Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Don’t Mistake the Strongest Link for the Weakest Link

With rare exceptions, the heart is not the weakest link of the muscular system, but is its strongest, because it is hardwired to have to work, all the time. It is the rest of the muscles in the body that will be the weak link, since they don’t have to be exercised at all -- unless one thinks to use it. And that is the problem of the poor condition of most people -- that their voluntary muscles are unused -- and not that their heart has to get pumping. The heart is always pumping; that is not the problem. Except for congenital defects, the heart works perfectly -- either contracting fully or relaxing fully; that is what it has evolved over millions of years to do -- perfectly, unfailingly, unthinkingly. That alternation produces the pumping action in a hydraulic (fluid) system.

But that is not the whole story in the circulatory process in a system. Other factors contribute greatly -- because it can be easily demonstrated that if one were to contract all the other muscles of the body and hold that contraction without relaxing, the heart would pump desperately harder but the circulation could not improve until the skeletal muscles throughout the body were relaxed again -- and not preventing the flow of blood to the extremities by that muscular constriction (contraction). The relaxation of the skeletal muscles, allows for the arterioles to expand for a greater blood flow outward.

However, the heart muscle does not dictate the flow back to the heart from the extremities -- as forcefully as the skeletal muscles do, which is the beneficial effect of exercise -- in pumping the blood back to the heart, dramatically increasing the circulatory effect. Without that regular optimizing of circulation, fluids tend to accumulate in the tissues at the extremities and throughout the body -- producing a bloat that persists as fat and an unexercised condition. It is a body that obviously does not effect this circulatory process frequently -- or see the need to do so, as a standard maintenance practice.

So unlike a river of life, the body becomes stagnant pools of toxicity, waiting to be inflamed into an acute disease. That is a predisposition to illness, dysfunction, weakness. That condition is not likely to reside in the heart -- but in the rest of the body, that is not functioning regularly, fully and properly -- as the heart must do.

So the emphasis on the heart being the weakest link of the body is misplaced. The heart is the fittest muscle of virtually every body -- and so that is not the justification for exercise. The heart is working 24/7 unfailingly, properly. That is not the problem; the problem is that all the other muscles of the body may not be doing anything -- on a regular basis -- and it is the conditioning and strengthening of all those other muscles, in which the greatest gains in the circulatory process can be achieved -- so much so, that when the conditions are enhanced above and beyond normal operating conditions, conditions for growth beyond maintenance of the status quo, make possible extraordinary health, which are obvious in its appearance.

People who are really getting healthier, look to be doing so. That is the reason for the expression, “You look well.” People visibly look the way they feel -- beyond the need for diagnostics to determine that.


At May 17, 2006 4:57 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

The heart rate orientation was not about science -- but was a commercial best-seller, that got plagiarized and ripped off by hundreds of others wanting their own million copy bestseller. You see it on the infomercials all the time now -- one guy with a successful product spawns an industry of imitators. It doesn't matter if there is science as long as it sells.

So when something is repeated over and over again, it becomes a mass truth -- rather than an actual one. The heart rate has almost nothing to do with putting oneself into the shape one wants to be in.

Bodybuilders, the experts on shaping their bodies to look in shape -- which is as good a criterion as any, have alwys known that. When they do a set, their effort, heart rate, breathing, etc. goes up, and then they rest -- getting their functions as low as possible before the next set. Very few activities require a constantly sustained effort over a significant period of time -- as an average would suggest.

It is peaking for an effort, and then relaxing -- in preparation for the next -- and managing body resources in that manner, is the survival of the fitness.

At May 17, 2006 5:23 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Because people in the last generation learned almost exclusively from what others (teachers) told them, rather than actual experience and experiment, a lot of people could not tell the difference between an academic explanation and an actual, verifiable truth.

In fact, such truths and ways of knowing, was dismissed as "anecdotal" (an actual, personal experience), in favor of a supposed academic truth (a generalization), which sometimes might have actually been tested but more often than not, was merely accepted as the truth -- because it was taught to them. A lot of people lost that capability, and the newer generation didn't know there was a difference. To these, the truth was simply what they were taught.

So mass education has brought us back to the prescientific age when the truth was not tested and verifiable but merely accepted -- as a matter of faith. However, since many are agnostic or atheistic now, they think they are not susceptible to prescientific notions of the truth -- because they believe in the "right" professors or experts,ie., "political correctness." That is, they believe in their intellectual superiority because they believe what they think most educated people do -- and don't think there is anything beyond that, actually discovering the truth of anything for themselves.

That is the weakness of mass media information and education. Most people can be wrong without knowing it, and have no way to discover otherwise; they believe what they are told and go on repeating their beliefs despite the fact that it doesn't explain reality. Their ideology blinds and cripples them -- and so people will spend countless hours, burn countless time and energy with no results and think nothing of it, that nothing makes a difference. They are doing what they are told to do -- by supposedly the proper (self-designated) experts, technocrats.

It doesn't matter that what the experts tell them to do is arbitrary and unproductive. They just know that they are "right" -- which is all they were taught.

At May 17, 2006 5:39 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Most people now depend on others to tell them what the truth is, and to distrust their own experience and ability to discern the truth.

