How to stay mobile at 60
What I do to stay mobile at my newly acquired age of 60 is pretty straight forward, but requires committed daily consistency. I have a minimum ‘non-negotiables’ I do 6 days a week. That 7th day when I let my inner sloth take over and I don’t, often reminds me what will happen if I don’t keep it up and I can’t wait to do it the next day and get back to my daily routine. Currently I am on a break from my teaching schedule but am creating and updating APT for 2021, using a massive amount of learning and new innovative ways, founded in a really interesting, extraordinary 2020.
Of course I will reflect a little on 2020, we all need to, if not just to remind ourselves we survived and in some cases surprisingly we thrived during a global pandemic. My year was bitter sweet, for APT pivoted fast in March and the APT Community came through brilliantly & stuck together, but personally a huge relationship chapter of my life finished. What I can reflect on is how the combination of the two undid me and kept me sane and afloat at the same time, each taking turns throughout the long Melbourne lockdowns to pull my focus and affect my health & mind/body/spirit wholeness. The second Melbourne lockdown of 120 days was one of the longest and hardest in the world. The upside for APT is we had established ourselves online and 90% of my community had been in a routine since March, and so on we went, bolstering eachother and benefitting from the magic of moving, improving and breathing with intention and focus.
There is a secret part of my private hell in lockdown, I want to share with you, because I hardly talked or truely let it air, but if it resonates with just one person, it was worth writing this. It was so terrifying at the time, I kept thinking I would wake up from the bad dream at any moment. Soon after the second lock-down one of my knees started to cause pain - especially when going up and down stairs (my home has 2 flights, my bedroom at the top) it felt unbelievably inflamed, tight and stiff and the range of motion had to be extremely slowly warmed into at the start of my teaching day. I kept thinking it would magically disappear as weirdly as it had come, but even stranger the left knee started to improve and then the same thing happened in the right knee. I could barely get up the stairs to go to bed at the end of my working day teaching private clients and group sessions live online, often rising at 5am. Simultaneously with this occurring, my relationship had been struggling for some time and I was feeling very vulnerable and stressed about it, in August we started weekly councilling. I also undertook the David Grey Lower Body Basics Course and continued developing my own programs and methods, particularly my own ‘Mobility Matters’ method that was growing with a very curious and active minded bunch who had jumped onboard, some as far away as Brisbane.
The upshot of this reflection is that the combo of all I have mentioned and ‘listening’ to my body, the excruciating pain in my knees and reduced range of motion was gradually healed. One must never underestimate how an emotional stress overload effects us in our physical being, this was a stark reminder, one will often affect the optimal function of the other, they are never mutually exclusive. I am not talking miracle cure here, I am talking a holistic chosen regular mix of methods and mindset, committed to, driven by desperation and determination to be OK again. After all, my chosen work, passion and livelihood relies on my own mobility and being able to lead by example and teach others to explore, learn and choose their options to lead a long healthy independent mobile life. It’s also my greatest joy to feel free, independent and connected in mind and body and move and flow with music (yep that dancer spirit always lives within)
Each week, the APT term has a different focus, often highlighting a simple awareness we have neglected, forgotten or need a new perspective on, but make a surprising and welcome difference. Keeping it simple is one of the great keys to clarity and progress. Eg. Breathing - we all do it but often it’s totally neglected, we are unaware and not allowing the body, organs, mind and spirit to function at its optimal best. By shining a light on something different each week, it prompts discussion, refreshed focus and opportunity for personal growth. It’s not just about always telling yourself to think positive, it’s about enabling it in every fibre of your being through what you do, feel, think, learn and HOW you move.
Like anything that looks easy and straight forward from the outside & on social media, dig deeper and there will be a story of ups and downs and how the key factors to overcoming crisis or challenges was resilience, grit and consistent effort and determination for a reason well identified by the individual.
