I’m having relationship problems.
No, not with my husband. With my body. The complaints are the same, though.
“I need more attention!” it complained last year. So I began to see a trainer five days a week, added a class two times a week and now, go a more normal three times a week for two hours. And maybe a Saturday class or two.
“Stop yelling at me!” it said, when I’d get impatient with the new aches, pains and strains of middle-age that made every day life a little harder than it was when I was young.
“You never listen!” it cried out the other day, after I pushed way too hard in some difficult moves. And paid the consequences the next few days. Aging bodies need to be heard.
I do listen, though, better than I used to. Like any relationship, I’ve learned the hard way that the one I have with my body takes as much effort and skill-building as any other.
When I was young, I didn’t have to think before I did something. I could reach into the back seat of the car while wearing a seatbelt without thinking and 99.9% of the time be fine. Now, I have to worry about torquing my back or my neck. Of course, I always had to worry about that, but when we’re younger, our muscles are more flexible and more resilient.
Now, every unusual movement–stretching, reaching, bending–has to be done properly and mindfully, because older muscles do strain and injure more often.
One day last year I sat in a chair at my bank and couldn’t get up. My back went out in the act of doing nothing. Like any relationship that hasn’t been heard, it was getting my attention. Dramatically.
Things are different now. My unusual trainer has helped me understand how to get along better with my older body. And especially he’s taught me the need to give particular attention to the hip flexor muscles at my age. They run the show, it seems.
My relationship with my body is the one I’ve had longest. I’d like to keep it that way.