Mom, get up off the floor!

Mom, get off the floorI asked my mom how her workouts were going. 

She said “I’m doing good.  It’s hard but I keep up.  The only thing I don’t do is the floor exercises.”  

I asked her why not.  

She told me, “I can’t get back up if I sit on the floor.”  

“What?  Mom!  At what point in time did you decide and accept the fact that you can’t get up?” I was dumbfounded.  At that moment, it struck me. I bet that thought goes through many aging people’s heads.  At some point, or, rather, at some age, we decide we have reached that time in our life when it is acceptable to no longer be able to get up off the floor.  

My poor mom.  I threw a fit.  “That is not okay, Mom. There is no reason you cannot get up off the floor when you get down there.”  

“Carol,” she told me, “I have a bad knee and my shoulder still bothers me from my surgery.”  

I looked at her and she knew I had no sympathy. Then, I saw that gleam in her eye.  She walked in my office (we work together and we were having this discussion right outside my office door) got down on the floor, did five sit ups and then got herself back up with that look “I’ll show you, you little brat.”  She had to use my desk to reach out and pull herself up, but she did it.  Then she told me, “See that? I can do it.  It’s not pretty but I can still do it.”  She was so proud of herself.

By this time, there was a little crowd gathered at my door wondering what was going on.  So, what did she do?  She told everyone “Carol told me to get down on the floor and give her five.”  

By that time, we were all laughing and getting a kick out of the story.  But I learned something that day that opened my eyes.  I see so many elders from their eighties on that can no longer get up off the floor.  Did the “Help me, I’ve fallen and can’t get back up” button set the stage for acceptance?  Is that what programmed us to think we are “supposed” to not be able to get up anymore?

Have you decided it’s ok to not be able to get up off the floor once you’re down there?  You may think you have a good reason, but much like my Mother, I bet you can do it.  All you have to do is set your mind, not care what you look like, use a chair or something to help push up on, and you’ll find yourself wondering why you ever accepted that as ok.  

I challenge you today.  Really evaluate yourself and ask “Do I have a valid reason I can no longer get up off the floor.”  Then decide: what are you going to do about it.  

It may seem like something so simple, but I can guarantee you, keeping yourself able to get up and off the floor, will keep you stronger, more able, and younger than others your same age.

What can you do in your everyday routine to make it happen?  Stop using armrests to sit down and “plop” in a chair.  Keep your quad muscles strong.  Next, don’t use the armrests to get up.  What more can you do?  Sit in that chair and lift your leg up towards your chest 10 times.  Did it burn?  Good!  Now, do the other side.  Do this everyday as a start to increase or gain back strength in your legs.  Don’t stop there.  Go to a gym.  Go to your physician.  Tell her/him you cannot get up off the floor and ask for an order for Physical Therapy.  The very most important thing you can do….Set your mind!  You can get up off the floor!

Additional links for more information:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16110729

http://cpr.sagepub.com/content/21/7/892.abstract

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