What’s the difference between the way old and young people move? The answer is variety. Children crawl over the couch, under the table. They look between their legs, using their bodies for sheer enjoyment. They wiggle; they squirm. Old people move in the same way, every day. They rarely do anything new with their bodies; they are set in their ways.
Don’t be discouraged if you are feeling more old than young. You can regain youthful movement by adding variety.
Another difference is that children stop a movement when it becomes uncomfortable. When playing tag, jumping rope, or sitting still isn’t fun anymore, they stop. Unlike adults, a child won’t naturally force herself beyond her limits. It would seem silly to a child to stay on the treadmill for a full hour if her body had enough at 47 minutes. That’s another lesson, pay attention to what’s enough—and stop.
Undulation is an exercise that will help you add variety to your movement and listen to your body. It’s fun and easy and improves the health of your muscles and joints. Try this:
1. Sit in a chair evenly on your sit bones.
2. Move your upper body; sway to the left and the right.
3. Sway for one minute, and notice which parts of your spine move easily and which are stiff.
4. Stop, breathe, and start again. Initiate a new movement from one of the inflexible places, perhaps from your neck, hips, or between your shoulder blades.
5. As you continue, cast your attention inward to the many different places in your spine. Keep your movements soft and easy.
6. Stop about every minute and begin again from a new place. The quality and quantity of movement will vary depending on what part of your body leads.
However you do this exercise, it is correct. The only exception is if you feel pain.
And here’s a variation that will add even more variety.
§ As you sway from side to side, notice the shape of your spine as it curves.
§ First imagine a C-curve with your head and hip on the same side moving toward each other.
§ Move so that the bow or apex of the curve travels up and down your spine. As you do this, the C-curve will temporarily change shape to an S-curve.
§ Let the curve morph from a C-curve to an S-curve and back again over and over.
Even though undulation is simple, it’s super effective at lubricating the joints of your spine so you’ll feel better and create even more movement in your body. You can read more about undulation and get additional exercises in a book I wrote called Relieve Stiffness and Feel Young Again with Undulation. Learn more at http://www.atlasbooks.com/marktplc/01913.htm. And, you can view five, short undulation videos at www.undulationexercise.com/viewundulationspage.htm.
Just remember to move on to something new when your body is tired of the exercise. Stay active with variety to regain the mobility of your youth.