Yesterday, while I was browsing Facebook, I happened to click on a link that advertised the 30 best premium WordPress themes. Curious, I started to browse through the list, and I came upon one that I was curious about: “spartan,” which has a nice internet-mag style layout.
As I looked at the live preview—nothing fancy; just catchy headlines, stock images and lipsum text—I scrolled down and saw that one of the example articles had a headline that read: “Don’t forget to stretch after your workout!”
Continue reading An internet encounter with static stretching.
Static stretching is one of the most entrenched exercise habits in the western hemisphere, especially for runners. It doesn’t do any favors to our running economy, our injury rates, our long-term development of power—and yet it endures.
You would think this means that we have an unabashed cultural acceptance of stretching, but that isn’t so. No matter how positively we speak of stretching, or how much we proselytize its benefits, the language that we use to describe it (and its effects) continue to carry hints that it isn’t—and will never be—a real solution.
Continue reading The language of “static stretching:” How to identify systemic archetypes using linguistic clues.
The human body is an economic system. If only we treated it that way. The ways in which the magazines and the latest trends compel us to go about exercise and physical development just don’t observe this reality.
Because the body functions like an economy, the surest way to achieve any goal is creating the conditions for growth in that direction. This is why I speak in terms of liquid assets: assets which can be sold very quickly and without losing market value in the process. Increasing the liquidity of our body’s relevant nutrients—fats and carbohydrates, to name two—is the very first step towards entering a cycle of investment to drive the body’s economy in the direction we want—even when “growth” corresponds to growing in the direction of a lower body mass.
Even when we’re talking about running for the sole purpose of being skinny, constraining calories just won’t cut it. By forcing the body to implement austerity measures (through dieting), we destroy its ability to grow in any direction. Even though we’ll achieve skinniness in the short-term, doing so will compromise the body’s ability to maintain it. In systems-speak, this is a classic example of Shifting the Burden.
Continue reading Increasing the body’s percentage of liquid assets is how we accelerate athletic development.
Systems thinking is more than a theory or a scientific trend. Systems thinking is an idea, an understanding that reality organizes itself into systems. All the tiny different parts of reality—regardless of whether you cut up the pie into atoms, physical forces, or currents of social change—are interconnected to one another. They all interact in chaotic, highly unpredictable ways.
Systems thinking was designed to try to explain, model, and predict how “stuff” that seems to be completely unrelated from other “stuff”—like externalities—interact to create highly complex behavior: creating a system. Strictly speaking, a system isn’t built out of parts; it’s built out of interactions. It’s possible to have a collection of parts, but as long as they’re not interacting with each other in some particular way—as long as they don’t form part of a structure (a dynamic structure in this case)—they aren’t a system.
Therefore, systems thinking allows us to model how different “chunks” of reality interact.
Continue reading Society, running, and biomechanics: A systemic exploration (and a hint of future topics).