How I Learned to Do 15 Unassisted Squats In My Seventh Decade

Blame it on the cats!

Or maybe on my decision to take a roommate to help with expenses.

I’d decided to make the room with a view my bedroom and office even though it’s the smallest of two. That meant an air mattress which was both inexpensive and would fit.

I’d had a cat and an air mattress years before but MzTiz never did get very big and her claws never put a hole in that one. I thought it would be the same. Not! Toulouse and Dudley, a bonded pair, were bigger than my former feline, and so were their claws. Although I got pretty good at patching there is a limit it turns out.

The cats and I discovered this one night around 1 or 2 am. I woke up to the realization that my wonderful air mattress was lowering us gently to the floor. I looked at the cats and they looked at me and I decided we didn’t need to do anything. We’d all slept nicely on floors and I had no desire to start chasing leaks in the middle of the night. All three of us returned to sweet dreams.

It was the morning that was the shocker. Although I’d stayed in fairly good shape as I’d gotten older, that morning I struggled to get up off the floor, really struggled, clinging to the desk and leveraging myself up using the 2 drawer filing cabinet as support.

Standing there out of breath and glad no human had watched me, I also realized that my back felt better than it had in weeks. I threw the covers over the collapsed mattress, deciding to try it unpatched and uninflated another night.

It wasn’t until the third or fourth morning I realized that effort to go from prone to standing could, particularly if I remembered to tighten my belly while gasping, be considered exercise.

And so it was, day after day, week after week until a month or two had gone by and I recognized it was getting easier and easier for me to arise.

Months before my chiropractor had suggested I learn to do unassisted squats and showed me how to do them. So one morning I got up and went into the living room and using the coffee table as a touch point instead of clinging to the kitchen sink, did one correct unassisted squat. Wow!

Every day or so I added another, never pushing very hard and being sure I didn’t damage my knees. When I returned to the chiropractor I bragged about how I could now do five unassisted squats in a row.

“Show me how you do a squat,” the DC ordered, and I did, using the treatment table only as a touch point.

He nodded, adding, “Okay go for 15.”

“Fifteen,” I sputtered. Why so many?

He assured me it wasn’t a random number but a worthy goal that would help me stay fit and strong.

And so I did.

By adding an unassisted squat every few days, it really wasn’t very long before I could do 15, first in five groups of three, then four groups of four (one extra tickled me), then three groups of five which is where I am now and sort of hanging out. I expect to get to 15 in one fell swoop eventually. Meantime, this grandmother loves telling and demonstrating how many unassisted squats I can do. I love feeling strong.

My next challenge is planks, straight down and to the left and to the right. At the moment those feel as difficult as the first day I had to work hard to get up from my deflated mattress. They will get easier if I work at it, and it isn’t half bad.

Writer, life and writing coach, book ghostwriter, Grandmother, Buddhist. Liberal who listens to the other side, political activist-www.DemocracyCounts.org

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