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My neighbor told me the other day that she couldn’t run anymore because her hip hurts because she is getting old.  Her statement sparked a question: why is it that we seem to lose skill as we get older?  I mean, as babies we are terrible at doing pretty much everything and then somehow, we ggetot better.  Wouldn’t you think that we would just continue to get better as we age instead of slowly losing the ability to do all sorts of things we love, like running?  The answer most people offer is simply, “wear and tear,” using ourselves up over time.  From this perspective, your ability to run is like a piece of furniture, after so many years of use, it is going to break.  This is not only depressing… its down-right wrong!  

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Click here to see someone prove folks can do amazing things well into their 80s and 90s:

So, why do some people get better with age and some people lose ability and how can YOU be one of the people who continues being able to dance the tango at 80 and run when you are 90?

The truth is you are going to stop running (dancing, climbing stairs, playing with your children or grandchildren) if it hurts, and maybe you should.  Pain is a reliable indication that something is wrong.  But you are not a couch ready for the trash, rather you are a beloved (now grown-up) child in need of nurturing.  It isn’t necessarily the running that is the problem, generally it is the how you are runing.  To turn this around you don’t need new running techniques you need new learning techniques.  Spend some time exploring, with curiosity, the fundamental building blocks of human movement: bending from side to side, folding and extending, and twisting and breathing…  It is hard to change your habits of doing something, while you are performing.  So take some time out of your day and dedicate it to exploring (like a child) what it is like to fold and bend and arch and reach and push and slide and, well anything you can think of... without any particular goal in mind.  This is the sort of thing that I do with my clients.  We create a safe place to play with the components of movement so that when we go back to doing the things we love we have more information about the details...

Developing a habit of playful exploration around your movement options supplies your nervous system with a sensory-rich, detailed and highly accurate image of yourself including both the “how” and the “what” of your movement.  This multi-layered approach to understanding your movement allows you to make spontaneous choices appropriate in each moment, keeping you safer, healthier and boosts your longevity.

Here are some ideas for supporting yourself as you grow a sustaining habit of curiosity:

Be gentle with yourself…
      …it is really hard to learn new skills when being scrutinized by a harsh critic!

Go slowly...
      …it is hard to read the warning signs if you are roaring down the highway!

Do just the beginning…
      …your nervous system has the whole thing figured out by the time you start moving so if it isn’t smooth and easy to start with it is not going to get any easier! 

It is about the process not the goal…
      …overly focusing on the end point and you are likely to miss vital clues along the way (plus maybe where you think you are going isn’t where you really want to go and you want to reserve the option to change your mind)

Be persistent but not insistent...
      …take breaks, let your mind wander and then come back to it… remember you are doing this so that you can run when you are 90, you’ve got the rest of your life to figure it out, there is no rush!

 
 
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There are so many experts out there telling us how to succeed, voices forming our opinions day by day about ourselves and others.  There are trainers and teachers and friends and parents, all telling us how to behave, what "good posture" is, what foods to eat to lose weight... there are so many voices it is sometimes impossible to hear the most important one -- yours!

A good friend from college has been working hard at being the best fitness expert and trainer that she can be and has become something of a star!  She has her pictures in national magazines and does show on television... Years of training as a dancer and then even more years working with all different types of people on how to get and stay fit.  If there is an expert she is undeniably one... And still it isn't for everyone.  Some people like running, others swimming, some people hike and others kick ass with my friend in NY.  Just like there is no one, right way to get and stay fit, there is no one right way to do ANY movement... There is only one expert in how you should move and that is you! But remember it takes years of dedicated practice to become an expert and it is never to late to start (or start again).

Some ideas for becoming an expert in yourself:
  • Get curious about how you do things, not so much about what you do...
  • Cultivate the feeling of ease and grace, even if it only a tiny feeling to start...
  • Spend some time imagining how you might act and then reality check it agains an actual attempt...

 

    Author

    Tim Wilson has years of movement training and specializes in working with athletes and anyone who suffers from chronic pain from mild to severe

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    January 2015