Has Tracy Risen?
Christ is risen, he is risen, indeed! Hallelujah!
Among other things, this means that Lent is now over for 2023. Six+ weeks ago I came up with a plan to gradually change my habits with the goal of getting a step or two closer to being a healthier being. I think that was accomplished if we’re allowing for the celebration of baby steps. Considering where I started, a sedentary blob of COVID inertia, any improvement is a reason to rejoice!
One of my big objectives, as the earlier sedentary comment probably reveals, was simply to move more. Our bodies are meant to move. Period. Use it or lose it isn’t just a catchy rhyme. I read once about a study that was done on college swimmers. These athletes were in excellent physical shape with strong, toned muscles. The experiment was simply to measure their muscle mass and then do so again after they’d gone 4 days without working out. Keep in mind that they weren’t lying around in bed for the entirety of those 4 days; they were living normal lives, just lives devoid of their usual aquatic workouts. The result? An astonishing loss of muscle mass. I was stunned. Of course, the cynic in me thought, “Well, if your baseline is much more modest and not on the level of almost-Olympic athletes, then maybe just living a normal life with normal physical activity wouldn’t result in the same kind of drastic change.” (It’s also the excuse I’ve used for years about not participating in strenuous workouts—I didn’t want to set my body up for the inevitable “failure” once I’d grown too old to sustain that level of activity! 😉)
Excuses aside, here’s what I observed over the last few weeks.
The first day I stretched, lying on my back with my legs up in the air, gently being pulled toward my head, my hamstrings were very tight, and the minimal tugging was painful. But it honestly didn’t take very many days, not even a week, before I could fairly easily reach my big toes and use them as the contact point for applying the mild pressure. And a week later I was then able to easily grasp the arches of my feet to continue stretching the hamstrings by decreasing the angle between my toes and shins. I’m no Olympic gymnast but I’m definitely more flexible. Hallelujah!
While I didn’t achieve an easy and guaranteed 10,000 steps every day by Easter, I’m certainly walking more, even if it’s my Fitbit’s 250 steps an hour reminder and I do feel better as a result. I’m not sure why that truth somewhat annoys me, why I don’t want the fitness experts to be right about the importance of moving. It’s a practice I even advocate in my storytelling classes, giving personal testimonies to how much easier it is to learn and then recall stories if they’ve been learned while moving around rather than sitting on your butt or lying on a couch. So what’s my problem?
One of Newton’s laws of physics states that a body in motion tends to stay in motion and a body at rest tends to stay at rest. My body largely stayed at rest for the almost-3 years of COVID. Maybe it’s too much to ask that after only 6 weeks, 1/26 of the span of our COVID lives, that my body and its habits would be transformed. All I can do is keep at it and maybe at some point I’ll be able to more fully declare “Tracy has risen, she has risen, indeed! Hallelujah!”