Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sit and Reach Reject

When I was in elementary school, once a year we were required to perform some Seinfeld-esque "feats of strength" in order to acquire a Presidential fitness medal/honor of some sort. The details are a bit hazy because I never actually passed all of the requirements in a satisfactory manner. This should not come as a shock to those of you who have been with me from the start. You may recall that physical fitness has never been a priority for me (please reference vice 1 if you don't believe me). But I'm improving on that front. I would like to remind everyone that since accepting the first challenge to work out, I have accomplished that goal each week. Change is possible.

So to the best of my recollection these so-called "feats of strength" included: running 1 mile (still something I don't enjoy doing), performing pull-ups (something I haven't been able to do since the 6th grade when I maxed out at 4), and participating in the dreaded sit and reach. This is where you sit with your legs stretched out before you, your feet flat against a platform that forms the base of a table-like structure with a ruler on top of it. The idea is you reach with your arms as far forward onto the plateau as you can (like you're going to touch your toes--or beyond) and the ruler is used to measure how far you can essentially sit and reach. Such a clever name for such a heinous practice. I'm sure you can guess from the title of this post that I was never a sit and reach star. In my later years I've learned that my less than stellar performance indicates that I'm not very flexible and more specifically that I have tight hamstrings. Whatever. It's never really bothered me.

But, in the interest of improving myself, and seeing as how I'm not getting any younger, I've decided that I should incorporate some stretching and toning into my successful workout regimen. In an effort to overcome vice no. 6: living with a body that is inflexible (like the will of a tantrum-throwing toddler), I'll be following this book (The Core Program by Peggy Brill), one that has been recommended by a physical therapist friend of mine, and one that I've used sporadically in the past. The program is designed by a physical therapist to strengthen and stretch the muscles necessary for proper alignment and posture. Both my mom (70) and my older sister (45) have had great success with it as well. Since it claims to only take 15 minutes a day, I figure I can manage that. But since I like to aim low so that I'll be pleasantly surprised with my successes, rather than disappointed with my failures, I'll strive for 4 Core stretching/strengthening sessions per week for now.

Now for one last de-cluttering duties report: I did it. Little by little my house is becoming more organized as I throw out unwanted/unnecessary items. Following the compact this last month has been most helpful and although I'm moving on to a new vice, I'm not moving on from the compact. I will continue to follow it and post about it as the opportunities arise (read when I have witty or insightful experiences to relay to the masses).


amydear said...

You will probably not be excited to hear that they have a Presidential Physical Fitness test for adults too. I happened upon it one day. I think I can do all but the required amount of push-ups. I was a stellar sit-and-reacher in elementary school. Perhaps when Obama's in office you'll consider giving it a try? : )

Baba/Ann said...

Congratulations on getting back to the Core Program. You did such a great job of selling it to me, that I'm still doing it after over 2 years. It really does take only 15 minutes! Thanks for introducing me to a program I can actually enjoy and feel the benefits almost immediately.

Angie said...

Good luck with that! You know, even when I was dancing and super flexible I still wasn't able to sit in that position and hold it very long. For some reason reaching down and stretching both hamstrings at the same time just wasn't meant for me. Good luck though. Let me know how it goes.

Mary Poppins said...

amydear--genius. once obama's in office i may indeed need to set a goal to be able to pass the presidential physical fitness challenge. would i still get a certificate with his signature on it? that would be incentive enough for me.

baba/ann--i'm so excited for you that you're still doing it. i'm back in.

angie--i'm guessing your problem is that your legs are too long. you models!