As I write this, we are in the first week in April 2020, and in the midst of the start of lock downs around the world due to Covid-19. There is a lot of uncertainty, and a lot of changes we are making in our lives – and it got me thinking about control and flexibility.
Not only are we restricted in our movements, so don’t have the usual freedom and flexibility that we are used to … on the flip side, we are used to having some sense of control in our daily lives which has been taken away.
It is making a lot of us surrender into this experience with grace and hope for the future. But many of us also know that life will be different on the other side of this – just like life was different after Sept 11.
I have also been contemplating our physical states after six months or more of restrictions. How are we going to fare, with many of us used to relying on external motivators to get us to exercise. How will our general health be, and our mental health, after six months of living quietly. I think we will have vast variations between those who cope and those who don’t.
I also think a lot of people will age quicker and get fatter.
I’ve been reflecting on this, and my own exercise patterns over the last twelve months. I have been doing a lot of running and walking, but only some resistance training once per week. Whereas a few years ago, I was doing yoga three times per week, as well as a couple of resistance sessions, and also a spin class or two … and running.
I have let a lot of my own fitness slip, particularly my physical flexibility. And in the last couple of months, as it gets colder here in the Southern hemisphere, I have started to feel stiff in my hips in the morning.
Hence, I have used to last two weeks of being forced to slow down, to start doing some more mat work in my own house. I have returned to some yoga sequences in the morning, and some stretching in the afternoon, after some body-weight work on the mat.
After two weeks, I am already starting to feel my hips releasing, and the aching in my upper glutes is easing. All the impact training from running, and not doing enough cross-training or stretching, was certainly having its impact.
Part of me feeling like I was ageing was because I wasn’t taking care of my body – wasn’t staying supple and flexible. My strength was bunching up, and my joints were stiffening up. I could see myself in ten years time, if I hadn’t made this change, hobbling around with stiff lower back and hips and really walking like an old woman!
Hence, in this time, in our homes, taking up some yoga practice and basic stretching is a perfect practice. Here are some really easy flexibility exercises to start with.
Otherwise, there are many apps on your smart phones and iPads, like SWEAT, which can guide you through mat work and stretching exercises.