An Anti-Aging Habit

toilet 4There are a number of things you probably do on a regular basis that, whether you know it or not, are aging you faster. Habits that are making you old before your time. Some of them are easier to notice than others. Some may surprise you. I want to touch on one that involves a rather delicate subject: the toilet.    

How do you use the toilet? Pay attention the next time you sit down on one. No, I don’t mean to look into the bowl, although that can be useful for tracking your health. I’m talking about noticing the way you sit down on the toilet seat and the way you get back up from it.

I was using the guest bathroom at a friend’s house when I suddenly realized I was having difficulty getting up from the toilet. Without realizing it, I had gotten into the habit of holding onto something as I sat down, and holding onto something to pull myself back up. In my friend’s bathroom, there was nothing close enough to hold onto. That was a wake-up call.

By using my hands to support myself as I sat and got up from the toilet, I had been doing myself a disservice. I was allowing the muscles in my thighs and core to weaken until I was unable to sit or rise without grabbing hold of something. That habit could lead to further dependence. It was also happening when I got up from the couch or sat in my office chair. By constantly using my hands to lower myself down and push myself back up, I’d become unable to sit down or stand up on my own.

Once I realized what was happening, I started practicing squatting to sit without using my hands. Then getting up the same way. It was awkward at first, but I persisted. It took real effort and sometimes I had to rock back and forth for momentum. But after a week or two, I found it easy to sit on the toilet and get back up without holding onto anything. (Look Ma, no hands!) And soon I noticed the strength coming back to my thighs and core.

Something as simple as paying attention to how you sit on the toilet (or anywhere else) can help you maintain muscle strength. Sitting with no hands is a simple habit to adopt so you can avoid premature weakness. It’s a terrific anti-aging habit worth developing—hands down!

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