reclaiming my time

At the end of my Wednesday workout, my trainer and I discussed how we would fit our Friday puzzle-pieces together. There’s an exercise component, which takes about an hour not counting cleanup, and there’s an assisted stretching component, which takes… well, however long it needs to and lately that’s been two and a half hours.

Assisted stretching is a good and wholesome thing for my body. K-body has plenty of unwise habits that we’ve acquired over the past five decades… for example, as a little I would sit with my feet crossed and folded up under me, and sleep with my knees coiled up. The sports physiologist gave little-me assorted devices to force me to quit, but somehow I still sit—even in chairs!—canted on one hip, the opposite leg tucked or folded away. Last winter, the tension in the muscles and ligaments of that tucked leg kept me from sleeping; they were so sore that simply laying my weight on them would wake me.

So with assisted stretching, we (and by we I mean she) use massage to get blood flowing and to convince those muscles and ligaments to release their grip a bit… and then we (again, she) move into stretches that align K-body components in the way they were designed. They even out my leg-length. Afterwards I sit with my weight distributed evenly across my fundament. I fold and unfold more smoothly, with less wincing in the moment. And most importantly for me, my sleep resumes its needed flow.

My trainer has, over the past ten months and more, given me small stretches and exercises to practice between sessions*. I can tell these would suit my body well, and sustain the work we’ve been doing to convince K-body to move more sustainably for the long term. I don’t do them. Or I do them only in the moments when sleep starts to fray, abandoning them promptly.

During that first week this term, I reviewed my activities—and the time they take—with a stern eye. Last week was the last time I’ll serve as a library page for the foreseeable future: ffffft, done. I’m in negotiations, we’ll say, with what of my two women’s board responsibilities I’ll keep doing, and which I’ll shed.

And I looked at the time I spend on physical culture and asked: can I afford that? Six, seven hours a week? This starts to consume a class’-worth of time, building into a 50-hour workweek. When do I go to the doctor? When do I visit friends?

I’ve realized: those recommendations? If I perform them routinely, they just might remove the need for assistive stretching. If I daily keep re-patterning K-body, I am vastly more likely to gain some good-movement traction. Good movement now produces dividends in the decades to come…

…not to mention reclaiming two and a half hours of my time.

Boy howdy, I am less interested in doing these fiddly little exercises every day than I was in brushing and flossing my teeth every day. Yet I established that habit, and have even seen some benefit.

I want those two and a half hours far more intensely than I cared about reducing my inflammation. Okay. I’m reclaiming my time.



* I would like, at this moment, to affirm that my mother showed me all these same stretches and exercises at least a decade ago. She had been prescribed them, and performed them faithfully to great effect, because she’s wired like that. (Like my friend J: tell them once, and it’s perfectly performed forever.) She wanted me to have the blessings she experienced, and have them right away instead of having to wait the way she did. It was a warm-hearted, loving gift. And like daughters of all ages, I have blown her off. <blush> To my (lack of?) credit, I’ve also been blowing off my trainer, so at least we can pin it on something beyond residual teen behavior patterns!

The source of my title, in case it’s unfamiliar:

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