This is my process for healing my ankle. This is my process for healing my ankle.This is my process for healing my ankle. This is my process for healing my ankle. This is my process for healing my ankle. This is my process for healing my ankle. This is my process for healing my ankle. This is my process for healing my ankle.This is my process for healing my ankle.
Freakonomics Radio asks: The human foot is an evolutionary masterpiece, far more functional than we give it credit for. So why do we encase it in “a coffin” (as one foot scholar calls it) that stymies so much of its ability — and may create more problems than it solves?
A lil sumpin sumpin to get you thinking.
Here’s a problem most people run into trying to learn a new language:
They want to be able to communicate with ease: both understand what they hear and express what they think.
But they aren’t often around people who speak that language.
How does someone get the conversation experience that they need?
I’ll offer a few tips I used to learn French, Portuguese and Spanish.
Traveling Isn’t Always Necessary
It is really nice to be totally immersed in Kreyol Ayisyen or Español Cubano when you’re trying to get regular practice.
But speaking Portuguese in Salvador is not the only way to learn and practice your conversational skills.
Fortunately, the internet makes it really easy for us to dive in
Opportunities are everywhere if you use online resources and think a little bit creatively.
How To Get the Experience
Let's consider other methods other than online courses. Here's how to get that experience speaking and listening.
Watch Videos Online:
I make a playlist of movies and tv shows in my language of choice on Netflix, Hulu or YouTube.
I set the subtitles to that language, my native language or turn them off.
While this is great for my listening comprehension skills, I repeat words, phrases and sentences that I hear, so I’m practicing my pronunciation as well.
Plenty of people all over the world say they learned English this way, so this is my go-to method. With enough movies, I get a good grasp of the language with the help of context clues. Plus I get to feel really productive binge-watching tv.
Listen to Podcasts and Talk Radio Stations:
When I’m doing something super boring like washing the dishes, I turn on my RFI or Brazil Radio app and listen to the news.
Even if I tune out a bit, it's great to unconsciously take in another language.
The key to making the most of this is finding podcasts or radio stations where people are talking about things I'm interested in.
This is all listening with no visual cues so it’s really difficult, but I do love a good challenge.
Talk with a native on Italki:
I video chat with teachers all over the world.
Italki is one of my absolute favorite tools. I can choose a teacher from any country speaking any language in any dialect.
This improves my speaking and listening comprehension skills dramatically! And it's so cool to meet new people while I'm at it.
The teachers vary from professional language teachers to regular people who'll hold conversations with you. You pay for credits, then you can schedule a time to meet up online, usually through Skype.
Talk to a friend who knows just as much as you:
I like to have conversations with friends who are about my same level or better.
The self-imposed pressure of needing someone to actually understand what I can say in my head helps me try my best to articulate myself.
My conversational skills really get a good workout.
Truthfully, the first couple times can feel super awkward, but I find that it works best if we pick a topic in advance and I can practice what I want to say, so I don’t draw a complete blank.
Teach a friend who knows less than you:
My mom knows very little French, so when she asks me something, like what time it is, and I know how to say it in French, I just say it: il est trois heures vingt-quatre.
Even if I completely butcher it, she doesn’t know, is impressed by my multilingual abilities. Grazie, mamma.
The advantage is that I get to practice what I know without feeling embarrassed.
People love learning new things, so I don’t have to be fluent by any means to teach some basics to a beginner.
Plus, teaching motivates me to learn more, so I always end up with a few new words to share.
Record yourself speaking or reading out loud:
Sometimes, I’m just not ready to talk to people, so I record myself.
I'll pull up an article and read it aloud, or just talk into the mic about whatever I want.
When I'm done, I play back the recording and listen to myself go!
It's easy to get stuck cringing at the sound of my voice, but I always make sure to congratulate myself for good pronunciation, correct verb conjugation, nice flow, interesting idiomatic expression, cool slang usage, or just solid effort.
Bonus: If you're not already doing it, change your default language on Facebook.
I’m on Facebook more than I care to admit to. Because of this, I can take advantage of my consistency by changing the default language to the what I'm learning.
It's pretty simple. Just go to your Facebook, click on the down arrow at the top right, select Settings and then Languages on the left. You'll have the option to change what language you want to use Facebook in.
