The changing of our brain …
One of the most important changes in the last 14 years or so is the field of neuroplasticity.
Years ago, when our kids were little, I recall speaking with my cousin who has a degree in psychology. We spoke about the development of children and she told me how important it was to interact with them, stimulate them, provide them with challenges. The reason being, that “scientists once thought that the brain stopped developing after the first few years of life.“
Since then, we’ve come to understand this isn’t true of the brain. Research shows our brain is capable of learning, adapting and changing throughout our life.
The changing of our body …
Our white blood cells die after 3-4 days, red blood cells after about 120 days, the dermis of our skin renews every 2-4 weeks. Research shows that changes in the relative level of physical stress cause a predictable adaptive response in all biological tissue. In other words, changes take place and what’s exciting to me is how we can take measures to influence what happens in our body.
I’ve also learned it seems we may have been ‘wrong about stretching‘, insofar as to say we’re not really stretching or lengthening muscles. At least not as much as we once believed. Rather, we’re changing our response to a stimulus via the nervous system.
The changing of our nervous system …
Our brain is naturally going to respond in a protective manner to anything it perceives as dangerous. We’ll talk about this more with regards to both our psychological health and immune system in upcoming posts. But for now as one example, let’s say that if we are trying to re-train flexibility in the body and do so with strong, forceful pressure or stimulus … the brain/body will react by saying … stop! No! Don’t go there. It will send a (pain) signal to safeguard our movement.
However, if we move in small incremental ways within a safe and pain-free range of motion, the nervous system will react by saying … this feels okay. Safe. I’m happy to explore this.
This is a somewhat simplified way to explain all that’s going on, but it’s a starting point we can work from.
The more I learn about the body the more I am awestruck by its miraculousness (is that a word?).
By learning to pay attention, moving in a way that allows your nervous system to adapt and create new patterns while it feels safe, you will make progress.
Change. Big Change. Lasting Change.