Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wellness: The Mental Game

In today's #BWG: how your brain's protection system can inhibit your progress; a guide to catnaps; and a prayer for those returning to school today. May it bless you.

Be well,


Bret Contreras calls himself "The Glute Guy", But in this piece on the role of your nervous system in protecting you from injury, he explores how your mind can also limit your performance, unless you work in harmony with it. Here's his conclusion, comparing your brain to an over-protective mother sitting next to you in a sweet Italian sports car.

So how do you convince mom to let you drive the Ferrari faster? Several obvious strategies spring to mind. You show her that you are a safe driver by avoiding accidents (and close calls.) You keep the car in good condition. You establish a record of many safe trips at slow speed before progressively increasing your pace. You show her that you know the roads, and have skills in use of the brake and steering wheel. Maybe you even pretend there’s an emergency (pro tip: this doesn’t work every time.) 
Similar strategies would apply in a program to achieve maximum strength, flexibility or endurance. You stay pain-free and healthy. You use a plan of graded exposure and progressive overload to manage training stress. You work on your technique to ensure your movements are controlled, stabilized, pain-free and related to a useful function. And you respect the role of the nervous system in being the ultimate governor on your performance.


I'll admit it. I'm a napper. The people who know me well know that if they're calling me in the late afternoon, they need to start by asking, "Did I wake you?" or else I might not remember the conversation. Since my cancer, I need a lot more sleep, and napping helps me to stay strong and alert for the things I need to do. But naps aren't just for babies, the sick, and the elderly. A lot of people can benefit from a little doze during the day: In Napping Dos and Don'ts for Healthy Adults, the Mayo Clinic has a great guide on the who, why, and how for effective napping.


Today is the first day of school for most kids and teachers in Lexington. Here's a blessing from the Episcopalian Book of Common Prayer to remember them.
O Eternal God, bless all schools, colleges, and universities, that they may be lively centers for sound learning, new discovery, and the pursuit of wisdom; and grant that those who teach and those who learn may find you to be the source of all truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord.   Amen.