Just reading an article or texting “quiubo, parce” to a friend in your language of choice is a good start, but you’ll run into a wall especially if you're not fully immersed in that language. What is necessary is upping your listening and speaking skills in creative ways!
Now, I’d love to hear from you.
What tips and tools do you have for language learners? Leave a comment below and let me know.
Remember, share your ideas and comments in as much detail as possible in your reply. People like you come here each week for insight and inspiration and your story may help someone have an a-ha! moment.
Thank you for reading and adding your voice to the conversation.
I just did a 7 minute HIIT workout. Now I’m feeling energized and so proud of myself for completing it.
I did jumping jacks, wall sits, pushups, crunches, stair climbers, squats, tricep dips, planks, high knees and lunges; a pretty standard full body combination of arms, legs and abs.
But I know from seeing massage therapy clients over the course of 4 years, almost none of them asked me to skip over their back, neck and shoulders.
So why didn’t my workout include anything that specifically targeted strengthening these areas?
The truth is that these basic, full body workouts aren't designed for resolving pain and discomfort. HIIT is one of the biggest workout trends right now and it’s geared towards people looking to accelerate weight loss. No doubt, HIIT is a great exercise method if shedding fat is your goal, but these types of workouts could be contributing to back, neck and shoulder strain.
If you want your workout to improve not just your overall health, but also to reduce or even solve your daily pain and discomfort, you need to get to the core of these issues and incorporate some physical therapy elements into your routine.
See a professional to rule out the presence of something more serious, but if you’re certain that your shoulders hurt because of bad posture and sitting at the computer all day, learning a bit of anatomy and applying that knowledge to your workout will empower you. It will allow you to take control of pain and discomfort.
What Not To Do
Let me break down one of the most common exercises that, when done by itself, makes me nervous.
Here’s the scenario. You’re getting back into shape. You want to feel stronger. You want to tone your arms. You see that there’s a popular online challenge and maybe you’ll sign up.
It’s a no-brainer. You get down on all fours to prep for a timeless exercise that you picked up in your childhood PE days.
Feeling the burn, you go hard until your body becomes jello. When you can’t do anymore, you wrap up your workout. No stretches to release the muscles you flexed. No exercises to balance your strength-building. Frankly, no real sense of what muscles are involved in doing this pushup.
Pushups are primarily used to strengthen your triceps (on the backside of your upper arms) and, what I want to focus on here, your pecs (two muscles of your chest). As you push your body up into a plank position, your pec muscles contract, shorten and your shoulders push forward to lift you up.
So What’s the Problem?
Most people already have super shortened chest muscles. Often, these shortened muscles are precisely the reason why people are having pain and discomfort in their upper back and shoulders.
With pushups, tension is built in the muscles that pull your shoulders forward, which means that the muscles that pull your shoulders back have to stretch to accommodate that position.
When you frequently don’t do anything to counteract that forward shoulder position, your body starts to maintain that position which puts a ton of strain on the overstretched back and shoulder muscles, especially between the shoulder blades. Holding a stretch may feel good for a few moments, but imagine staying in one indefinitely. Ouch.
You know what else tends to do that?
Typing at a computer with poor posture.
People tend to spend much of their day with their shoulders forward. While pushups may not be the primary cause for this strained position, it can exacerbate the issue.
The Bigger Picture
The pushup is not the only exercise that requires further attention and knowledge. There are tons of exercises we can break down to show how uninformed, unbalanced exercises can lead to pain and discomfort.
The bigger picture here is that if you understand how your muscles work in unison, you’ll know how to strategically choose exercises and what else to do in conjunction with them to make them truly beneficial.
HINT: In this case, I always suggest doing lots of chest opening stretches after pushups and throughout the day, plus strengthening exercises for those upper back muscles. But don’t worry, I’ll explain this in more detail later in the series.
Stay tuned as I reveal a super simple system for learning the mechanics of body movement which will help you apply that knowledge and create the best workout plan for you.
Now, I’d love to hear from you.
What part of this was most impactful for you? Leave a comment below and let me know.
Remember, share your ideas and comments in as much detail as possible in your reply. Your story may really help someone have an "Aha!" moment.
Thank you for reading and adding your voice to the conversation.