Long ago, one summer when I was 12, I took dance classes at the JCC – I’m talking about all day, every day. Well, maybe not ALL day, and it was only for a month.
But it was a LOT of dance classes, like 5 or 6 a day. I got strong and fast and I was (believe it or not) a skinny kid anyway. (Honest - I looked seriously weird in a leotard because my elbows were too pointy and my knees too knobbly…)
I was, by any measure, healthy and fit, and I loved feeling my little muscles. And when it was time for stretching, I DID the stretches, darn it, almost hard enough to hurt.
But almost every day, at the same JCC, my Bubby used to come to “make exercise” and swim. (It was always “make” exercise – no amount of “how was your exercise, Bubby?” could get her to just use “exercise” as a verb.)
Sometimes, rarely, I used to glimpse her in the class windows moving around and I swear, she was definitely more flexible than me. That’s no a figure of speech, and she was not an unusually flexible 70-year-old, that I recall. She was just a ton more bendy than me, her skinny, active, fit, really-trying-hard 12-year-old granddaughter.
No matter what I do or have done in my life, there is a certain point where bending gets really REALLY hard. Like, so hard that my legs would snap if I pushed past it.
Yet I realized during my aerobics class tonight that every single class I do, to this very day, I go in with the optimism that if I try hard enough, I will be stretchy. I reach for my toes – and they’re not there. I fall forward to the ground – and it does not rise up to meet me.
I am currently NOT twelve years old, or particularly fit. But like I said, I don’t think you can just blame that. The only good news is that I haven’t noticed any marked degradation of the amount of stretchiness in my… hmm… sinews?
So, fitness gurus! (unless you’re all reading a more fitness-oriented blog – sorry!) Is there some kind of stretchiness-ometer that would tell me if I was way abnormal, or had some kind of tautness that is inhumanly high?
Short of that, I’d like to know from any family members who happen to be reading this how stretchy you think YOU are compared to the average person. Surely, I’m not the only one. Where did this awful porcelain-doll-body legacy come from?
Are you one of those ridiculously stretchy people who can touch the ground from anywhere??? I hate you. Ha ha… just kidding. But I can out-stride-jump you, that’s for sure. Or at least, possible.