Exercise Your Freedom(s): April 2014
Dear Practice Friends,
With this a mid-term election year, “freedom” is a term that gets bandied about with zeal. Freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom of speech are all well known to us. Anyone who has ever struggled to gain these freedoms, or maintain these freedoms or defend these freedoms can tell you, it takes courage, sacrifice, and practice. Here are a few you may not have heard of, but which also impact your life every day:
- The freedom to touch your toes
- The freedom to let go of a negative thought that is making you unhappy
- The freedom to say no to a second helping of ice cream
These examples represent three important freedoms that we work with at the studio:
- freedom of movement
- cognitive and emotional freedom
- nutritional freedom
Like speech, the press and religion, these freedoms are not absolute; rather they are constrained by various factors (social, cultural, psychological, physical) and the degree to which we experience more or less of a particular freedom can change over time.
Unlike speech, the press, and religion, which are most easily associated with the collective (a country or society), movement, thought and nutrition are anchored in the experience of the individual, where the constraints to the degrees of freedom we experience are genetic, environmental, and behavioral, with arguably the largest factor being our habits, those things we have repeated so often that they become largely unconscious and therefore automatic. These habits can serve to increase or decrease the degree of freedom (and a corresponding measure of self-control) we experience in our movement, our thinking and feeling, and our food choices.
Think of a vinyl record on a record player that gets stuck, singing the same line over and over again. Sometimes the needle spontaneously hops out of the groove and continues on with the rest of the song. But if we let the diamond-tipped needle continue to circle within the same groove, the needle would eventually dig a trench in that spot, making the likelihood of its escape increasingly less likely. Our minds are a bit like this. The more we repeat a particular choice or action, the easier it is choose that path again, and the harder it is to choose something else.
Let’s say you walk into a bakery and they have a hundred different treats for you to choose from. You pick a chocolate chip cookie and it tastes great. Over the next year you visit the bakery say once a week, initially trying different baked goods, but eventually find yourself choosing the chocolate chip cookie more often than not. With more time and repetition, you identify yourself as a chocolate chip cookie lover and without thinking it becomes your de facto choice for a treat whether at the grocery store or a restaurant.
During that time, the degree of creativity you have, experienced as freedom of choice for one thing over another, including the choice not to have anything, has diminished. Does it matter? Not as long as you continue to be happy with the choice you’ve made. But what happens when you find yourself face to face with your family physician, who tells you that, for your own health, you need to curtail your sweets? On that first day of trying to choose not to eat sweets, you suddenly find out just how high the walls of the trench you have been digging for years have become, and how much an effort will be required to not only push the needle over to a new groove but also prevent it from drifting back into the old one.
Does this mean we are stuck? Is there anything we can do? Yes, and if you are a client at the studio, then you are already taking action,because what you might call training, or working out, can also be viewed as a means for increasing the degrees of freedom in your life. In the next three newsletters I will go into more detail about each of the three freedoms, movement, thinking/feeling, and nutrition: what they are, how they impact the quality of your life and what you can do to increase them by degrees. Stay tuned!
Monthly Class Calendar and 2014 Rates
Welcome to Practice!
A warm welcome goes out to our newest member of the Practice community, who started with us in March:
We are thrilled to have you with us. Welcome aboard!
Upcoming Courses and Workshops
Sunday, May 18, 2014
- Pilates with Medicine Ball
- Athletic Conditioning on the Reformer, Level 3
- Matwork Flow Conditioning Sequence Workout
STOTT PILATES Injuries and Special Populations
June 12-15, 2014
Contact Patrick Przyborowski at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by cell phone at (937) 609-4170.
Research: Exercising for Healthier Eyes
From the NY Times, Phys Ed section, Gretchen Reynolds writes, “Research suggests that physical activity may protect eyesight as we age.”
Exercises to Strengthen Bones
Also from Gretchen Reynolds, this time in the “Ask Well” section of NYtimes.com:
“High-impact activities like sprinting and jumping are best at increasing bone density, studies say, but there are benefits from brisk walking and even whole-body vibration platforms.”
How a Warm up Routine Can Save Your Knees
A third article this month from Gretchen Reynolds in the NY Times:
“Changing how sports teams warm up before practices and games could substantially lower the risk that athletes get sidelined by a torn A.C.L.”
What’s good for athletes can be good for adult practitioner as well!
Research: Protein May Hold the Key for Who Gets Alzheimer’s
From Pam Belluck in the NY Times:
“The protein, which switches off at birth, reawakens in some older brains, protecting people from the memory and thinking problems of dementia, researchers say.”
Is Nutrient Timing Dead? And Does “When” You Eat Really Matter
Joy sent this article to me from Precision Nutrition that sheds new light on the idea of when are the best times of the day, especially pre and post exercise, for eating.