Authority figures are often those who are skilled at convincing others that what is plainly self-evident, did not happen, is not true -- in favor of their imposed truth. That is demagoguery and authoritarianism, reinforced by bullying and intimidation. It is successful on those used to being bullied and intimidated.

That's the premise of mass media -- that people can be bullied and intimidated into believing anything they want them to. It works until one sees "intelligent" media -- and then one cannot go back to the old.

At May 17, 2006 6:28 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Any exercise can work, and that being the case, one can design exercise to do what one is optimally suited for -- even if nobody else does it, and there are no competitions and prizes for it.

People are differently gifted -- and are ideally designed to be the best at being themselves. That's why it is so important to know oneself and be oneself -- because in doing that, nobody can compete with them and be better.

Everybody is the best at being themselves -- whatever that is, and life is to find out what that is.

In every movement, some do it better than others, and a rare few do all the movements better than others. From that, one can do what one does best -- rather than competing with every other in what one does badly -- in thinking that will be motivation to get better. Usually, that reinforces one's perception of their inadequacies -- instead of discovering what movement (skill) they are the unchallenged master of. That is one's mantra.

Back in the '60s when there was the interest in higher consciousness (which most have passed now), one guru devised a mantra (unique syllable) for each adept to master as the path to higher consciousness. It might have been OM, or HU, or MAN -- something very simple which they could practice and be the master at that practice.

The conventional strategy is to make everyone do an exercise no matter what -- as though the exercise or machine was important, and not the individual. But the individual is reality, the truth -- and not the generalization of what is good, what works -- as though a commandment passed down from God, or at least his exclusive representatives on earth.

But the key here is doing that one thing well and not just doing any old thing badly, indifferently, unthoughtfully. One has to do it with one's whole being and focus -- and that attainment is transcendant and transforming.

At May 17, 2006 6:39 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Yes, most people have passed that higher consciousness sought for a generation or two ago as its highest "individual" attainment, because the collective consciousness has advanced. That is the shared intelligence, rather than the old concept of intelligence being only what was in one's own head. That enables a person of modest intellectual capabilities to perform as well as rare intellects did a generation or two ago -- without the benefit of the collective, networked intelligence as part of their own.

Still, some people condition themselves to think their ultimate functioning is without that connection -- as though that were somehow "cheating." One would hope that in the new world, a more perfect society, one is entitled to use everything in the world to their advantage -- while maintaining that availability to everyone else as well.

At May 20, 2006 12:17 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Much less discussed about heart function, is the well-observed one that in every species, the lifespan is ultimately limited by the number of heart beats, which seems remarkably constant across all species. That is ignored, as though there was no such tradeoff in costs -- in the wishful thinking that one has unlimited life energy -- rather than the unfailingly observed fact that life, energy, is finite, and that is why it is life.

So energy and other resources, have to be preciously conserved -- and used diligently, wisely, productively. You don’t have unlimited chances to get it right. Getting it right does matter -- and not just mindlessly burning as many calories as possible as though that was a sign of intelligent life at all. Not only does the heart wear out, but the feet, knees, back, shoulders, etc.

There are joints more prone to this premature wear and tear and need for replacement than others -- while others are less conspicuous for that need. A hip replacement is much more crippling than a need for a wrist replacement -- and in fact, the latter is unheard of unless there is severe trauma and damage. The reason for this is that it has a higher capacity for movement -- which is to say, it is designed for movement, with many axes of rotation -- so any one, can be supplanted by many others. It has a built-in redundancy. It can absorb a loss and compensate -- which is not as true at the knee, elbow, hip and shoulder girdle. It is harder to work around those failings -- those limitations, those weak links, those vulnerabilities in human design.

Obviously, if it is painful for a person to walk -- running, walking, standing is not their cure -- as many physical therapists and “educators” will still insist they must do. Many people will go through their entire lives tormented by such “helpful” advice without realizing they don’t have to, and there are many alternatives to virtually any limitation, which is the resourcefulness that is real fitness and survival value.

“Fitness” has to be measured at the brain, and not the heart. The heart is a hard-wired capacity; the brain function is the variable -- that makes the difference. That is the revolutionary concept and realization of “physical” fitness that has been advocated by the most advanced adepts for ages -- that it requires a high degree of mental functioning that is the integration of total, highest functioning and complete actualization.

Fitness is no longer the merely physical ideal of an assembly-line worker of tireless capacity -- invariably operating an unchanging, demanding treadmill. Fitness is also the contemplation of the task beforehand and the awareness of what one is doing -- taking in information as well as adjusting the output to its most appropriate levels. That may be making the determination not to run on the hottest day of the year -- but rather to exert as little energy as possible, and to recognize when optimal conditions exist to enhance one’s performance and chances for success.

The generalization gives way to the specific circumstances -- real time information, that is now possible, rather than the edicts of conventional wisdom -- which may or not be appropriate to that particular situation. It doesn’t matter that 66% of those tested reported a favorable response -- if you are one of the 33% who did not! Your own experience was 100% of the actuality of that experience -- and not the theoretical 66%.

At June 09, 2006 12:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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