The past few weeks I talked about ways to stay fit and avoid gaining 150 lbs while quarantined with stockpiles of canned ravioli and buckets of cookie dough ice cream.
I’m taking it back. All of it.
Well, except for the canned ravioli comment. That’s literally all of us.
Because while I try to remain optimistic regardless of rain, snow, locusts and global catastrophes, I’m losing this battle.
As much as I try to make light of all this mess, it’s slowly seeping into my system… like when you sit on a wet bench but don’t realize it until it creeps its way into your pants and you stand up and everyone laughs because you have a ginormous wet spot on your butt.
Can you relate?
If so, the (sort of) good news is we’re not alone.
Turns out, not being about to live life as we knew it four weeks ago (let’s have a moment of silence for that lost era) triggers an actual grieving process.
We are grieving the loss of economic stability, our ability to move around freely and the ability to participate in life’s milestones in person.
To make matters worse, many of us (*raises hand*) feel guilty because we know others are having a way worse time than us.
But experts say “loss is loss,” regardless of the size (see the above link for details).
The (kinda) good news: It’s totally normal.
Give yourself some slack.
Take care of yourself the best you can.
But don’t beat yourself up for not being productive/ not working out and/or for eating half the emergency rations you’ve stored in front of your secret stash of toilet paper in your bedroom closet.
Yup, I see you.
So if you gain a few pounds (as I’m sure I have by now)… let it go. (Yes, it’s still me, I haven’t been taken over by an extraterrestrial.)
Personally, I’ve stopped weighing myself to avoid putting more pressure on myself because I can’t get to the gym.
Having said that, I wanted to awkwardly segue here a way to unkink tight muscles from being less active than normal… foam rolling.
Stretching is great but using a foam roller works muscles differently.
You don’t need an “official” foam roller, either.
A tennis ball in a sock works similarly. HERE’S THE ROLLER I USE (a link from my Amazon store, where I earn a small commission).
In case you haven’t seen a foam roller, it’s exactly as it sounds: a log-shaped piece of hard foam, typically 36-inches long, although you can get a smaller, half-size version.
‘Cause here’s the thing: If you use it correctly, it hurts like the dickens (not Charles Dickens, since these torture objects did not even exist in his time).
It’s not comfortable until the session ends and you feel better.
Here’s how it works: Lying or pressing a body part over a foam roller breaks up the fascia surrounding the muscle so the muscle — (warning: grossness ahead!) picture the white tissue surrounding a chicken breast — is able to stretch more effectively. It helps increase blood flow to the muscle by getting rid of adhesions in your muscles.
Even sounds painful.
It’s why the technique is referred to as self-myofascial release, a.k.a. Self-massage. Research shows it can improve athletic performance, speed workout recovery, and decrease muscle pain.
In other words, it’s a good hurt. Some manufacturers offer softer foam rollers if the standard ones are too much to start.
Here are the general rules of foam rolling:
Here’s a video I made to help you with the basics…
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Your Ageless Body Coach,
Linda Melone is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, certified trainer and award-winning health and fitness writer. She specializes in helping women over 50 get in shape and lose weight.