Content and Context

“Is stretching a good thing or not? Before or after working out? Both?”

“What about barefoot running? Crossfit? Ballet?”

“Paleo? Vegan? The Bacon Cleanse?”

Okay, I just made that last one up (but maybe someone’s done it! anyone?) … but the point remains: what to do to answer all of these questions about how to best move, rest and eat to stay healthy in these fleeting bodies?

One shift that’s been super helpful for me, both personally and as someone in the health care field: take a step back from content to focus on context.

We can touch, see, feel, smell and taste content. Context, on the other hand, is more like a verb … just as real, but intangible.

Another way of saying this: let’s follow up and question of “are these things helpful?” with “… for who?”

Let’s say we have two people with foot pain, and they’ve both heard barefoot running has really helped their friend overcome similar pain. For one of them, with flat feet, a quick transition into running barefoot is likely going to produce a very different experience than the same transition done by someone with similar pain symptoms but a very high arch (and short deep calf tissues).

For one, a full transition can feel like the perfect medicine; for another, it’s maybe medicine in small doses but poison, and pain, in too long a duration. For someone else, barefoot running might not be in their future for a long, long time, if ever.

The Golden Rule: transition slowly and mindfully. Seriously. Change someone gently, and listen for the feedback.

And if you think that sounds like old man advice … I’ll see you in my clinic 😉

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