Well, it isn’t really a resolution, so much as a challenge. I had this wacky idea. I am always counting the hundred. I probably do 20 or 30 counts of the hundred four or five times a day, getting people going. Rarely do I actually do the whole 100. In fact, when I am working out, sometimes I skip it.
So, I thought, why not do the 100 every day? It was supposedly one of the first exercises Joe would make people do when they came to him. And just to make it more interesting, what if I try to do 100 on January 1, 200 on January 2, 300 on January 3 and see how far I get? Why not? Could be interesting. Could be fun. Could be funny. So far, day 8, it has been all three.
Right off the bat, I knew as the numbers got higher, I wasn’t going to want to do all of those in a row. Last night, peering through Pilates’ Return to Life Through Contrology and Your Health (not sure which one it was in), I saw a statement about how you want to do just the number of repetitions for each of his exercises that he indicates (every day) so that you don’t fatigue your muscles. Generally a fairly small number. 4, 6, 8. How’s that for a statement counter to what modern body/muscle builders tout? He states that fatiguing the muscles creates toxins in the body. I find that intriguing and not contrary to things I have felt, but I’d like to follow up to see if there is any physiological basis/evidence for that. Anyway, it sure doesn’t make it seem like a good idea to do so many 100’s. I could be dumping tons of toxins into my body as the days get closer to the end of the month. However, I think if I keep each set down to a manageable size for me, I can avoid this muscular fatigue for the most part. At least I hope, and I will see! That will be part of my challenge, my experiment.
Cynthia reminded me on Sunday that before I had done my Pilates training, I said I didn’t see the point of doing the 100’s. I remember feeling this way, and don’t remember exactly why. Something about all the arm flapping around seemed so silly. What the heck was I doing really to improve my health? I have to say now, all these years and 100’s (or partial 100’s later), that I do see a lot of good in the 100. One thing I think it does is integrate the natural action of the front body muscles (Pilates-style contraction) and the back body muscles. As we move our arms from our backs and breathe out, we activate our latissimus dorsi and our diaphragms in conjunction with each other, naturally taking pressure off the neck muscles. The 100 is a breathing exercise that strengthens the diaphragm’s movement downward. As we exhale, the diaphragm pulses up towards our chins, as we inhale AND DO NOT EXPAND OUR BELLY, the diaphragm pushes down on our organs (massaging), “weight lifting” them and causing the breath to expand into our back lung area. When that happens, the back muscles stretch open allowing the back rib cage to open, an action we don’t often do when we are hanging out in our daily life. Mostly we breathe in our front body, fairly shallowly. The leg positioning of the exercise challenges the lowest core muscles, pelvic floor, and low back.
So how’s it going on day 8? Well, right now in the early evening, I have done 600 so far. Yesterday I thought that maybe I was going to peter out pretty quickly in this challenge. I could really feel my abdominal muscles, not when I was walking around, but as I go into the exercise. They seem a bit weary. Also, my neck muscles (I have a long neck) have been challenged in a way that just 100 never seemed to do. Today I did the first 300 in bed before I got up. I discovered that varying the position seems to help both my neck muscles and my hip flexors. If I do the first hundred in full position, the other two hundred adding in leg circles, my hip flexors do not seize up. The first couple of days I felt constriction in my hip flexors and had to take my legs into a bent knee position, but I had no gripping problems with this method.
Today my neck muscle fatigue was relieved with help of my three dogs who, when I started to exercise lying down in bed, thought this was a good time to 1) stand on my belly 2) stand under my patting hands 3) and lick my face and ears thus causing me to continuously alter my head position and my arm positions and thoroughly distract me from any issues in the neck. Good doggies. Two hundred more to go today.