Pilates, jogging, and yoga all have their place in keeping us physically fit enough so that we can, say, sweep the floor without getting a leg cramp. People are always looking for new things to add to our workout regime or, more honestly, to find something that not only works but is enjoyable. (Good luck with that, says my inner sloth.)
But recently, I had an epiphany: I possess the most effective new tool for staying in shape since the Fitbit.
It’s called the HEARING LOSS.
Genetics gave me a slim figure and I’ve managed to maintain it throughout my life, interrupted by a few pudgy periods, because of the constant body movements related to hearing loss. I’m not saying this works for everyone, and I’m definitely not saying you should make hearing loss a goal in order to drop a few pounds. But just as we should exercise to help deal with the stress caused by hearing loss, our hearing loss routine might help us be more fit.
- All of my life – ALL OF MY FREAKIN’ LIFE! – I’ve been the one that goes running when someone calls my name from across the room, another room completely or from a floor above or below me. I’ve given out the memo: “If you want us to speak, you come to me, because I don’t have a long distance plan.” So, if I hear my name, I know I should just sit tight and wait for the other person’s memory lightbulb to go on. But I have zero patience, so I usually just sprint to wherever the sound is coming from. This uses up more than a few calories, let me tell you.
- In my blog Recipes for the Cook with Hearing loss, I talk about how the deaf or hard of hearing cook should stay in the kitchen while cooking. Otherwise, we probably won’t hear the kitchen sounds that warn of burnt or overdone food. But – if you want to add some aerobics to your cooking – do leave the kitchen frequently to do something else, but then, go running back just as frequently to make sure everything is tickety-boo. Fabulous exercise, and the cats just love following me as I run around.
- Your hearing aid battery has conked out. Your CI sound processor gives a couple of chimes and then gives up the ghost. You reach into your bag, or whatever place you usually store these life-giving bits of metal, but there are none left, just an empty battery pack. Your heart rate rises as you run to all the other spots where you’ve squirreled them away like nuts. With every empty hiding spot, your heart beats faster until you’re in the equivalent of a sweaty spin class. Finally – the glove compartment of the car coughs up a package with one battery in it (or two if you’re a CI user) and you enter the cool down phase as you drive to the nearest drug store for backups.
- Most of us carry a lot of tension in our jaw and neck. This is especially true of people with hearing challenges. We’re constantly craning our neck this way and that in order to hear better, to get closer to the speaker’s words, or to follow the conversation in a group. The sheer stress of trying to understand fast talkers, mumblers and people with cement lips, causes our neck muscles to knot up like sailor’s rope. So, may I suggest that when you turn your head this way or that, hold the stretch for about 30 seconds, as recommended by Fitness Magazine. Facial-neck-shoulder stretches and exercises are said to reduce face-sagging and prevent wrinkling. That advice comes a bit too late for some of us, but I know firsthand that stretching these muscles can be calming, prevent headaches and work out nasty muscle knots. Here’s an easy one to get you started – smile more! Big grins – often!
To summarize, if you have hearing loss, exercise can reduce stretch. So, if you have hearing loss: insist that your friends and family call you from another room, cook dinner on the run, scatter your spare batteries around your home, and wear an idiot smile on your face!