Somewhere around five decades ago, I had good overall mobility. I remember being able to tie my shoelaces with no stiffness or needing to be in weird positions. I would simply bend over with straight legs and tie my boots
Fast forward to now, and it’s a different story due to my lack of overall mobility.
I sit on the floor, the left leg awkwardly bent under myself with the right leg bent in front of me. I reach for my right foot and have to pull it in closer so I can put the foot into the boot. With some awkward maneuvering and a few grunts I manage to tie my shoe. I shift my weight and repeat the process on the other side. I’m almost finished when I get a cramp in my abdominal wall, just under the rib cage. It’s irritating and makes me wonder when I will be able to go out for my hike. It never used to be this difficult to perform this simple, everyday function.
I occasionally think this is a new issue, but I’ve actually been going through this ritual for at least the last 10 years – I just never paid attention. While I continued to get stronger, leaner, and better conditioned through my late 40s, my mobility definitely declined. It likely started back in elementary school with so much constant non-movement – sitting on the hour long school bus ride, sitting for hours in class, sitting for the bus ride home, collapsing into a chair to study for hours, eating at the table then falling into bed.
Things got worse when I started working, especially working in a 911 center for 20 years plus all the other sedentary office jobs I’ve had. While I worked out very intensely, the few hours of intense movement vs the many hours spent immobile each week didn’t play out well. We all know sitting is the new smoking and I’m a prime example. Performing a mundane, routine task like lacing up shoes is now difficult. It’s not impossible (yet), it’s just difficult enough that I’m finally noticing.
People end up in nursing homes often because they can’t perform the daily tasks of life without help. Simple tasks like getting in and out of bed, getting up and down off the commode, picking things up off the floor, or being able to get up off the floor if they fall. I see my Mother struggling with all the above now, and she lost the basic mobility to be able to care for her own feet a long time ago (she has been purchasing pedicures every two weeks for many years) – not good for Mom and a giant warning sign for me.
I’ve slowed my decline into becoming a breathing stone and have even regained a little mobility in my lower back by attending the BASE Yoga classes three times a week. I’ve been rolling on lacrosse balls and foam rollers for several years and, while they do work in the short term, the effects didn’t last long and it wasn’t enough to stop my deteriorating state. Combining the rolling with BASE yoga has helped me the most, as the BASE sequences help restore and keep things in alignment so whatever scar tissue I worked over with the rolling can stay loose longer.
If you haven’t tried BASE yoga yet, give it a shot for several months. It works for a beaten up warhorse like myself; it will work of you too. If you want to keep playing sports, live with less pain and yes, be able to lace up your own boots as you get older, you need to give this yoga class a try.