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October 28, 2019

"You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

Though we don’t always intentionally do scary things, to move forward in life sometimes, we just do. Through progressions and confidence ladders gymnasts and circus performers learn skills and come to do really physically scary things. They also have techniques and approaches to help them work through fears and blocks.  I’ve started using some of the techniques that I used to use to overcome physical barriers to help me become braver in everyday life. Here are my favourites:

I am a great fan of mentally practicing the movement/ situation. This is  safe place to work through all possible scenarios while at the same time  activating the motor cortex in the brain and creating new neural paths for this mo...

October 2, 2019

Four big factors linked to good rehabilitation outcomes are motivation; an ability to engage with your rehab. Locus of control; feeling as if you have control over your healing. Self efficacy; the knowledge that you are a competent and capable person despite your limitations. And, self esteem; still having a high sense of self worth despite your injury.

This blog gives you eight mindset approaches to help boost each of these areas while you heal. If they are good enough for professional athletes and top business people then they are good enough for us. 

The first area is Motivation. Your rehab is essential your recovery and the more motivated you are the better your outcomes will be. Here are two tips to get you actively participating in your recovery

MOTION 

Famous pain scientists David Butler and Lorimer Mosely say: “motion is lotion” 

Sit and notice how you are feeling. Now, (modifying your movement to accommodate your injury) - curl forward, arch back, bend from side to side and twist i...

September 1, 2019

Oh motivation you fickle little bitch. Motivation is a fairy-tale nymph - she dances in while we’re feeling emotionally vulnerable in Dick’s Sporting Goods and encourages us to purchase expensive healthy living equipment thinking: “This time will be different.” She buzzes around our heads while we’re committing to expensive yoga class packages but conveniently pulls an abrupt dip out when we’re silencing alarm clocks ten minutes before class.

                                         - Jessamyn Stanley

Jessamyn Stanley has it so right. Motivation is not a good friend when starting back into an exercise routine. Motivation doesn’t even feature when we first start back. The meeting with an actual friend, the feeling that comes after exercise and the knowledge that we are doing good things for our health are our first spring-boards into starting up again. And, as summer winds down and the rout...

July 13, 2019

It’s summer time! Hooray. Longer and warmer days mean people are naturally more active and have more energy to move. This is great and this makes sense.

Athletes periodise their training which means they follow a yearly plan to ramp up and ramp down their training in order to be in the best condition at a target time. Our weather helps us do this in a slightly more intuitive way. Where a a basic macrocycle involves six steps we too can break up the year into phases.

According to Stacy Sims and Hannah Grant in their book Eat Race Win! In winter we put on up to 5kg, our total cholesterol rises by an average of 4% and a clever melatonin- hypothalamus interaction serves to make us feel hungrier, crave nutrient dense food increase our fat storage enzyme activity, and speed up our resting metabolic rate. 

Simply put - we eat more and move less to preserve our energy for keeping us warm and to fight infection. From a movement perspective this time of year could be thought of as a preparation pha...

June 13, 2019

gotta get a bit fit

got myself a fitbit

first I felt a dipstick

but now I don’t so much

proved to be a big hit

I’m virtually olympic

postin’ up my fit pics

on Twitter and Facebook

playin’ sunday cricket

sittin’ at a picnic

starin’ at a triptych

it tracks me night and day

guess I must admit it

don’t think I can quit it

some call me addicted,

well, I think that’s what they say.

Brian Bilston

The problem that I have with fitness trackers is that they are outsourcing our intuition. Children move because they are driven to move. They walk along walls, spin around lamp posts and race just for the fun of it. As adults we let go of what we want to do and instead do what we should. We have stopped paying attention and are no longer connected to our bodies. We go to bootcamp and let people shout at us. We exercise to punish ourselves and even pay to have someone else punish us. We do workouts that a social media star has developed because we want to look just like her (even though she is childless and 20 somethi...

