Thursday, April 14, 2016

Thursday Reading Report: Studies

As I mentioned last week, I am a little behind in my reading.  I did follow up on a couple of studies I heard about while I was at my Pilates training, however.

The first one, written by David Bissell of the Australian National University, is called “Understanding the impacts of commuting:  Research report for stakeholders.”  I think we all know that commuting causes stress, both mental and physical.  Reducing that stress requires many stakeholders to make changes.  Building appropriate transit options, due to the complex nature of the projects, presents challenges in that projects often take longer than political terms to finish.  Technology can both increase and decrease commuting stress.  Apps, movies, chats, and games can turn some commutes into much-needed recreational time, or continuous connection may mean that work is never done.  The small nugget that seemed most useful on a personal level was that people who found ways to make commuting into something positive by using the time to connect with friends and family or to decompress from work had better outcomes.  This is easier said than done.  Good luck!

The second one, written by Siobhan Schabrun, Edith Elgueta-Cancino, and Paul Hodges of the University of Western Sydney, is called “Smudging of the motor cortex is related to the severity of low back pain.”  I admit that the word “smudging” was what caught my attention.  There was a lot in the article about the technique used in the study, which is good and important for those who want to study more.  What interested me was that pain-free people tend to show activity in multiple places in the cortex while pain sufferers tend to have a single “peak” of activity.  In short, when there is an injury, the motor cortex fires everything at once.  Corrective exercise, then, needs to focus on retraining the body to isolate the muscles, allowing for more specific motor control, before reintegrating the muscles into smooth and efficient movement.

The take-away:  mindfulness is good for us.  It will help us reduce our stress and it will help us attain pain-free motion.

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