So there you have some of mine. That being said, I still maintain there is a minimum level of consistent regular mindful movement that will, once you have it, maintain your youthful level of mobility, strength and flexibility. I am sharing with you a 20 minute video of mine, the time of day more erratically done during this less routine time, but none the less a daily essential practise (see below). I rarely ‘feel like doing it’ but am ALWAYS glad I did and within a few breathes start to enjoy the present moment, the opportunity to feel my mind, body and spirit starting to gently connect from the inside to the outside. I always feel calmer, more focussed and back to a 35 year old sense of mobility and agility!
My latest little quirky thing my body is offering me, in amongst the arthritic feet, bad ankle, right shoulder bursitis etc is a burning sensation in my heels when I start, this is totally gone and alleviated by the time I finish. Not magic, just moving the body in all directions, releasing & lengthening myofacial lines, moving locked tissue and tuning into the nourishment my body and spirit need through breathe and music. Being FULLY present.
Please don’t make an unrealistic new year resolution, the majority will fail through wanting fast results that are not sustainable long term in our lives. Firstly find your WHY, then start super small . . . it might be standing and stacking (this is in my Mobility Matters program) and breathing slowly, for 4 counts inhale through the nose and 4 counts exhale through the mouth, ten times, to start your day. Building up to moving the joints from the feet up and understanding what you need to enable, gain and maintain YOUR mobility and mind body spirit synergy each day.
So many people tell me, oh I do my 10,000 steps, thats great! However, a reminder this is ONE movement only & if you are doing it with no sense of centre or awareness of postural stacking and joint movement and your body has adjusted into a movement pattern that has been created by your life history (injuries, lack of function and movement) you are repeating that exact same pattern every single time. We need 3 dimensional movement and most of the joints in our body are designed to do this, no point in trying to get one specific muscle to do a job it simply cannot, unless the joints are aligned and able to function together. You can have an incredible knowledge of muscle names and groups etc, but if you cannot access and FEEL a joint movement in a healthy way, the muscles will never respond optimally in the way they were designed to. #jointactmusclesreact
I invite you to take a look or even join me to do my minimum non-negotiable daily 20 mins here
Becoming mobile and knowing how to maintain it, then gives you safer and greater opportunity to become fitter. If it feels good to move, you are much more likely to want to be more active, convert your attitude from punishing your body and a duty to exercise to freedom & joy of moving because you CAN!
Curious to learn more?
Want to create & maintain your own daily mobility non-negotiables? It's never too late.
Here are 2 opportunities where you can - one live online and one face to face in my local community dream location.
Wed 6.15pm from 20 Jan 2021 - 4 week course - 1 hour weekly
Face to face at Studio One, Richmond Community Learning Centre, 15 Barnett Way, Richmond. Barefoot on a mat, explore, learn, create and balance your mind body & spirit in this holistic healthy self accepting practise. Perfect way to ease into 2021 gaining self awareness, understanding, mobility and strength. More info
Wed 11.15am from 10 Feb 2021 - 4 session course - 1 hour fortnightly live online.
Suitable for over 45, no kneeling or floor work, standing & with a chair seated or for stability. More info here
My 20 min mobility daily practise https://youtu.be/R4s6mdIHqpw
" For me bodyART has become a valued and necessary part of my personal well being. Feeling the fluidity and mobility in my movements has enabled me to view the ageing process in my body with confidence and optimism that I will be able to continue doing whatever I wish to do without constraints. Its fun, it's always changing which keeps it interesting. bodyART - Whats not to love! " Jacqui W Dec 2020
" I am so blessed to have Andrea in my life. She helps and encourages me to be my best self. As an older lady, I need to keep fit and flexible so I can keep living the life I want, and Andrea's skill and knowledge in this area has been life changing. Mobility Matters is a lovely gentle way to understand why and how to put into practice the small but vital movements we need in our day, every day. I love it and think everyone should do it."
Leigh Dec 2020
More APT 2020 Client feedback and experiences here