when it starts to decline. Locker's well-researched material can sound a little technical at times, but citing examples and analogies helps the reader understand the concepts that the author presents. Self-help is also included by sharing a link to an instructional exercise video for achieving a healthy balance. An overall good reference material, this book is highly recommended for doctors, physical therapists, and other healthcare professionals to help expand the scope of the traditional yet misdefined concept of balance and its limited approach of trying to cure mishaps instead of preventing them. The author gives a new perspective on balance and how important it is to pay attention before it becomes an issue, especially as we age, because an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.