As a yoga teacher, personal fitness trainer and someone who is tiptoeing through the decades and looking to stay healthy and vibrant and jumping and joying, there are ironies that poke at me. I think they are worth a look because how we live each day (especially the 23 hours a day we live OFF the mat) has a dramatic impact on the trajectory of our lives.
Let’s talk about the relatively new Comfort Toilet. It’s higher than your normal toilet. And more expensive. It is designed to make it easier to sit down to go to the bathroom, since you don’t have to sit down so far. I almost bought one because my plumbing contractor assured me they were all the rage and it would increase resale value of my home.
And then the irony smothered me. Although I'm super grateful that items like this exist for people who actually need them, I'm not one of them. As I age, I'm going to need
ways to increase my strength and mobility. Not fewer. If I make my life so easy as I get older that my muscles never have to work or stretch they will atrophy and stiffen.
will atrophy and stiffen. And feel like hell. So no. I don't need a damn Comfort Toilet.
Here are some related and very random things I'm chewing on lately regarding my own life and some of the people I love. Maybe you can make some sense of it:
- Is this what we need as we age? Things to be easier and easier? Homes without stairs, less maintenance, more remote controls, fewer things that require us to move or exert effort? Yuck.
- Squatting down on the toilet not only promotes quad/glute strength and mobility, it also promotes ease of...'digestion'. Google it.
- Although there are several reasons the SUV market is booming, one of the top reasons cited is that they are easier to get in and out of than a car - which forces you to squat down a bit to get in, and activate your quads/glutes to get out. Cars are looking sexier to me all of the time. And bikes and running shoes the sexiest of all.
- Yes, I think we (including me) should be doing more yoga and intentional fitness activities to keep our bodies strong. But it is interesting to note that in the Blue Zones of the world - the places where more people live to 100+ in a thriving and magnificent way - the number one factor affecting their longevity and health is that they live in environments that challenge their strength and mobility throughout each day. They sit on the floor when eating/socializing, walk long distances and many squat down to go to the bathroom. The most important piece of advice from the researchers of the Blue Zones? "Move naturally. The world’s longest-lived people live in environments that constantly nudge them into moving without thinking about it. They grow gardens and don’t have mechanical conveniences for house and yard work." Amen.
- I have nothing against comfortable toilets. They just made a fun/funny example of a concerning trend.
The Catch 22
We have been taught or told or sold that we need to make ease and comfort a priority as we get older. As a result, we take actions that ensure we will age faster and give up our mobility and freedom faster.
I think I'm going to nudge myself in a different direction. I'm always curious and excited to hear your thoughts.
Kathleen is the owner of The Studio and teaches Flow at 5:15pm on Tuesdays and Meditation at 7:45am on Saturdays.
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P.S. (If you are dealing with an injury or other health issues, please know this is not aimed at you. I love that there are methods to allow people to stay in their homes longer. This message is meant for the rest of us.)