I must apologise for the fact that this post will once again cover my goal of geriatric gymnasticism, but it is a major feature of my life and is rather on my mind at present (for reasons that will later be revealed). In a desperate attempt to keep you reading, I am willing to enter into a solemn undertaking that no pictures of the author will be inflicted on readers of this post. Following on from recent discussion on GofaDM, I recalled that the word “gymnastic” comes to us from the Greeks and refers to nudity. I would like to assure readers that while gymnastics is less problematic than cycling for the naked chap, I still like to ensure that all loose items are properly secured before attempting anything serious.
Unexpectedly, one of those charged with helping me achieve my foolish, middle-aged ambition (well, one of them) recently said that my progress was inspiring to other clients. I think (hope!) that she was joking: I do not feel ready to act as an inspiration to anyone – a terrible warning, yes; an inspiration, no.
The neophyte gymnast has to balance (well, duh) the need to be rigid with the need to be flexible (even bendy). Whilst both requirements are progressing, I think I incline more naturally toward rigidity. Yesterday morning, I came far closer to the splits than I had ever anticipated, though still not very close, which requires significant adduction of the legs (sadly, mine). [BTW, isn’t “-duction”a marvellously flexible word fragment? It can take so many prefixes: ab-, ad-, con-, de-, in-, pro-, re-, sub- and form a new word.] As a consequence my adductors (and gluteals) have been remonstrating quite forcefully with the management since yesterday lunch-time. The result is that my transitioning from standing to sitting (and vice versa), and indeed my bending down generally, has rather more in common with a pensioner than is desirable in a man the right (or on a traditional number line, the left) side of fifty.
I suppose this is a further reminder that whilst in my head I am still a student (though not a very mature one) to the rest of the world (and my body, in particular) I am decidedly middle-aged. Given that people of my age are advised to check with their doctor before taking up needlepoint, my adoption of la vie gymnastique could appear cavalier. In recognition of this fact, I recently acquired a new toy to check how my cardiovascular system felt about me hanging around upside down like a massive, if rather pale and inept, bat. Actually, my toy only monitors my heart rate – by shining lights at my wrist – and reports back its findings to my phone. However, this has reassured me that my heart rate at least remains within sensible bounds despite my lunacy. We (well, mostly I) must just hope that my blood pressure is behaving itself too, but my head does go a lot less red these days so I have some hope that my body is adapting (or at least has stopped responding to every cry of “wolf!” it receives).
Talking of new toys, I have recently acquire a set of parallettes to boost my planche-related progress and advance my retirement plan: viz, to run away to the circus.
These have proved worryingly addictive – I feel the urge to use them whenever I traverse the hall. Still, wannabe professional gymnasts seem to be training 40 hours a week by the time they are eleven, so I have a lot of catching up to do!