Testing Perceived Limits
Wednesday, October 09, 2013
Today was a day for new things.
I've done some things today -- successfully -- that I (almost) thought I'd never do again.
As simple a little thing as grapevine step. That's walking sideways, crossing your leading foot in front and behind, in front and behind. Towards the end of doing this a few times across the room, I was even told not to look at my feet, and I held my head up and I could still do it. (I kinda cheated, though, because it's a gym and there's mirrors everywhere, so I watched my feet in the mirror instead of looking down.)
The other amazing thing I did was floorwork. I lay flat on my back on a mat on the floor and did knee lifts and leg raises to engage and strengthen my core. I got down there by myself, and I got back up by myself. (How you can tell this is not a usual thing for me: I kept turning sideways to the mat to get down on the floor. Apparently that is because for years I have always been using furniture to help me, so I am used to turning sideways.) In between each set of lifts I had to stand up and "take a rest". Funny to stand up to take a rest from lying on the floor, but the act of standing up under my own power was an exercise in itself -- as much a mental one as a physical one.
The other difficult thing I did today doesn't sound hard, but it was for me. When you have a strength imbalance and stability issues to contend with, coordinating everything necessary to do this exercise is an effort of concentration. (Aside: The problem I have with doing complicated patterns in Step class is not so much that they are physically impossible for me to do; it's that the amount of concentration I have to put into maintaining my balance when I'm moving my feet quickly does not usually leave me with enough brain power to also learn a complex sequence of steps. Most of the time I must choose balance over complexity.)
So, for this new exercise I held a ten-pound weight down by my thigh in one hand, and a two-pound weight over my head in the other hand. Then I stepped up and down on the step bench, which was set to its highest height. There was something else, too. I had to pull myself up with the stepping foot, not bounce off the back foot. The back foot went up into a knee lift and back down again.
I'm sure it doesn't sound hard when I describe it, but there is so much concentration involved in keeping my stability because of the different weights on either side, and the different location of the weights -- it's all purposely designed to be off-balance. But I was able to do it. And someday, I will be doing the same thing on the BOSU ball, which isn't even a solid step, but a bouncy unstable surface. (Right now that hurts my brain just thinking about it.)
Now that I am working on testing my limits (which are farther out than I thought) and gaining confidence, I might one day expand my abilities in Step class and actually walk over the bench to the Dark Side.