Do you remember the slogan, “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up”?
It was from a commercial advertising an alert system you could wear, or have in your home, that would alert a response team (marketed to the elderly) to come to your aid in case of a slip or fall.
I think of this slogan ALL the time, only in reverse.
By this I mean that I think of it when I work someone, or a group of people, who have little capacity to come down to the ground from standing and then back up again to stand with ease and grace.
Try it for yourself right now —> start in standing, come to the floor, lay completely flat on your back and then come back up to standing…
For the sake of simplicity, don’t worry about the path you take to get there as there are countless directions you could go. For some of you might have no problem doing this, and maybe you do this all day long if your work or lifestyle requires it. But for those who found it to be a chore and incredibly challenging, I’ll encourage you to keep reading as having difficulty doing this can be, and has been shown to be, a risk factor for early mortality! (1)
Can you run 10 miles no problem, but would die if you had to touch tour toes to save your life?
Most recently, this exact observation was staring me right in the face with a group of runners I was working with.
The biggest thing I could observe in them was how stiff an unable these very fit people were when it came to coming down to the ground with ease and grace. (now, of course there were a few exceptions!).
It is hard to imagine this odd dichotomy of fitness and health.
Having the physical capacity to pump out 10 km on the pavement no problem, but then demonstrate very little ease or capacity to bend, rotate and maneuver your body such that it can come down to the floor without a massive thump, groan and grunt, and then get back up again…leaves me in awe…and should be a sign that something has to change in the body.
But it’s not our fault.
Unless you are a breakdancer, plumber, or do some kind of job that requires that you get down on the floor, crawl around and then get back up again, over and over, this skill is lost.
Things tighten up. Rigidity sets in. Aging ensues.
When coming down to the floor and getting back up is a challenge – consider this a sign that you are indeed, aging.
Take for instance this scenario –> If you were in the wild, this kind of rigid and laboured movement would make you easy prey. You wouldn’t live very long.
Yet, in our modern world, we rarely have to worry about cheetah chasing us and having to climb up and over brush and trees to survive.
This is the trouble in our modern world – we get lazy with our potential for prowess and diversified physicality, and more often than not, we only know a good solid physical fitness regime to be sweating it out a few times of week and focusing on the metrics of fitness (reps, set, miles…”how hard we pushed”…etc.).
So what is a human being living in a city to do?
Well, there is nothing wrong with running and getting strong in the gym…but I would love to suggest exploring how you can start to trust your ability to bend, twist and rotate yourself to get to the floor and back up again.