Taking Back Control
I am in my mid seventies obese, not very active, not fit and my back makes standing still a problem. I have decided to take back control of my life. I've started by watching what I eat and trying to get fitter.
My son wanting to help and encourage me set up a wii system for me. This is a video game system and he has loaded a Wii-fit Plus interactive video game on it. This Wii-fit plus programme enables me to do some virtual keep fit workouts at home.
This is especially good for me in the summer when it is hard for me to do anything outside in the heat.
I am impressed by the aerobic exercises on the wii fit plus and I am getting on very well with these. I have had back problems and for many years I have walked with a stick to help take some of the strain off my back. The Wii-fit Plus has a body test and one of the things this body check has highlighted was that my centre of gravity was off. To correct this imbalance they suggest doing their balance games. They designed these games specifically to help improve balance.
The balance games are good fun and little by little they are increasing my balance skills. Since walking with a stick my centre of gravity has shifted. My shift is over to the right which is the hand I hold my stick. The Wii-fit Plus program says the shift and misalignment can negatively impact health. The misalignment can cause poor posture, back pain and even weight gain. They are right because I have all three.
So after I had done my aerobic exercises and muscle and balance games I thought I would chill out. There was a Zen Meditation balance game on the Wii-fit Plus balance games so I clicked on that.
I thought that I would ace this Zen Meditation game as all you had to do was sit still looking at a candle flame. So I gave the Zazen game a go. The first thing I saw is that you should sit in the lotus position on the balance board.
The Lotus Position
Well as an obese 75 year old there there was no way that the lotus position was going to happen. It doesn't matter if it is on a balance board or a cushion the lotus position is just not going to happen.
But, all hope was not lost. If you can't sit with your legs folded underneath you you there is an alternative. You can just sit on the board with your legs straight out in front of you.
That sounded like it should be a breeze. So, all I have to do is sit still on the board on the floor. It sounds easy and simple enough, I am used to sitting still doing nothing in my chair, so I thought I can do that.
The Lotus Position
Getting Down to it
I place my balance board on the carpet in front of the TV with space all around. You need the space so you can do any exercises without knocking things flying. I have the programme all lined up ready for me to start. I don't have to sit crossed legged so no problem there.
All I had to do was get down to the floor level. It was here that I should have had a video camera set up to record me trying to get down to floor level.
My Wii-fit balance board is on the carpet and suddenly the board looks a long way down. But I had made my mind up I was going to give it a go.
After about 5 minutes of doing a form of bear walking I managed to get down on to my knees. I did this by falling the last couple of inches onto my knees. I fell the last few inches because the hand that was supporting my weight as I tried to lower myself down gave way. So now I am halfway down.
I crawled on my knees till I was as close as I could get to the wii balance board. Now all I have to do is get my bum sat squarely on the balance board. For this I had to get my knees from underneath me so they are sticking out in front. Sounds easy enough.
When I was younger I doubt I would even have given a thought to how to do something so simple. I would have placed the board where I wanted and I would have just sat down on the Wii balance board all in one smooth movement.
Those were the days when I just did things without having to work out how I was going to do it.
It was here on my hands and knees that I was thinking about giving up. But I was already passed the point of no return. I am marooned in the middle of the carpet on my knees so I thought I am committed to do this now so I may as well carry on.
Sat on the Balance Board
I knew I needed help take up some of the weight as I tried to manoeuvre my bum onto the balance board. By now almost 7 minutes have passed and I am still not sat on the balance board. At last I managed to do a semi soft landing by falling sideways onto my side.
Once I was on my side, pretty much curled up in a foetal position, I was at last able to get my legs out from underneath me. I sat up on the floor and then shuffle back towards the balance board ready to try and get my bum on the board.
It was at this point that I noticed I had put the wii control that I needed to start the game. It was on the floor where I had gotten down onto my knees.
By the time I had shuffled over to the remote and got my bum/butt actually onto the board nearly 10 minutes had passed. On the plus side at this point I felt like I had done a good aerobic work out. But in reality all I had managed to achieve was sitting down on the flipping balance board.
Sat But Not Crossed Legged
A Sense of Achievement
But strange as it might seem it was at this point that I actually felt a sense of achievement.
It is the first time in years that I have sat down on the ground without holding on to someone or something. It may not have been a pretty sight to watch but here I was sat on the balance board, back stretched and ready to go.
