Use it or Lose it - The Importance of Moving as We Age.
Why Pilates has become a non-negotiable for me as I consider ways of defying gravity.
“Sorry I missed your call. I was in Pilates class when you tried to get ahold of me,” I told my friend as I sat at my desk the other day, wearing a onesie and doing some writing.
“Do you feel stretchy?” she asked
“Not really,” I replied, “I feel like without all the stretching I would just be one solid and unwieldy piece of old rubber. Like my old baby shoes, where the soles turned into hardened plastic because the sneakers weren’t being used anymore. Stretching is life. Maybe someday I’ll actually feel stretchy like I used to in my youth… If I keep up the good work.”
“Aw. I’m sorry you feel like old rubber. I usually just feel cranky” she said.
“Thank you for your sympathy.”
Use it or lose it
There was a poster in the locker room of the very first Pilates studio I joined. It featured a strong older woman wearing a swim cap and a bathing suit. She had clearly just emerged from the pool. “Growing Old Isn’t for the Faint of Heart” it said.
The message was simple, and echoed a message I’d heard again and again from my own family: “Use it. Or lose it.”
There is an irony to the term aging gracefully, a thing we all aspire to whether we admit it to ourselves or not. Everything about growing older is a challenge. To move through time with grace takes work and intention. To maintain good health, and flexibility we must devote ourselves to good eating, good sleep and to moving our bodies.
What happens if we don’t? We lose the ability to regulate these things easily. We become insomniac food addicts with mobility issues. For the most part it’s reversible… but reversing course is far harder than maintenance. It’s like dinner dishes. If you wash dishes immediately following dinner it takes a few minutes. If you allow the dishes to stack up for weeks, you have a disgusting pile of smells and stuck on grease to clean up. It ain’t pretty, and it ain’t easy.
It’s possible that I am a many weeks old pile of dishes right now…
Forgive me father for I have sinned. I have slept poorly, eaten poorly and allowed gravity to pull me down.
Like many of you I have allowed the fluctuating reality that began rippling through my reality in 2020 to take hold of my health choices in a negative way.
But Pilates is still there to catch me, and already after just 3 months of regular practice I feel the mobility returning to my joints. Unfortunately if I pause even for a few days, the inflexibility returns… and this is why Pilates has become non-negotiable. I cannot afford to stop moving. I am reversing course on lethargy.
It would be a lie to say I’m not wishing to regain the Pilates body I had in my 20’s and 30’s…. but for now, gaining and maintaining mobility, agility, and flexibility has taken the front seat. My vanity must ride in the back.
What’s your use it or lose it activity?
Are you a Pilates devotee? A yogi? A runner? Do you simply just walk around a lot? Something else?
Let me know how you are fighting gravity these days, and how it’s going for you!
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