When I began with Barbara at Body Dynamics, she asked me a question I’d never heard before.
WHY didn’t I like to exercise?
We were standing in one of the treatment rooms, doing my initial fitness assessment. (Just – stand up and sit down for 30 seconds. Now stand on one foot for a minute. Stuff like that.)
(The standing on one foot thing was a surprise. I have great balance; I can walk with a book on my head up and down the stairs. However, this exercise – my Mom’s attempt to make her daughters glide like Grace Kelly – has NOTHING to do with what Barbara thinks balance is. I stood proudly on one foot and she looked at my ankle, wiggling to compensate, and asked, only semi-seriously, “You haven’t been drinking, have you?” Dang. Another self-delusion exploded!)
(I can do it now, though – like a one-legged boss!)
And then Barbara asked me why I didn’t like to exercise.
I’m 57. I have both experience and intellect. I am rarely caught without a strong opinion on any subject. You ask me anything about exercise or diets, I’ll have an answer at the ready. (I’m learning just how many of my answers are misinformed, but see other posts for THAT revelation.) But Barbara asked “why” when no one else ever had. Why? Why?! I don’t know – because! She left me gaping with that one.
“Why? Um… It makes me hot. Uh – I sweat. Erm… I make impact tremors like the T. Rex on Jurassic Park stomping around. Uh… my back gets tight. I, uh – ”
“Wait. Stop. What?”
“You know – Jurassic Park. When Jeff Goldblum sees the impact tremors in the glass of water.”
“No. Your back. What was that?”
“When I walk or something. My back tightens up. I want to sit down every five minutes to stretch it.”
“Where on your back?”
“Now, hang on – my back is fine. I’m the only person I know with no back problems.”
“I’m not saying you have a spinal issue. Where on your back do the muscles get tight?”
So we discussed it. And I walked for her. And I stood for her. And then she announced that I was lordotic.
I’m a writer; I love new words. “Lordotic” was a new one on me; I demanded an immediate explanation.
It turns out that the pelvis drapes around the spine like a lady wearing a shawl. (This is my description, not Barbara’s, so my imagery could be very, very wrong.) The shawl is supposed to be even, but my “shawl” tends to dip forward. The points of my hip bones – Barbara calls them headlights – tend to point down.
Now, there’s nothing physically forcing my pelvis down; it’s just the way I stand. So my lordosis is entirely treatable simply by building up the abdominal muscles that will pull my shawl back up into alignment.
And when that happens, the muscles across my mid- and low-back that have been trying to make up for the slipped shawl will be able to relax and do their usual job. So – no pain. No need to stretch or sit down every five minutes.
“Shut up – you’re kidding. You can fix this?”
“YOU can fix this.”
That was over a year ago. I’ve done all these hopelessly remedial exercises, giggling while I did them because they are SO SIMPLE and yet SO HARD. And now I walk down the street and unconsciously pull my headlights up with my mighty, mighty abs, and I extend through the thigh to engage the big ol’ butt muscles, and I draw my ribs down and in and hold my neck long and my head proud… and nothing hurts. I can walk, and it feels pretty good.
And I think my impact tremors are getting just a bit less powerful, too. Hah!