How the Qball can prevent a decline in eyehand coordination in the elderly Eyehand coordination & the elderly: So how does the Qball can help?
As people age they may experience a decline in the speed and coordination of movement. While this is a natural aspect of the aging process, it often makes simple everyday tasks more difficult and challenging. However, there are a number of easy, simple and fun exercises that anyone can do to help prevent a loss of coordination as they age.
What is eyehand coordination
Eye‐hand coordination involves the use of the eyes to direct the movement of the hands. We all use eye‐hand coordination without even thinking about it, however it is actually a complex process that begins when your eyes fixate on an object. Your eyes take in visual information, and send that information to your visual system. The visual system integrates and processes this information and then sends signals to muscles that control the movement of your hands. The result is the coordinated movement between your eyes and your hands ‐ allowing you to throw a ball, tie your shoe or brush your hair.
Why does eyehand coordination diminish as we age:
There are a number of reasons why an individual’s eye‐hand coordination skills may diminish with age. The most common reason involves a decline in functioning of the neuromuscular system, along with the central and peripheral nervous system. This can lead to difficulties with motor skills, including walking, fine motor skills and eye‐hand coordination.
Slower information processing, impairments in sensory receptors, muscles and nerves, as well as diminished cerebellar functioning have also been associated with the elderly’s decline in eye‐hand coordination skills. According to Dr. Wojtek J. Chodzko‐Zajko, an expert in aging and health from the University of Illinois, “Aging is associated with a loss of motor control” and “Everyday tasks that require hand‐ eye coordination become more challenging, like flipping a hamburger over a pan.”
What you can do to prevent a decline in eyehand coordination:
- Stay physically active: A number of studies (http://geronj.oxfordjournals.org/content/33/1/26.short) have found that active elderly individuals have faster movements and reaction times than elderly individuals who were not physically active. So as you age it’s extremely important to stay active – try learning a new hobby or participating on a sports team to help you stay active and exercise your eye‐hand coordination.
- Play catch: While it may sound surprisingly simple, according to Dr. Chodsko‐Zajko playing catch is one of the best ways to exercise and sharpen eye‐hand coordination. With a slightly erratic bounce, the Qball is the perfect tool to use for this. Try bouncing the Qball as fast as you can and count how many times you can successfully catch it in one minute. As your eye‐hand coordination improves you will be able to bounce the Qball faster and faster.
- Exercise direct and peripheral vision: Exercising your direct and peripheral vision can help improve and sharpen your eye‐hand coordination. To do this try bouncing 2 Qballs at the same time to waist height, alternating hands. Try focusing on the Qballs, paying attention to what numbers come up. This exercises your direct vision. Then try switching your focus to something in the distance or moving your eyes quickly back and forth, while still bouncing the Qballs. This exercises your peripheral vision.
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