Would you be able to reach a cracker under the settee? Just how flexible are you?
28th March 2011
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Guest Blog by: Theresa Wright, Health Therapist

In 1988 Alan Bennett (renowned English playwrite) wrote a series of monologues entitled “Talking Heads”.  One of these monologues was entitled “A Cream Cracker Under the Settee”.  The theme was about an elderly lady who falls and is unable to get up from the floor.  All she can see is a cracker under the settee, which she is unable to reach.

Would you be able to reach a cracker under the settee?  How do you feel about getting down on the floor? 

Our relationship with the floor has an interesting history.  When we are very young we spend a lot of time on it.  Quite often our nappies are changed there, we learn to crawl on the floor and our first play is with items on the floor.  Young children play on the grass or in the sandpit.  Everybody sits cross legged on the floor in primary school.  But slowly we rise above the floor.  Our schooling becomes adjusted to sitting on chairs and benches.  My everlasting vision of my sons as teenagers is sprawled on the sofa.  However youngsters will still sit on the grass or on the beach on towels. Move this picture on a few years and Mom and Dad will be on sun loungers, the children on the sand and Gran and Grandpa?  Where will they be sitting?  In my picture they will be sitting in upright chairs.

Flexibility is such a vital component of fitness, but is often ignored.  Even those who work out regularly often skimp on the stretches.  Perhaps a few minutes at the end of a session, or a half hearted stretch before a run or cycle ride and that’s it!

The older we get the less we seem to be able to be happy to get down on the floor.  What does that tell us?  The answer is a lack of flexibility.  The main reasons that this is happening are firstly “use it or lose it” and secondly as we get older our muscles do not regenerate as quickly as they used to and thirdly, our muscles atrophy.  The trick is to keep up the good work!  Work at flexibility and a continuation of muscle regeneration and the dividends will be many fold.  Ways of maintaining flexibility include yoga, Pilates, aqua-aerobics and exercise classes that include stretching.

Retaining flexibility will ensure that we can continue to have a good relationship with the floor and not be frightened of falling.

Theresa Wright
Health Therapist
Follow me on Twitter @tw_training.
TEL: 0118 9710255


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