Maintaining Mobility Or… How to Put your Undies on Without Sitting Down
We talk a lot about maintaining mobility as we age.
Perhaps this makes you think about 80-year-olds power-lifting and 90-year-olds doing yoga.
That’s amazing, and if that’s your goal, our Physiotherapists are right behind you.
But... today we want to talk about some more mundane fitness goals, like being able to put your undies on without sitting down!
It’s one of those things that we take for granted when we’re young, like scratching between our shoulder blades or picking something up off the floor without thought or effort, but it can be a challenge if we let age and stiffness creep up on us.
It might not be the most inspiring fitness goal and you certainly can’t post pictures of yourself doing it on social media with the hashtag fitspiration.
But the mobility you gain from it will help with lots of other everyday tasks.
What is Involved in the “Undies Workout”?
When you think about it, the movement sequence is quite complex. You stand on one foot while your hands stretch the undies out in front of you. So, you can’t hold onto anything for balance. Then you lift one leg up, the knee heading towards the chest, requiring strength from the hip flexors and flexibility of the back. All this, before pointing, flexing, and generally manoeuvring the foot through the leg hole. Then you repeat the whole thing on the other foot. It’s not at all difficult – until it is.
How do I do the “Undies Workout”?
OK – we admit that’s a very silly name, but… Below are a few exercises and stretches that will keep you strong and flexible enough (with the necessary balance skills) to put your undies on without having to sit down.
Stand on one leg for a minute.
Repeat on the other leg.
If that’s too easy, close your eyes for the duration.
Now stand on one leg with your eyes closed but challenge yourself by moving your other leg around – specifically flexing and pointing the foot.
Stand on one foot.
Lift your knee to your chest and hug it to yourself. Hold for a moment.
Repeat twenty times on each leg.
Get down on all fours.
Lift your spine up from the naval. (like a cat arching its back.)
Collapse the naval down toward the ground. (Like a cat.)
Wag Your Tail
We can’t let cats have all the fun, so we’ll even it out by pretending to be a dog.
Still on all fours
Lift your feet up and cross your ankles (as you might in an introductory “on the knees” push-up.)
Move your feet from side to side as if you’re wagging your “tail.”
Before you even get out of bed in the morning (and any time you feel like it throughout the day) do a bit of ballet - point and flex a few times. Throw in a few ankle rotations from time to time for good measure.
Practice these movements individually and over time you’ll find at least one part of getting dressed in the morning a little easier.
If you’d like to learn more, you can always give us a call on 9982-6555.
Our physios are here to help with this and any other mobility challenges you face.