Movement is the number one thing that will keep you young and moving well.
Has something ever happened in your life that has made you feel less than?
Have you hurt yourself in some way that has made you feel older and no longer young?
Perhaps you have fallen or strained your back, or you have had an illness like a bad cold or the flu or much worse?
Because I predominantly work with Baby Boomers and older I often see this in my practice.
A debilitating event occurs such as a strained back and a common thought is “this is it, I will never play golf again or I have to give up my garden and I will only grow flowers in pots. It’s all downhill from here. I am just going to decline and soon I’ll be dependent on a walker!!!”
I understand I have been there too, we all have.
But here is the thing. You had setbacks when you were young in your twenties, your thirties, your forties but guess what? You figured it out. You maneuvered around it. You got back in the saddle, back in the race, leaped over the hurdles.
You didn’t quit. You started again. Age has nothing to do with it! You don’t have to be young to rebound. Youth is not a prerequisite.
You can get past a setback.
Here is a testimonial from a former student. It tells a very important story about what is possible.
“I was at a point where I thought that I would never play golf again. I was 76 yrs old at the time.
After I had tried many therapeutic modalities one of the therapists recommended that I should go to Mary Derbyshire to learn the Alexander Technique.
We started the sessions in late June. We did two per week for about 8 weeks. I went away for a month and then we continued with 4 more sessions. By this time I was able to play golf again.
The technique has kept at bay all other muscle problems not just the back but in the legs, knees, and ankles.
As a result of what I have learned from Mary, I can make a swing with good turn in both directions and am hitting the ball better than I have in years. I expect to be able to do that for many years into the future.
Pip Danby, Golfer, 78
This is not an anomaly. Pip may have felt that his back was truly killing him, but it wasn’t. It was just a problem that needed to be solved. Pip learned how to move better and as a result, his aching back and legs went away and he could get on with his life and do the things that he loved to do. In his case it was golf.
I teach a fitness class that is influenced by the Alexander Technique. I have taught this class for 14 years. We may feel young, but we are not young. In my class, I have students in their 50’s, 60’s,70’s, 80’s and 90’s.
We all run, jump, skip, hop and stand on one leg. I once read an NYTimes article that said after 80 balancing on one leg was impossible. Well, we balance on one leg every single class and I have a lot of students over 80.
We defy the trend, we defy the pre-conceived ideas, maybe we even deny the logic but the main thing is that we keep moving.
We move and we move well. We keep turning our clock hands backward even after an event may move the hands forward.
Here is a list of must do’s every day to get you back in the game and keep you active.
1. Walk. Take a walk. Start with a short walk if this is new to you. Increase your walking time gradually. Wear flexible shoes that do not have a thick sole. You need to be able to feel the ground. Sit less, walk more.
2. Don’t spend your day sitting on a soft couch or soft chair. Instead, opt to spend some time sitting on a hard chair like a kitchen chair or dining room chair. And while sitting sit on your sitzbones. You can locate your sitz bones by sliding your hands palm side up under your bum. Feel those boney bits? Those are your sitz bones. In order to sit with any ease, you must be sitting on your sitz bones!
3. Stand on one leg. As we age our balance becomes compromised but you can change that. Challenging your sense of balance will improve it. These are simple activities but do not underestimate their effectiveness, they work! If you are unsteady do these next to a chair or counter. Stand on one foot with your other foot just slightly off of the ground. Switch. Then stand on one foot with the knee bent and the foot higher. Switch. Next, walk the plank by placing one foot directly in front of the other. Do this going several steps forward and backward. Next, draw a semi-circle in the air with your foot. Do the other side. It is easier performing these activities while looking at the floor. It is harder while looking straight ahead. It is most difficult if your eyes are closed. Challenge yourself!
4. Heel Raises: Try this- take off your shoes and lift your heels off the floor so that you are standing on the balls of your feet. Allow the toes to splay. Lower the heels and repeat several times. You may want to put a chair in front of you for support if needed. This simple movement will encourage foot flexibility.
5. Head shoulder turn. Head rotation is another movement that can become compromised as we age. While sitting in your new way by sitting on your sitz bones think of softening your jaw, tongue, and neck and gently turn your head to the right then let your shoulders follow. Turn your head back to the center and just allow your shoulders to follow your head. Repeat this to the left. Practice this easily several times.
6. Cultivate a breathing practice. Exhale the air in your lungs, and then wait and wait some more. Then allow your breath to come in through your nose and mouth but only when you feel the need. You are not trying to hold your breath; instead, you are waiting for an impulse for the breath to occur.
Exhale, close your mouth and wait. Wait some more, and wait a little longer. Now let the air come in through your nose. Wait and then exhale. Close your mouth and wait, wait some more, and wait a little longer. Now let the air come in through your nose. Wait and then exhale. Close your mouth and wait, wait some more, and wait a little longer. Now let the air come in through your nose. Return to breathing normally. This is our easy-breathing practice. I call it Exhale and Wait to Breathe.
7.Alexander Technique Lie Down Practice. Check out the video. Lying down in this way 15-20 minutes is great for everything. The AT Lie is a cornerstone of the Alexander Technique. Click here for the video.
Move every day with ease and joy. You will be amazed how it will change your life in many wonderful ways!
How You Move Matters! You can learn how to move better with my Amazon bestselling bookAgility at Any Age: Discover the Secret to Balance, Mobility, and Confidence. My book is illustrated with 40 videos that you access with your iPad or smartphone! You can purchase it here.
My name is Mary Derbyshire. I am a fitness and movement coach. My methodology is the Alexander Technique, a mindfulness practice that teaches you how to move better. When you move better you feel better and when you feel better your whole life improves! Let me know what you think or ask a question! I love to hear from my readers! Feel free to post in the comments section below and feel free to share this with your friends!