Saturday, June 26, 2010

Beam me up, please

You know those exercises described step-by-step in magazine articles? For those over sixty, a vital step may be missing from the instructions:

Step 1. Get down on your hands and knees.

Step 2. Straighten your left leg.

Step 3. While straightening your left leg, raise your right arm.

Step 4. Hold for six seconds, lower, and repeat 10 times.

What’s missing? Step 5, telling you how to get up, sub-step by sub-step. For example:

Step 5a. Look around you to see if anyone is watching. (That is, anyone who would make fun of you while you struggle to get back to a standing position.) Alternative Step 5a: Look around you to see if anyone with a kind, understanding demeanor can help you if you are unable to follow the next sub-steps.)

Step 5b. If the coast is clear, press down hard on your hands in an attempt to boost yourself up. Try to squelch the “Ooph” and “Oy” and “Arghh” that will involuntarily escape from your voicebox.

Step 5c. Move your left leg from the kneeling position and place that foot firmly on the floor.

Step 5d. Look around again to make sure nobody is watching this. Be especially vigilant for anyone holding a digital video camera or cell phone—and who knows how to post on You Tube.

Step 5e. Placing all your weight on both hands and your left foot, and using all the strength you have left, elevate yourself to a standing position. Try not to stagger once you’re upright.

Step 5f. Vow to stick to walking and lifting 3-pound weights (from a standing position) ever after.