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  • Writer's pictureRichard Portugal

Bop to the Music and Walk Like Gene Kelly

Music! We can hear it all around us. It streams from the radio and iPods. We hear it on television and movies. It comes from our computers, cellphones and from the speakers in airports, malls and concert halls. It is in the wind softly caressing a leaf; it is in the drumbeat of a thunderclap; or it is in a torrential rain as it slaps the ground. Whether from a store bought guitar or a field of reeds swaying to the wind’s lazy beat, music emanates in our souls and makes us one with our world. We recognize the vibrations of the air as it entwines and captures our heartbeats. It heartens our spirit; it can make us sad; it can lift us into the ether—music holds a power over us and makes us meld with our world.

There are patterns to life which music emboldens. It is the bridge between us and ourselves; between us and nature; between us and the spiritual; between us and the unknown. We hear the music of the heavens and know that life holds secrets that are worth uncovering. Mankind has always been adventurous and seeks answers to the unknown. Whether it’s the Beatles or Brahms, music inspires us to feel, emote and sense. It encourages us to explore the textures of our world and believe that there is more than just mass, energy and the speed of light—that our world has meaning and substance—that stars blink in the night sky because they are dancing to a universal music.

And there is a natural rhythm within all of us. It calls to us from birth. It comforts us in the womb as a mother’s heartbeat with which we wish to synchronize. As a fetus, we dance and play to the tunes of our mysterious growth. Our growing arms and legs twitch, our brains dazzle and we rush into the world on a wail of our lungs, our first song bequeathed to our new life.

And then our ears fill with wondrous music. Such a noisy yet cadenced world that we react to instinctively. And as we go forward in our lives, the songs of our world and the beat of the universe stays with us and aids in our form and maturation. We are one with the music of the stars.

Yet now we are older and, at times, can forget the rhythms of our bodies; we forget that there is such a thing as music that formed with our souls in the womb; we forget the beat of life; we forget the very pulse that helps us age graciously and with confidence. Where the rhythm seems to dissipate most is with walking. Walking is a complicated human endeavor and becomes more challenging as we age. Feet must move over the ground, not shuffle along it; shoulders must counterbalance the movement of our legs; and the head must be positioned high on the shoulders. But, most important is to remember that walking is a dance step.

There is a rhythm and cadence to the movement, much as a ballroom dance or a waltz. Watch a ballet or foxtrot. Go perform a tango or twist. Look at Gene Kelly sing in the rain. The rhythm that we claimed in the womb is brilliantly on display in dance and in walking. Our feet, legs, hips, arms, shoulders and head are all synchronized with a vibrancy that surrounds us all. Walking is a dance step and to perform correctly you must feel the rhythm! So many elderly seem to stiffen when walking, pushing their feet along the ground with little movement in their hips or shoulders. There is simply no do-wop to their gait, no recognition of the music of their heart or the universal beat that inspires a soul. Even with the acknowledgement of medical issues, both physical and neurological, the beat of life must still be reignited. A dance step denotes a lightness of foot, a swaying of the arms, a swinging of the shoulders and a rocking of the head—all performed to the body’s inner beat. Hear the music; walk to the music; bop to the music-- it’s all around us!

Submitted by Richard Portugal, Fitness Senior Style, LLC, 201-937-4722

Copyright © 2018 Richard Portugal All rights reserved.

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