By Dennis Burns
Without really realizing it, I found that one of the main determinants of whether I need to improve my flexibility is putting my socks on.
First thing in the morning when getting dressed I will put my socks on, not sitting down, but whilst standing with no support, one foot at a time.
I first used this test last year, when following a major abdomen operation, I could hardly even bend over to put them on whilst sitting on the bed.
This small thing became my reason to get back into Taekwon-Do training after an eight week layoff. It took a while but within a couple of months I was again back on my feet and again putting my socks on standing on one foot.
So why bring it up now nearly a year later? Well I, like a lot of people my age, struggle to get the motivation to go to training on a regular basis and, with winter coming on here in New Zealand, the open fire is pretty inviting.
So why is being able to put your socks on while standing on one foot so important to people over 40? In my view it is a good indicator of physical and mental health and agility.
Man (and I use the generic title) is pretty well designed, but as a general rule we use three senses to walk and stand, Touch, sight and hearing.
Take one of these away and you begin to get a feel of where I am coming from.
Try this little exercise. – Stand on one foot, and then close your eyes, now try and perform a slow-motion kick with the other foot two or three times. I’d be surprised if you find it easy.
Then try this exercise when you have the flu or a head cold
The mental agility comes down to the brain power we use just to stay upright. Add in standing on one foot and then one foot putting a sock on and the brain is working overtime.
For physical agility I use Taekwon-Do combined with Yoga to give me the best chance of remaining physically and mentally active as I age. If I am overweight and inflexible, and cannot easily put my socks on, then it is logical that other everyday activities are going to get even more difficult.
Putting my socks on is one of my personal measures of physical and mental health. As everyone is different, all I can recommend is that you find something you can monitor yourself daily and if things do slip a little, use the trigger to get yourself back on track.