Age ain’t nothin’ but a number … until you reach a certain number, anyway, and all of a sudden your body just doesn’t, well … feel the same. Or work out the same, for that matter.
In case that’s you — and, hey, it’s us too as we stare down 40 — we reached out to Leslee Bender, creator of the I Am Ageless Now workout program and book, for her favorite moves that help her to feel great and — you guessed it — ageless.
While they may not make you look like you’re 20 again, they may help you feel that way. Which is absolutely what we’re looking for! (And, really, who wants to go back to the insecurity of their 20s? Not us!)
5 Moves for Feeling Great and Staying ‘Ageless’ by Leslee Bender
Ageless is not about aesthetics. Whether you’re in your 30s or your 80s, you may have imposed limitations on yourself based on your current age. Maybe you focus more on how you look and not so much on how you feel.
But here’s the thing: You’ve been given the greatest present in the world, and it is YOU. What really counts is how you live your life, and how you treat yourself and others.
And these five moves — some of my faves! — will help you to feel GREAT. All you need is a tennis ball and a chair!
A tennis ball is perfect to massage away pain and stress in your body. If you have time to brush your teeth, you have time to massage your feet and other critical parts of your body. You can do these simple I Am Ageless Now movements in the morning or in the evening. Not only can these movements energize you for the day, they can also release muscle tension before a workout or even calm you before you go to bed at night.
This method keeps your fascia hydrated and healthy. You will want to perform the movements on both sides of your body. These movements are so simple, but crucial to keeping your joints supple and healthy. And you can do all of them in just 10 minutes total a day. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout your day, too!
1. Begin with a tennis ball under your toes with your heel on the ground. Add compression by pressing your foot down lightly and flex (curl) and extend your toes ten times. You can also compress in between each toe by moving the tennis ball across the foot. Moving the ball in between each joint and bone of the toes and adding compression creates mobility and stability of the foot. The purpose is to stimulate and free up the fascia of the feet, especially for people who stand all day (and for women wearing high-heeled shoes). Taking deep breaths will also help you if you have sensitive feet. Note: Massaging the feet is not advised for women who are pregnant.
2. Begin by placing the ball under the arch and slowly roll from heel to toe (flossing the foot). This would be considered massaging the foot. This movement is great relief for plantar fasciitis as it allows the foot to be more flexible. Rub the ball from heel to toe ten times. For more intensity, lean forward and add a little body weight.
3. Begin seated, placing the ball underneath the middle of the calf, and hinge forward until you feel pressure on the calf. Flex and extend the ankle. This helps to stimulate the fascia of the calves and make them more responsive and less prone to injury. For a variation, cross your other leg over. You can also rock the calf side to side while holding light compression on the leg over the tennis ball.
4. Place the ball underneath the glute. Hands can be to the side, and slowly let the knees fall to the same side where you’ve placed the tennis ball. This is a great movement for anyone who sits for long periods of time and experiences hip pain related to piriformis and/or sciatica as the glutes become very dehydrated and stiff.
5. Sit in a chair with a firm back support. Place the ball below the shoulder blade and gently lean into it. You can also rock side to side, which offers a nice shoulder massage. This is a great exercise for desk jockeys or anyone who plays rotational sports like tennis.
The time is now to be resilient, positive, active, mindful, happy — or what I like to call ageless. Start wherever you are, and get up and move. If you don’t see yourself as an active person, change your thoughts about that.
Everyone can choose to be ageless. Don’t let life drive you. You’re in the driver’s seat, so take control now! –Leslee Bender