Thursday, June 5, 2014

So There is Always Hope

This comes from an article about overcoming problems you thought you were stuck with in Good Housekeeping magazine:

Klutziness

Some women knock over their water glasses or bump into doors so often, they assume clumsiness is part of their makeup. Wrong. One reason may be that muscles are weak, says Mary Ann Wilmarth, D.P.T., chief of physical therapy at Harvard University Health Services. "Even if you work out regularly, you could be shortchanging certain areas," she says. Having a weak rotator cuff in your shoulder, for example, can cause you to rely on your smaller hand muscles when reaching for dishes in the cupboard, which leads you to drop them. Poorly toned hip muscles could make you trip when navigating curbs. A physical therapist can show you the best strength-training exercises and work with you on ways to move more fluidly. You might also want to learn to focus your mind (one effective way: incorporating the practice of mindfulness into your regimen). Robin Dilley, a psychologist in Phoenix, loved to hike, but was always falling over her feet until she realized how often she was thinking about something else. Once she began focusing on the trail, the problem disappeared.
Ha! I can blame it on my rotator cuff.  That must be it.

Actually, I am trying to improve my body awareness by taking a series of Feldenkrais lessons.  The sessions involve stretching out on a blanket on the floor and then being guided through a series of movements.  Sometimes they seem incredibly easy.   The instructor has a somnolent voice and a German accent that lulls you.   Sometimes, though, you become aware of part of your body you forgot you even had or ways of moving that part that you didn't think was possible.  The sessions end with a walk around the room in which you feel lubricated and somehow graceful.

Have I stopped knocking over my water glass?  Not exactly, but I am not done yet.  Now, I have reason to hope that a lifetime of clumsiness can be reversed. We'll give that pesky rotator cuff a bit more time to strengthen.

13 comments:

  1. I am chuckling.
    I know I am getting more clumsy because my hands are getting so arthritic that I can't hold on as well, and the rest of me is under attack too. But I do manage to stay on my feet quite well. I hang on!

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  2. I haven't fallen in over two years. I started an exercise therapy called Egoscue. My balance is much, much better. We have to keep on keeping on!

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  3. My husband kept tripping over his own feet and found that he had stenosis of the spine. His nerves were being pinched (no pain) that created a barely perceptible numbness that meant the message was not getting to his feet in time to keep from tripping. Major surgery but 15 years later he is fine.

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  4. Rotator cuff damage is horrible but I know physical therapy can really help that. Now I have terrible leg pain. I am going to trip and fall flat on my face one day soon. My right leg gives out and often I forget and still lead with my right. So far no explanations from medical professionals are forthcoming except "old age" or lack of exercise. Who can exercise with pain in the leg? I also drop 75% of everything I pick up. Weight loss would be a major cure but instead of losing weight, I tend to gain instead. Viscous circles.

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  5. David is a klutz and now I know why. Thanks for the info, Olga.

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  6. Well, you lost me with "stretching out on a blanket on the floor and then being guided through a series of movements!" I'd still be on the floor!! I do have an excuse for any clumsiness, though -- and it ain't a rotator cuff!!

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  7. Years ago I read an article about an body awareness program. It was sort of like going to a masseuse, but instead of getting a massage, this person would work with you...moving limbs and creating sensations to teach your mind how to work your body with more mindfulness. It sounded like a fascinating idea. With bad balance, bad knees, and a bad back, I am like a bull in china shop.

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  8. As a child my mother told me a worse than a bull in china shop and I have managed to live up to that! It does sound interesting but I can't imagine anything would help me learn to walk through an empty room without tripping. Let me know it helps!

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  9. When I visited Mary in AZ, I took some classes from her yoga instructor who incorporates Feldenkrais. I liked the simplicity of the movements and felt they were a powerful means to align the body. However, I'm still clumsy if I'm not alert!

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  10. Sounds like an interesting class, a little like yoga but perhaps a little easier. So far, I haven't been having issues with holding onto things but I almost put the coffee pot (with coffee in it) in the cupboard today. Caught myself though...so I guess it's not Alzheimers, thank goodness!

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  11. Feldenkrais! I've never heard of it. Keep us posted. I'm very curious.

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  12. This is so interesting. Klutz is my middle name. I walk into the corners of walls. I trip over nothing. Not a good thing. I wish we had something like your Feldenkrais here.

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  13. Good for you to try something new. My back is still sore from the bumpy ride on the golf course. It was a good fundraiser, I was taking photos for them, but a bumpy course!

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