Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Underachiever's Guide To Working Out: Stretch and Balance

On the other hand, I like writing my blog. I'm not writing this for myself like I'm my boss, I'm writing this for myself like it's a present & that makes me feel good. When you're pressed for time, it's terrible to give up the thing that makes you feel good!

So anyway, a few weeks ago somebody in the rollerderbycoaches yahoo group pointed to this article in the New York Times How To Fix Bad Ankles. Read the article for the science; it's already almost eleven, and I don't know where the morning's gone & I figure this blog is not so much about providing reportage, but for me to actually try stuff & tell you how it goes for me, just for laughs.

So here's me brushing my teeth, balancing on one foot—

I should say that I am nothing if not thorough about brushing my teeth. The first time pit crew saw me sitting on the edge of the tub, brushing, he patted my head and said, "Aw, you're all tuckered out! No wonder you have to sit down!" Seriously, I had to stop using those electronic toothbrushes that beep to tell you to move to the next quadrant of your mouth. I couldn't keep up. Later I learned that the beeps are actually to signal people to stay for at least thirty seconds in each quadrant. Like most people rush through brushing their teeth in under two minutes! This is also why the question of whether you leave the water running when you brush your teeth never made sense to me. Of course you turn it off, it's like twenty minutes...

So maybe this will actually help me not brush all the enamel off my teeth, because life expectancies are getting longer all the time & it would be better not to wear my teeth down to nubs. And also I will have excellent balance, and less likely to fall and break my hip when I'm a hundred and twenty.

Okay, for real now:

Start with some quad stretches:

  • Toothbrush in your right hand, clasp your left ankle behind you with your left hand. Tuck in your hips and point your knee straight down. Pick a sextant of your mouth, say, upper right. Brush outside ten counts, underside ten counts, inside ten counts.
  • Release your leg, move to upper front. Brush outside ten counts, inside ten counts.
  • Toothbrush in left hand —this is super hard for me— clasp your right ankle behind you with your right hand, tuck and point as above. Move to upper left, outside ten counts, underside ten counts, inside ten counts.

I know, right? I'm totally bonkers.

Now some balances, you can keep your toothbrush in your dominant hand for all these. It's probably good brainwork to switch, I feel bad if I think my teeth aren't getting good and brushed:

  • Standing on your left foot, brushing lower left: outside ten counts, topside ten counts, inside ten counts.
  • Standing on both feet, brushing lower front: outside ten counts, inside ten counts.
  • Standing on your right foot, brushing lower right: outside ten counts, topside ten counts, inside ten counts.

Like it says in the article, make it more challenging if it's too easy. It's funny to do with your hair in a towel on your head. I can balance on my left with my eyes closed, but not on my right yet. Yet!

ETA: I was visualizing this in my head, and actually I brush each section of a sextant a third at a time for a count of ten; so that's ninety seconds for the sides and sixty seconds for the fronts. What. I only had to think of it because I wanted to know how long to balance on each foot!