A warm, if a little wet, Happy New Year to one and all! Deep breath, clean slate, let’s give it another go…
If you are one of the many people who finds themselves thinking, “Everything hurts!” or ” Which bit aches today?” my aim this month is to give you some possible insights into why it is happening and what you can do to help yourself.
It’s so easy to think it’s just because the number of birthdays are mounting up. While the collection of birthdays is relevant in terms of the more you have collected the more likely you are to ache, don’t think the inevitability of a rapid decline should be accepted as ‘just one of those things’.
Yes, as we mature our muscles weaken and tighten, our balance is less reliable and our joints stiffen. HOWEVER, dig deep and be COMPLETELY HONEST WITH YOURSELVES. How active are you compared to 10 years ago? How often do you challenge yourself to check how good your balance is, how supple your leg or arm muscles are, how bendy your joints are? If you have had bodily grumbles for which you have been armed with exercises and advice, how often do you practice them?
I’ve heard it all! “It’s all right for you, you’re lucky, you have one of those naturally bendy, balanced, bouncy bodies!” I’ll let you into a secret. There is NOTHING naturally occurring in that accusation!! NOTHING, NOT ONE SINGLE ‘B’. Most days, I can’t confess to 365 days of dedication, I ponder ‘ooh that bit’s tightened up’ or I’ve been on holiday or been poorly and it dawns on me how slumped I have become. Bending over to pick something up I catch myself wanting to bend my back and not my knees. It’s true.
I too am a lesser mortal. I too want to cheat and do things the easy lazy way. But despite all that, I know that if I give in, the ‘ooh everything aches, old age doesn’t come alone, poor me!!’ will be my all too frequently said mantra.
Another lovely catchy phrase I have thrown at me is “Just you wait until you get old, you have no idea…” As heart warming and encouraging as this maybe, I know EXACTLY what is round the corner but what I am not prepared to do is wait!
I am investing now and so can you. It is never too late.
I am not suggesting that I can cure you of all your aches and pains with a few buttock clenches as you wave your arms above your head (although that really is a fabulous exercise). What I am suggesting is that if you don’t invest, the number of days you think “Everything hurts!” or ” Which bit aches today” will more than likely increase exponentially, as the heat of the candles you blown out each year increases.
Some of you may well have poorly bodily parts. While these have to be considered, what about all the other bodily parts that you COULD do something about?
So what’s to be done? The first question is to ask yourself ‘How active am I really?’
And I mean REALLY.
How many days a week do you walk purposefully, arms swinging, where you are comfortably out of breath such that your muscles tingle in your legs and arms? Shopping of any kind doesn’t count my friends because it is stop-start, involving weaving and dodging all the other shoppers while bending over to peer and prod (although not at the other shoppers of course.)
How often do you haul yourself out of your chair or up the stairs using your arms, when you could perfectly well get up using only your legs? For those of you who are capable, when did you last sit on the floor if only for a minute? Can you remember when you last checked your ability to stand safely on one leg, even if only for a second or two?
It isn’t easy and for most of us it doesn’t come naturally to challenge our bodies unless we reach the point where pain forces us to want to do something about it. Then most of us would do almost ANYTHING to make it stop.
Changing your mindset to one of ‘where do I start?’ could pay dividends as the annual Happy Birthday chorus rings in your ears.
If you wish to ride this journey with me, begin as follows:
1. Write an honesty list about EXACTLY what you do each day for a week. Consider which bits of your body you are working and for how long.
2. Do you lean on your arms or hands to get out of a chair or off the loo or to climb the stairs, simply out of habit?
3. If you can get onto the floor, ask yourself why you don’t do it more often.
4. Where you feel safe, check how long you can stand on one leg.
5. Why don’t you walk briskly for 20 minutes most days?
WRITE IT DOWN! DON’T JUST FILE IT IN YOUR HEAD! The reality is clearer on paper.
Next month I will talk you through some easy but highly effective exercises to help you, help yourself. It doesn’t matter if you’ve tried in the past but given up. It doesn’t matter how many times you start again. What does matter is that you remind yourself it’s never too late and you NEVER EVER EVER give up.