I also felt pleased with myself that I didn't give up at the first hurdle. I was glad I tried in the first place knowing that getting down onto floor level was going to be difficult for me.
I Can Ace This
Anyway here I am sitting on my balance board legs out in front, and for this game all I had to do was keep still. Well I thought that is something I can manage, I am going to ace this. So I pressed start on the game and it told me to sit with my back stretched and keep as still as possible.
The voice on the game says a lack of focus will cause the candle flame to flicker. So any slight movement of the body will cause the candle to flicker and to go out. Once the candle flickers and the candle goes out the game is over.
I do a lot of sitting still so I thought I can ace this. That was what I thought but that was not how this played out. The first go I managed 29 seconds before my candle flame died. I thought I will not let this beat me and so I gave it another go and this time it was only 24 seconds before my candle died. It was at this point I thought enough is enough.
But Just When I thought it was All Over
But just when I thought it was all over I realised that I still have to get my bum off the balance board and get back up. But half of that battle had been won on my way down. To get up I knew the steps I had to repeat. So I kind of half rolled off the balance board and back into the familiar foetal position.
From this position after without much of a struggle I managed to get back up onto my knees. Then I crawled over to one of the recliner chairs. But I found that the arms of the chair are too high for to push down on to lift myself up off my knees.
So I tried using the seat of the chair but it was too low and spongy to give the support I needed. But after about five minutes push and pulling on the chair I managed to get up off my knees to an upright position. At one point I thought I was going to be wearing the recliner as a hat.
I Did it on my Own
After all this physical exertion I felt exhausted. I felt like I had done a half marathon. But I was so glad that I was alone in the apartment because once I got myself down I had to get myself up.
When other people are around I don't have to struggle to succeed. All I have to do ask for help and they will give me a pull up or lower me down. Their help makes life easier for me. But I have found if they do that enough times it is not long before I begin to think I can't do it any more on my own.
So I have surprised and pleased myself this morning. It may have been difficult, it may have taken a lot of effort, but I did it on my own. I will be trying to do some more things soon that I think I can't do any more.
My Life Lesson
So my life lesson was, that even when you fail to do what you aimed to do, there is still a gain. By trying and failing we will often learn a lesson that is far more valuable than what you were trying to do.
In this case I learned that I could do something that I thought I could no longer do. Which was get down onto the floor unaided and get back up again.
Achieving this gave me a sense of achievement much greater than had I managed the meditation.
Pause for thought
My achievement gave me something pause for thought. Over the next few days I wondered how many other things that I thought I could no longer do were also achievable. One of the first things I decided to tackle was learning to walk without my stick.
I started by taking my stick out with me but carrying it as long as I could before I needed to use it. At first I was walking a little then using my stick a little. But right away on my first walk I found the time between having to use the stick got longer.
I also decided to do the balance games everyday. The balance games are definitely improving my posture. Of course this improvement in posture has helped with walking unaided by my stick.
Some of the Benefits
It is some weeks on from this incident now and now I walk without my stick. I am sure my decision to do balance exercises every day has helped my walking without a stick.
This fitness session also made me realise that by having a goal or aim helped me to focus. By becoming more focused I found that even in failure I get much more achieved. It is certainly a lot better than when I just let the days slip by aimlessly.
Because of Covid I seem to be washing my hands and face dozens of times each day. After watching the benefits of washing in cold water I thought I would try to use only cold water. I found I liked using the cold water, and now I have managed to take some cold showers too. Contrary to what I thought I have found that I actually like having cold showers.
Mind you, it is the height of summer here and with high humidity and temperatures in the 90s f 30s c. But I am interested to find out how long it will be before I turn the heat back on.
A Kick up the Butt/ Bum
That morning has proven to be a giant kick up the bum that I needed to knock me out of my rut. Each change seems to spur me on to try another new thing. Who knows where this will lead.
maggs224 (author) from Sunny Spain on August 29, 2021:
@ Peggy Woods Thanks Peggy it is a long time since I have been on HubPages, but funnily enough the proverbial kick up the bum sort of propelled me back here. You never know where the spin offs will take you. I can now get up from and down to the floor with out a problem. I hope the momentum continues. I forgot how much I enjoyed being part of the HubPages community. I am so glad that your friendly face was the first to appear in my comments. I feel I have come back home,
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on August 29, 2021:
Congratulations to you! You did it! I can relate to it being difficult to get up from a floor position. May your good health journey see excellent results as you continue on your quest.