In search of my missing behind
Of all the body-changing indignities I’ve had to adjust to as I’ve got older (lower arm fat that has flapping life of its own, feet that are rapidly turning into claws, I could go on..), the latest is one that has crept up on me from behind. Literally.
For quite some time now, I’ve been finding that my trousers keep slipping down towards my hips and I’ve been unintentionally and horrifyingly close to mimicking that inexplicable trouser-wearing trend amongst young men (hark at me sounding all Mrs Hyacinth Bouquet), namely wearing the aforementioned garment clinging to your butt cheeks with acres of your pants showing above them. I’m all for every generation making their own fashion statements and choices, but what IS that about?
Anyhoo. In past, younger, years, I would have taken my sinking trousers as a sign that I’d lost weight and be really rather chuffed. Not now.
Because it turns out that the reason my trousers keep heading south is that, not to put too fine a point on it, that’s exactly what my bottom has done. So there’s literally nothing for them to cling to (or round).
I’ve never given much thought to the fact that I’ve never had much of a bum. And I rarely bother to have a look in a full length mirror at how I look from behind. A fleeting twirl occasionally when I’m trying on something new is about the sum total of the attention I’ve paid to my rear view. So it’s come as something of a surprise and shock to discover that the little I had, has now almost entirely disappeared and I’m almost entirely countour-less from the base of my back to the top of my thighs.
A bit of light research confirms that buttocks get their lift and shape from the gluteus maximus muscle, so as you lose 5% of muscle mass every 10 years after the age of 35, that’s one of the things that affects the shape and pertness of your bottom. And that applies equally to you men too.
Another gender neutral factor is simple gravity which kindly gives our bums a helping downward hand as the years progress. And then there’s our skin, which loses its support and youthful firmness as the collagen and elastin in it break down.
For women there’s the added bonus of being genetically prone to storing more fat in our hips and buttocks than men, which atrophies after the menopause as our oestrogen levels decline.
Really, it’s a miracle all our bums aren’t all taking up residence somewhere just above our knees.
There is some good news though, because all this distressing drooping isn’t irreversible (or, hearteningly, if this hasn’t happened to you yet, inevitable). But like all things worth having, you have to work for the solution. And the work you have to do is…..yes, you’ve guessed it, exercise.
There are a number of exercises which, done regularly (for which read three times a week at least) will either build up the diminishing muscles in and around your rear, or prevent them from going awol like mine apparently have. Have a look here to see what they are.
Other de-drooping tips include not sitting too much or for too long, (and when you do get up, squeeze your buttocks and do a couple of slow squats) and getting into the habit of contracting your gluteal muscles from time to time whenever you’re standing - at the bus stop, doing the ironing, for example.
Of course, if that all seems like too much effort, you could always invest in one of these. Which I should immediately caveat by saying is literally the worst piece of underwear I’ve EVER seen.
I’m off to do some squats. And buy a belt.
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