For many of us who have spent a lifetime sitting in front of a computer all day it is not necessarily a given that we can do these simple motions. Our hamstrings have shortened and our upper backs have tightened.
If you can’t, you might be thinking “So what?” or “Why are you asking?“ I’m bringing it up because being flexible enough to touch your toes is a key skill if you want to maintain your independence and personal dignity as you age.
My mother made it to her 92 birthday and was fortunate enough to live most of her life in excellent health. At 88 she started to experience set-backs and she spent her last years in a series of assisted living and nursing homes. I visited her daily so I had a lot of opportunity to observe numerous elders and their respective experiences.
One of the keys to being able to maintain your dignity is to be able to dress yourself. This means being able to bend over and get clothes out of low drawers, shoes off the floor, pulling on your own socks and pants and tying your own shoes.
Right now you might think – get real – I won’t have trouble with that – but guess what? If you are having trouble touching the floor today you are not going to be more flexible when you’re older unless you start to do something about it now.
With our bodies, it’s use it or lose it, and you might be experiencing the beginning of your loss process now. If you want to be physically fit over 50, the good news is that it is never too late to start to do something about this.
If you still think you’re twenty-eight and not your true chronological age you might not relate to the real life women he uses to illustrate his manual but I encourage you to get past the fact that they are not magazine air-brushed models and follow their examples. If you have been staying fit over the years and these exercises are not challenging enough, by all means, keep doing what you’re doing just make sure you pay attention to your strength and flexibility.
Everyone can benefit from gentle stretches every day that will reawaken your body and put you in a great position to age well with grace and flexibility!