“Do you really think, after all these years of engrained habits, that it’s possible to change? Aren’t I too old?”
This is what my 83-year old client, a lovely woman I’ve had the pleasure of working with for 10 years (yes TEN!), said to me the other day while we were working together.
We were talking about her posture, strength and coordination, how it has drastically improved over the last 10 years, and where we can take it from here. We were talking about strengthening her feet – and specifically improving her bunions to help her balance.
To her, it seemed like an impossibility to imagine changing a part of her body that is so deeply ingrained into the way she lives. She can’t remember NOT having bunions. I can only imagine, by looking at her face, that she was thinking to herself “Lady, you have lost your mind”.
But as I told her, our bodies are incredible living structures that have the ability to adapt and change as we want them to – IF we want them to. Of course it takes patience, focus and practice to ‘rewire’ our brains to undo these patterns that we’ve reinforced over years – and possibly decades – but it is possible. And if we don’t challenge ourselves, our bodies stay stuck in those same patterns (and possibly pain) forever.
In the wise words of Shirley Sahrmann, a brilliant Physical Therapist:
“You can’t strengthen a muscle to make it move right. You need to teach it how to move.”
This is exactly what we teach in the Postpartum Sister Method, teaching the muscles HOW to move and THEN adding resistance to strengthen, rather than just pure strengthening on top of random movement patterns.
If a muscle (like the pelvic floor, for example) doesn’t know what to do, we might be making our recovery harder than it has to be.
And nobody’s got time for that. Especially you, Mama.
It doesn’t matter how old you are or how far postpartum you are. If you are alive, you can use your muscles, you can release your tension, and you can retrain your bodies to allow more freedom of movement and less stress.
I say “you can”, but really what I mean is “you have to”.
Because, ya know, gravity sucks.