Growing Crotchety is Bullshit and I Refuse

I’m pretty good about keeping my body in shape. The positive effects for me of having a healthy body are so obvious it would be idiotic to ignore them, and I am not an idiot. It also annoys me when I know my body should be able to do something and then it can’t without a struggle.

Part of that is just a matter of movement, and given how much of my life is sedentary these days that requires active awareness on my part. I don’t go to the gym; I take dance classes, at least one every week. I walk whenever possible, even (especially) when that means carrying loads up steep hills. I take the stairs instead of the elevator. If I’m writing at home, I plant myself on the floor in a stretch. Little things.

Still, I realized recently that my body was getting stiff, and that’s bullshit. There is no reason that my body should be getting crotchety with age. Things I could do with my body when I was an adolescent were not so strenuous I shouldn’t still be able to do them for years yet.

So I’ve started a basic daily regimen for myself, because I refuse to grow crotchety when it’s within my power to prevent it. I’m starting slow in each category (and may add or change them later), and I’ll work up to where I want to be.

My body has reacted kind of predictably.

1. Stretching/splits: “Oh, those muscles! We remember those muscles. Okay, sure, we can do this.”

2. Bridges/back bends: “Okay, whoa. We remember, and this is cool and all, but trippy.”


I will not stop this nonsense.

I expect further complaints when I get past the basics in the other two categories, too, but I know my body well enough to know when it’s just whining and when there’s an actual problem.

The only thing that’s really surprised me is that righting myself when I’ve been upside down is disorienting. That was only occasionally true when I was younger. But then, I spent a lot more time upside down then, too. I hope that one’s reversible, because it’s irritating.

I am not going gently into physical crotchetiness. Aging will have to fight me for it.



  1. Good for you. I waited on the backbends till my pelvis had refused to tolerate them—I could do a backbend but was table-flat, not arched—and obviously, I wish I hadn’t because it’s hard to figure out which baby-steps stretches would loosen my pelvis without incurring tendon microinjury. (Ten years afterwards, I can still mimic a table, at least.)

  2. One of the reasons I continue teaching karate is that it requires me to show up in front of witnesses and exercise. Also, seeing the difference in mobility between my primary instructors — in their mid-sixties — and others of similar age pushes me to keep going.

    But my body totally agrees with you on the push-ups. 🙂

    1. Hmm, I think pushups are okay, modulo some tricksy spine/joint issues, and planks are definitely okay; it’s only backbends and splits that make me a bit wistful, though I think I’ve never been quite as active physically as you. 🙂 I wonder why it is that muscle starts atrophying for most women during their twenties (unless one takes steps to counterbalance it). One needs muscle! It’s important for not falling over!

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