What we used to think was a good idea

The brain controls the body.
Neuroscience used to think the brain body connection was only one way, the brain communicated to the body. If you want to lift your arm, the brain fired neurons to your arm which then lifted. What science is now beginning to uncover is the other side of the conversation. The body speaking to the brain. While we might never come up with an accurate ratio, conversations at the 2018 Australian Meditation conference suggest up to 80% of communication is from body to brain.

Bodies have things to say, giving a little niggle here, an unusual sensation there and sometimes a big jolt. The problem is we don't listen to these messengers. With the growing surge of interest in meditation practices, we are slowly learning how to observe this side of the conversation. One of the benefits of tuning in regularly to body conversation is being able to mitigate niggles, issues, injuries while they are still small and manageable, before becoming a raging headache or debilitating injury.

Bodies also talk about the trauma we collect. Bodywork practices like yoga that challenge the body in strange and unfamiliar ways, identify trauma and can cause an immediate and strong emotional reaction.  A flood of tears in a hip opening sequence might seem to come from nowhere until you think of what the body might be holding onto, protecting and trying to communicate.

No pain, no gain.
Thank you 80's. You desensitised us to individual needs, different body types and the importance of understanding our own biology as well as sticking up for it. The "no pain no gain" motto was rife through gyms and aerobic classes, yelled by Jane Fonda and her swag of followers. It was never based on science. As soon as people had been "no paining no gaining" for any length of time, injuries started to show up. Bodies began to fall apart. Arthritis crept in.

The industry of exercise science, based on science, educates us about training intervals, variation and overload principles, specificity, progression, reversibility and diminished returns. It informs us how and why to build recovery into training programs. It's built on longevity alongside safety.

Rest is best while undergoing treatment for cancer.
Up until last month the advice to cancer patients had always been to rest and avoid any activity. Research has recently come out  about the merits of prescribing exercise the whole way through cancer treatment. The research found exercise:

  • helps to counter the adverse effects of traditional cancer treatments (fatigue, nausea, depression, mental fogginess, DVT/blood clots, constipation)
  • can build patient strength and stamina to withstand more chemo and radiation therapy

And these great ideas...

  • Diet soft drink! The perfect answer to a great calorie free, chemical laden drink.
  • Asbestos - cheap and effective. What could go wrong?
  • The magic weight loss machine called smoking.
  • Frued's magic song of praise for cocaine, a wonderful antidote for depression and anxiety.

Given our track record of getting it collectively wrong, is there a possibility that we're also wrong about some of the things we currently think are a good idea.

  • Working longer and longer hours as a sign of productivity
  • Busy as a badge of awesomeness
  • Connecting via social media is still connecting