My Grandmother – who's sharp as a tack by the way – is slowing down. Granted she's 88 and just had hip surgery, but still. She's been slowing for a while. She can't walk as fast as she once did, but she's also lost flexibility. She can't reach as high as she used to. She can't take the stairs anymore. And this has got me thinking: someday, I'm gonna get old too (knock wood). And I'm starting at a disadvantage.
I've always been pretty limited in terms of flexibility. As a teenager, I couldn't touch my toes without bending my knees. It's pretty bad. I'm like a frickin' Ken doll – my head swivels and my legs and arms swing, but there it ends.
I'm not out of shape, mind you. I do loads of group fitness classes. It's just a flexibility issue. Thankfully, a couple of years ago, Melvin pushed me to start doing basic stretching after every class. And it really has helped. I can now touch my toes without bending my knees – at least once I'm warmed up.
But I figured there's only so much progress I can make. I'm not getting any younger.
I had made my peace with that, but last week I got a call from my sister that started to change my way of thinking. She has made some serious lifestyle changes this year and, through diet and exercise, has lost nearly 40 Lbs. Yay! We chatted a bit about our gym regimens, and it turns out she's been doing a lot of yoga. She's found it has made a huge difference in her flexibility. I believe her exact words were "I was hopeless when I started, but now I'm amazed at some of the positions I'm able to get into."
Stretchy exercise – yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates – has never been my bag. I always found it uncomfortable to hold stretches for a long period. Oh, I don't know why… maybe because I'm inflexible? But there it is.
But my sister got me thinking that it might be possible to gain more flexibility than I've managed from the simple stretching after cardio classes. And my own observations of my grandmother got me thinking that now is the time to do it – before I lose what little I have. Maybe it can help me stave off father time.
So on Tuesday, after step class, I showed up for BodyFlow – a kind of all-inclusive stretchy class featuring a little Tai Chi, a little Yoga, and a little Pilates; a good mix. And maybe it was because I was warmed up from Step, or maybe it was the stretching I've been doing after classes, but for whatever reason, I actually enjoyed it. It felt really good.
So I'm hereby committing to do this one day a week for now. And Melvin is going to join me for it. And if I see substantial improvement in my flexibility, maybe I'll add another stretchy class some time soon. Can't hurt.