May 7, 2019

Congratulations. You just did an incredible thing. You gave birth to a human. Well done you! Right now you might be a little caught up in healing and bonding with your new family member but there may be a point in the future when you need a head’s up: This next year is going to be quite a ride for you in terms of body and identity change. Here are some tips that I would have appreciated when I was in the trenches of new motherhood.

Ambivalence is Normal 

If this is your first baby you may, like Alexandra Sacks think that 

“motherhood would make me feel whole and happy. I thought my instincts would naturally tell me what to do. I thought I'd always want to put the baby first." And, if this isn’t what actually happens you might be feeling a bit like a rubbish parent. I did. Sacks uses the term matrescence to explain this phase in our life. It is a term coined in 1973 by Dana Raphael, and like adolescence, matrescence is a time when our body is morphing, our hormones are shifting and we are...

April 23, 2019

Lovely people, I’m working on a thing. And I need Beta readers to take a look and give me some feedback. I’d love your comments and emails with advice on what works and what doesn’t. I am hoping to create a deck of motivational cards for stroke survivors. I have drawn ideas from pain science, mind body movement approaches, motivational speakers and sports psychologists. The fifty two cards have four themes: nudging comfort zones, getting moving, boosting self esteem and tuning in. My Uncle Clyde Alder is a designer and he is working on cool fonts and the visual side of the project. 

This version may be liberally sprinkled with typos - enjoy them they will be gone by the time they reach hard copy. Thanks so much.

                                                              Piece of Mind Cards

If you feel that you were dealt a bad hand or that the...

March 28, 2019

Children show scars like medals. Lovers use them as secrets to reveal. A scar is what happens when the word is made flesh.
"The Favorite Game” Leonard Cohen

I have lots of scars, they tell stories of childhood fights and falls; of teenage cooking experiments; of two slightly difficult births. My scars are testament to the healing power within my own body. I have also had broken bones and sprains. Though you can’t see ligaments re-weaving their fibres or a bone knitting, through experience of past healing we have lived this regeneration of tissues and cells. While we are healing our body protects us by triggering its danger detectors. We feel this alarm system as pain but it is more than this. Angina is a chest pain that also triggers the growth of new arteries. This shows us that pain protects and helps us repair at the same time. Pain turns itself off when it is no longer needed. Think of the last time you cut yourself, it stopped hurting after a day or two even though it wasn’t fully...

February 28, 2019

Sitting in the boardroom

The I'm-so-bored room

Listening to the suits

Talk about their world

They can make straight lines

Out of almost anything

Except for the line

Of my upper lip when it curls

Dressed in my best greasy skin

And squinty eyes

I'm the only part of summer here

That made it inside

In the air-conditioned building

Decorated with corporate flair

I wonder

Can these boys smell me bleeding

Though my underwear

 This is my third blog post that quotes Ani DiFranco. She is so cool, I never get sick of her. This is my fourth blog post about periods too. I realise now that I need a quick (ish) list-style post for the young women in my girl guides troop who believe that period pain is an unavoidable fact of life. It isn’t. So here it is - 8 things that help make your period lighter, shorter and more comfortable.

1. Magnesium and Omega Threes for Cramps and GI discomfort

If your body makes more prostaglandins than it needs then there is an overflow effect to nearby organs and the smooth muscles of the bo...

February 7, 2019

Under our skin like a (very stylish) catsuit is a layer of connective tissue called fascia, it is designed in a criss cross/grid like fashion and can stretch or compress to transfer force throughout the body. This superficial fascia (also called areolar tissue) moves freely over our bones and muscles. My son demonstrates the idea below with this finger trap toy. 

The fascia at our feet and hands is deep fascia which is inelastic, strong and almost entirely made up of collagen (called an aponeurosis). The skin is attached to this fascia so as not to slide right off our fingers and toes  -I’m sure there’s a more scientific way to explain this but stay with me. 

When fascia gets dehydrated, under or over stretched it gets weak. The role of the arch in the foot is to spread when load is applied (when we step onto the foot) and then lift. This transfers energy to muscles, ligaments, tendons and fascia. When the foot is unable to do this -perhaps because of the stylish pointy shoes you mi...

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