Whether we are playing sports with friends or family or trying crazy stunts at the local BBQ, my mission is to make sure that my students are prepared for when things may go wrong.
I tell my students that I’m preparing them for disaster. I’m trying to hammer home the point that staying in shape is vital.
I can’t prevent accidents from happening but my goal is to make sure that you are in such good shape when they happen, that the impact on your life is minor, instead of major.
For this reason, we focus on keeping our core strong.
How many times have your lifted something beyond your abilities, because you did not want to wait until someone may be able to assist you? Or when was the last time, you played tennis or badminton? A simple game can take a toll on our core when we have not trained it for many years. All is fine and dandy until someone slips a disc in the lower back!
In class we focus on our balance, by lifting one leg while we are performing certain exercises.
When was the last time you tried to stand still on one leg while closing an eye or both eyes. A year or two before my Mom died, she lost her vision in one eye. Suddenly life became very difficult. We never know when we may need to have an operation on our eye and having good balance ahead of this, will certainly help to prevent falls.
I am always telling my students that we need to be able to lift ourselves off of the ground.
Push-ups are so important. My Aunt died alone at the bottom of her basement stairs. She may have died suddenly from the fall or she may have suffered for days simply because she could not lift herself up. This event in our family history really affected me. The area at the bottom of her stairs was quite confining if I remember correctly ( I was very young), so I call Tricep Push-ups, “Auntie Alice’s” exercise. Try this: lie on your stomach with your hands right beside your chest, keep your elbows close by your side, and lift your chest and belly off of the ground, coming onto your knees. Being able to do this is beneficial and being able to do it more than once is good, as it often takes us several attempts to get up after a fall.
We should be able to fight off an attacker.
When I was young, the minister of my parents, and his wife, died tragically after they were brutally attacked in their home. I will spare you the terrible details but this couple were elderly and my parents felt very vulnerable after this event. While I do not encourage violence, I have my students practice punching and kicking in our aerobics routines. Practice makes perfect and if you are used to doing something, your body will respond instinctively when needed. One of my students said she used to punch and kick her husband in her sleep. I guess she was practicing!
I love hearing the ‘near disaster’ stories of my students. So many of them have told me how they almost slipped but caught themselves and avoided a terrible fall. Last year one student, at the age of 75, had to use the fire escape to get out of her building. She was so proud to tell me that she was able to climb down! I get countless reports of doctor’s being amazed at the leg strength of my students. We do lots of squats and lunges to keep our legs in great shape.
Exercise has helped many of my students come off of medications for high blood pressure and diabetes.
These stories are the reason I get out of bed and head to work everyday.
This photo is of my oldest son, taken many years ago. He has absolutely no fear and is always doing crazy stunts, that none of us would ever consider trying, until someone dares us at the next party!
Don’t worry! You are prepared!