To order your copy of Bottom Up!,

email Melanie:

From Toes to Head:
The Many Reasons To
Stand Up and Move

The book costs $10.00 (or less as a bulk order) and can be mailed to you for the added cost of postage.

The original booklet was a compilation of articles written for a “Senior’s Newsletter” at the JCC from 2009 to 2017. It was put together as a fund-raiser. The new book was created in response to many requests for another like the first.

Look for some articles from the first book on this page.

September 21 to 27, 2020 is National Fall Prevention Week. I do not think "prevention" is a good word because everyone falls sometimes. I like the word "reduction" since we can do things to reduce the risk of a fall. Below are two articles from my old booklet. They remain relevant.

Fall Reduction – where do you begin?                      


Falls are the leading cause of accidental death and disability in those over the age of 75.  Falls also lead to a downward spiral in activity as a person who has had a fall tends to move more cautiously to prevent another.  

The population over 65 in Canada is expected to climb to 9 million by 2031.  Falls will have an increasing impact on our health care costs.  This explains why there is more discussion of “Fall Prevention” in the media.

Can falls be prevented? It is possible to reduce both the number and severity of falls with appropriate education.  Fall reduction should be a focus in all adult exercise programs but there is much more to it than maintaining muscle strength and speed.

One study done in Glasgow, Scotland demonstrated that when people were shown ways to reduce fall risks in their home it had a significant impact on reducing their risk of falling outdoors too.   Start by taking a critical look at what you can do inside your home to reduce falls.  Obvious things would be improved lighting and removal of loose carpets, wires and general clutter.  Keeping frequently used items within reach, mending broken stairs or rails, installing grab bars in the bathroom and avoiding the use of bath oils are a few more ideas.

Besides the usual ideas of strengthening muscles and practising balance, there is the importance of keeping reactions working. This was another article from my original booklet:

Reaction time is the time taken for the brain to recognize a need to act plus the time the nervous system takes to send a command to a muscle.  Motor time is the time the muscle takes to respond to the command.  Simple reaction time (one decision to be made) slows by 0.5 milliseconds per year after age 30.  Unfortunately, we often need to make more complex decisions.  Add one choice to the decision and response slows by 1.6 ms/year. 

This ties in with “multi-tasking” or the ability to attend to one task while doing another. Doing several things at once requires the brain to switch back and forth between the tasks. If you walk downstairs and someone behind you asks a question there is considerable processing to do – some motor processing (the stairs) and some requiring other attention. 


Falls and car accidents happen more when multi-tasking and reactions slows down.

The good news is – “both reaction time and multi-tasking improve with practise”; perhaps not to the speed of a 20-year-old, but enough to reduce driving accidents and falls.  How and where do you get the practice?

Ideally, doing physical activity that demands reactions and attention.  Folk dancing and team sports are good examples. Some classes deliberately set up situations demanding reactions and multi-tasking as part of the “fall reduction” plan.  If moving is too threatening, brain fitness at the computer may be a safer beginning.