Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A E I O U and sometimes whY.....?

I am in a constant state of stiffness. I am stiff when I get up in the morning, I am stiff when I get into my car after work and I am stiff after I ride. I do stretch myself out to loosen things up, but some days it just doesn't work.
Advil is my best friend.

I have a mature body. I have come to grips with that in some ways, but not in others. I actually like my wrinkles. Not doing any regular exercise (does going to dance bars in the 70's and 80's count as regular exercise???), plus having a career for the past 30+ years that requires hours daily at a keyboard, has taken its toll. My joints and muscles betray me any chance they get.

Being a new rider, I am always a little nervous when I am on my way to the stables - excited to see Gem but nervous about actually riding him. This tenses my body. Before I leave for riding, I do some stretching exercises to help loosen my hips, shoulders and neck. While driving to the stables, I lift my shoulders up and down, roll my head around and look side to side, in an effort to loosen my atrophied neck and shoulder muscles. Sometimes I sing really loud to open up my lungs. I also work hard at not "killing the birds" while I am driving (see Those Darn Birds).

What I wasn't loosening up was my face. Yep, my face. When I was looking for my horse, one of the selling features listed in many of the advertisements was a "soft eye". I now understand what that is, but I didn't realize that the human in this partnership should endeavour to have soft eyes, too! It makes sense to me. What would encourage your horse to be happy when you look grumpy?

I squint and don't realize it. I wear reading glasses and unfortunately at the end of the work day, my eyebrows seek the company of each other and start creeping over the bridge of my nose. My eyes shrink to almost being closed. I never noticed it before. So, now I include exercises for my face as I am driving to the stables.

Here's my exercise routine in the car on the way to the stables: In a very exaggerated way, I say out loud "A E I O U and sometimes Y", over and over and over again. In addition, I lift my eyebrows up and down and up and down. Put all this together with sporadically singing really loud, rolling my shoulders and head and turning my head from side to side, I am pretty well guaranteed that by the time I get to the stables, my lungs are ready, my shoulders and neck have loosened up and my face and eyes have "softened".

Geez, I wonder what my traffic buddies think of my car calisthenics? Can you imagine seeing me in your rear view mirror?! Yikes!!

What was I thinking....?


  1. It sounds like you and I have many of the same body issues. I had to laugh when I pictured you in the car doing your routine! I think I'll give it a try myself.

  2. Hi wilsonc! I may look like an escapee from some sort of asylum while I am doing it, but it works! :-)

  3. You probably look like you're boogying down while driving. I've looked in the rear view mirror and seen people who look like they're dancing in the car, it makes me smile every time.

    That's a very interesting observation about facial expressions affecting our horses. I'm often checking my body position to make sure it's not threatening but I forget about my face. I will keep an "eye" on it from now on.

  4. Hello S.! I sometimes revert back to squinting when I am tacking up because I can't see what I am doing, but I try really hard not to squint when Gem and I are looking at each other. I'm am sure he doesn't know what the heck is going on when he sees my eyebrows in action!! :-)

  5. I think singing and stretching are great exercises to loosen up tense muscles. Unfortunately, I'm old enough to know what you're talking about and commiserate with you. Of course, the dancing WAS exercise, don't know if it still counts now. Maybe it would if I actually still did it. You might want to try that out in the car too and add it to your repertoire. I would like to see you practicing this, though not necessarily in the car next to me! Thanks you've left me with a funny image of a happy person.

  6. Hello GHM! I still occasionally rock out! I was a dancing machine in my younger days. :-)

  7. Good work, Wolfie!

    You know, I kind of like the aching, because then I know that my body has done some job that day. And for each and every day, that same body grows stronger.
    Isn't that nice?

  8. Thanks, HoC! I agree with you. The aching after riding is a "good" kind of ache. I know my body is improving internally and I look forward to the day that my body actually shows that improvement. :-)

  9. I think you might enjoy yoga -none of that sweat shop stuff, but just Hatha Yoga.

    It reduces one's tendency to unconsciously scowl at the world... :)

  10. Hi Breathe! Thanks for the reminder. I was given a yoga video and mat as a gift last year. It may be time to dust them off and actually use them!