Recently I ran into a casual acquaintance whom I hadn’t seen in a while.
“Hey D, you lose some weight?”
“Yeah, the doctor told me I was starting to have blood pressure problems, so I decided to do something about it before I needed meds.”
“Awesome, you’re looking good.”
“Thanks. I just wish I hadn’t pulled a groin muscle.”
“Dude, you need to do yoga.”
“Yoga? Why? I do karate and tai chi.”
Sigh. This is one of the banes of my existence. Men. Manly men. Men of a certain age. Men who hate yoga because it’s not a tough enough exercise for manly men. Like men who do karate.
Yannow, I did karate too. Years of it. Along with a bunch of other things that will tear up your groin muscles. One problem with too many of our sports is that while they use our muscles, but don’t train our muscles. Which is why you need something outside of your sport to ensure you don’t get hurt playing your sport.
Enter core training.
I don’t care what you do. I don’t care what you call it. But I care that you do it. Find a core training program you like and add it to your routine. Because it’s about more than sports, it’s about living your best life.
I’ve written about playing hockey, and how a regular yoga practice cured me of the plague of pulled groin muscles afflicting middle aged beer league hockey payers (not a typo). I’ve written about how a regular yoga practice helped me become a better Daddy. But I haven’t written about how the core training aspect of it has affected me, not as Daddy, but as protector.
Six years ago I was at the bottom of the stairs and the oddest thing happened; without conscious thought I launched myself up those stairs, full tilt. Why? My middle child (then 2 years old) had slipped and was falling down the staircase.
Fortunately for him I have very good reflexes, and I exploded up those stairs so hard, so fast, that I caught him before he fell four steps. He was scared but unhurt. Unfortunately, Old Daddy could not say the same. I suffered one of the most severe hamstring pulls of my life, one that took months to completely rehab.
I have three active, rambunctious, busy sons and there have been several occasions down the years when those reflexes and my ability to move fast have saved them from serious harm. Yet, that time catching Mr. D on the stairs is the only time I’ve been injured.
I didn’t choose core training to help me catch my kids falling down the stairs, or any of the other odd things I’ve had to do to help them, I started it completely by accident. My wife and I were studying in Beijing, and there was a yoga/Pilates gym a 20 minute walk from our apartment. I tried them both, fell in love with them and added them to my workout routines.
Everything else, all the side benefits, came because I simply like to sweat, and in Bikram Yoga and Inferno Hot Pilates, you sweat. But those side benefits (and there have been many) have included being able to get to my boys, quickly, when they are in need. So, manly men, is that a good enough reason to do yoga?
Okay, circle back to my acquaintance too manly to do yoga. I mean, he does karate, right? Well, there’s this guy, maybe you’ve heard of him, Connor MacGregor. He does a little martial arts, right? He once said, “I do yoga every day.”
But, nah, what does that guy know?