We love living in the centre of Brighton and this has made quite a difference to our cultural life. Last Sunday we went to a gig. OK, it was in the afternoon, but it was a right rock-on affair with the Alter Eagles showcasing all the original Eagles songs. Who remembers the Eagles? Probably most of the audience – tee hee – as we were all of a certain age! Check them out on this link. And two days before, on Friday, we went out late to see a recorded live performance of Fleabag at our local independent cinema, the Duke of York’s. Wow, excellent, but to see something that starts at 9.0pm is such a change in our lives. In the old place we would never, ever, have gone out that late as 9.0pm was the time we started getting ready for bed! Mind you, we get up early (6.30am) so while I admit to being an early to bed type I’m a lark in the morning as we never sleep in. And Pheobe Waller-Bridge’s performance? Amazing – no words. She so deserves all those awards.
Not bought anything at all this month. So here I am walking along the seafront on Fleabag Friday in 2-yrs-old black jeans, denim jacket (bought in a charity shop in France), white (charity shop) beret and white (Peacock’s) plimsolls. I had lots of layers which I didn’t really need.
Here’s another look at that sunset.
Yeh, look at me, striding out there and enjoying the stimulating walk. And then….. You see the thing is, I fully intended to walk all the way to the Duke of York’s (which would be around half an hour and a normal amount of walking, normally!) but after 15 minutes, without warning the back tightened and my walking was impaired and we had to get a bus. And that’s a pattern that I’m repeating over and over. No pain, btw, but tight, so very tight and not able to stride along as I usually do.
And you know why that has happened? Yes, of course, it was the move and the bending to undo and unpack the boxes, but it is also the lack of consistency re: attending my exercise class and doing my daily exercises. Because I just didn’t do the classes over the move and the holiday. Actually holidays are a bit of a dilemma, they take you away from the stress of ordinary life, but in some ways an ordinary life (and the ordinary exercise regime you do) keeps you going. Yup, I missed 6 Pilates classes and didn’t do my usual warm-ups and weights. Well, if this hasn’t taught me that I must, I mean I simply MUST do both my classes and my daily exercises, then nothing will. Because strong muscles are there to protect your joints and at the time of the move, those muscles and that strong core – they just weren’t there.
Enough about me, how are your muscles? How is your movement? Movement of any kind, doing a class, taking exercise that suits you and, indeed, doing resistance exercises and weights matters, and significantly so, as we age. It’s not just something we think we should do based on our anecdotal bodily feelings as there is so much research out there. The latest is from England’s Chief Medical Officer (more bona fide you could not find) so do have a look at this summary on how strength-based exercise (that’s weights and resistance) is a must, and there’s another link to take you to the full guidance.
OK, it’s official – you have to do it. But how? See, I know what I have to do, I know what I should do, yet it’s not easy. What is easy is slipping, slippage, and sliding away from the exercises because, you know, you have such a good excuse. So here’s a few things I am doing and if it helps just one person to find a Personal Trainer and start exercising, that’ll be good.
In the acute phase, which I’m in, do get some help. Me, I go to a tried and trusted osteopath who has diagnosed that a lower lumber joint is damaged with consequent muscle tightening if I do too much, which then actually traps the nerves to my legs – hence the slower walking.
In the acute phase take the necessary painkillers, but also take control. What about acupuncture? I had a session on board ship – my word, it worked.
Return to your class when you feel you can. Upon returning to my class I did not enjoy the first 4 classes – and who’s fault was that! And remember Pilates is about strengthening the core so this is the right exercise class for me. For you, it could be a different type of class.
Talk about your needs with a Personal Trainer who knows your body. That might mean searching for one, because don’t go to just anyone. All the daily warm-up exercises I do are personal to me – they’re not random. And I have different areas that need working on, e.g. as well as the lower lumber joint, my feet need a lot of work. And incidentally, the feet are not arthritic, again, they’re tight so the calves need work, as in daily work.
Yes, that last bit, I have to, I must do these exercises daily. The trick will be to continue once I’m mended!
Then when out of the acute phase get the personal trainer to give you weights and resistance exercises that are personal to your body only. I have recommenced kitchen work-surface push-ups. If you engage your core whilst doing these you don’t damage your back but only start these under supervision. And note, you don’t have to go to a gym for your daily exercises, you can use furniture, walls and door surfaces for resistance.
And this business of taking control, as in not being passive. I mean I even see going to an osteopath as passive (you’re just lying there waiting to be sorted) but I was on the verge of taking painkillers this morning, because annoyingly one day I can feel fine and then I walk slightly too much and bingo the tightness returns, Anyway, instead instead of painkillers I did my warm-up exercises (geez, so stiff), but afterwards, less stiff, more upright (I’m quite crooked in the morning) and no need for painkillers.
That’s enough about my woes, which are so minor anyway, and know that I know that this will pass. Coughs apologetically and puts hand to mouth, because I’ve done this before. More than anything the one thing I should do is, not move again! Anyway, I expect all of you are very aware that exercise is key to us ageing well – do let me know how you are doing 🙂
With love, Penny, the Frugalfashionshopper