No, Step three is not “move yourself out of the country.” Some people do, and that’s adorable.
Enough time has passed that some might assume I forgot I was listing the morning routine in detail. Sure, Step Two was over a month ago. Time is passing is the most peculiar fashion. The toddler who roars disappeared from down the block ages ago, but it was probably just summer camp to train him to yell louder. It seems to have been a success. He’s back and bigger, faster, louder.
I am not going to tell you you must do this stuff, but I promise you that if you don’t keep moving, your body it’s going to get stuck somewhere you don’t want it to be. It’s like the opposite of the admonition to quit making faces because your face might stay that way.
You need to move. A lot.
It would be swell if we could just bop along and have effortless flexibility and strength, but unless you are twelve years old, your easy bopping is already over, my darlings.
I was a gymnast once, but as I approached 50 I could barely reach my toes from any method or angle. I had to pay people to paint my toes. This is a wee bit premature, as aging goes. About the same time, I realized that I could not get up from the floor with grace and ease. According to whatever website I was on at the moment, a healthy person should be able to get up from the floor without using their hands–not just anyone’s hands, but their own hands. This was infuriating to a person who used to be able to roll up almost like levitation.
Later on, when I was working with very senior citizens, it was evident that mobility is a use-it-or-lose-it type of gift, just like good brains or a coupon for shrimp you left on the bus. Some folks could not get out of a chair without help and others would not sit still regardless of how comfy the seat. By the time you are 95, you can sit wherever you want for as long as you want, but being trapped in a comfy chair is avoidable for almost everyone, until it’s not.
I’m still not supremely flexible, but I can deal with my own toes now, and I have proven to myself that I can improve my flexibility whenever I resolve to remember to try.
Whenever you decide to move more and boost your body, remember to do it very gently and oh-so slowly. For some reason, we all tend to go berserk on fitness, and while it’s natural, it’s also the worst method. I wonder if it’s an expression of self hate to have a burst of gonzo exercise which causes too much pain and lets us go back to crying in our beer. Your mileage may vary, but I’ll bet you have at least witnessed this cycle in action. Buff! Biff! Beer!
So please keep in mind, if you pounce out of bed and forget your age and try to run a marathon, you’re going to get hurt and you will only increase your comfy chair trap chances. Avoid extreme overnight challenges in favor or extreme long-term challenges.
With that in mind, I have a morning stretch routine, which I very rarely skip. The whole thing takes about 15 minutes. I used to have a floor set of stretches, but it meant having a mat and the will to roll around in cat hair anyway, and I just don’t do that these days.
Your bones may creak, but noises are not a problem. Pain and balance are the problems.
Balance is not optional, so only work from a steady base.
You want to feel the stretches and reach until your body parts introduce themselves, but don’t make them scream. When you reach the place for “Howdy Hamstrings” stay there for a breath or two. When you do it again a bit later, you’ll probably be able to stretch just a skosh further.
You don’t have to be a trainer or know the names of all the tendons in your technicalities. For stretching, you just have to think like a cat. Yawn, reach, listen and savor your ability, whatever it is.
Cats do not worry about what it looks like when they stretch and neither should you. Rotate your joints and let the kids laugh at you. When you are the only one who can save the day in charades for a hula clue, they will eat their chuckles.
Personal trainers do not agree on anything, like dentists, so don’t let yourself get bogged down in confusing and conflicting recommendations. You know your body, and if you don’t, maybe get reacquainted. If you can’t do something you used to do, maybe formulate a gentle plan to get it back. Or not.
To reach new things we have to let go of other things.
I’m going to hang onto my toes, though.
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Don’t let the bastards get you down!! Get on top of the bastards with love!!
Feed my cat, LLC
She is dependent on prescription cat food, because of course she is. Do I buy her toys I cannot afford? Of course I do!!