Saturday, September 08, 2007

The Problem of Aging

The most revolutionary idea on exercise has its greatest impact on the elderly -- and that is that a person doesn’t need MORE exercise, but it is extremely critical for them to get a very little of the BEST exercise -- because their recovery ability is the limiting factor in decreasing supply. That means, obviously, that it takes more rest to recover from any expenditure of energy and effort -- and not that the more they expend, the more unlimited supply they will have. That doesn’t even happen for younger people -- but it is the prevalent thinking in most “expert” advice on exercise, because it is their wishful-thinking, and beyond that, they have no understanding of anything significant or relevant at all.

Given that kind of “advice,” most people of diminishing energy reserves and recovery ability, just instinctively conserve as much of their energy and resources as possible -- as their current norm for actual exercise behavior despite all the elaborate explanations of what people “ought” to be doing. The simple fact of the matter is that they won’t be doing it -- so one can be free to exercise their imagination to the wildest prescriptions for what people “ought” to be doing to maintain their health, because they won’t do it -- as their out. But these experts can always insist, if these instructions were actually followed, miracles would be achieved. However, the miracle would just be in doing the improbable. Everyone would be in terrific condition -- if they could fly.

So if one takes away one important concept in maintaining mastery over one’s movements over one’s entire lifetime -- especially during the critical later years at which one is disposed to doing nothing at all -- which becomes a pathology when one doesn’t show any signs of movement or responsiveness at all, fine motor control at the extremities of the head, hands and feet should be the obvious paramount focus, without the need for excessive gross motor movement that simply burns up energy and drains limited resources and precious recovery ability.

That is the message of declining health and abilities with increasing age: one has to move better and more efficiently -- and not MORE, inefficiently -- as is the objective of most conventional exercise classes, instruction and apparatus. That might be great for the promoters of such “products,” but from the end-users point of view, actually sets them back in their thinking for the necessary better way which age makes increasingly critical. At that point, most exercise regimens are just abandoned entirely -- not to be discussed ever again.

Even the most robust people in their younger years are subject to these fallacies of their own successful healthier years -- that it was a blessing merely of age rather than appropriate behaviors for their time, which change periodically, requiring a new adaptation. And that should be a major advantage of one’s conditioning -- to be able to change and adapt to whatever challenges present themselves, and not merely “force” the environment to conform and adapt to them -- which of course, is to be maladaptive, and lacking fitness to respond appropriately.

Fine motor control means maintaining these senses/movements that direct us to what is appropriate -- and lacking that sensitivity anymore, our movements are likely to be increasingly gross, clumsy, wasteful, brutish -- as many modern exercise classes “teach.”


At September 08, 2007 2:49 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

If a person can double their “momentary” capabilities on demand, that is a very powerful capacity to possess. Under what conditions could one do so? One would logically pick that moment that one is likely to be the least capable -- rather the most, in order to obtain that maximum “improvement.” As such, the moment immediately upon waking is that greatest opportunity -- because as one wakes up and slowly regains all their capabilities until they peak, that peak would not be an opportunity where one would expect to increase their “momentary” capabilities substantially -- yet that is precisely when most will attempt to do so.

Therefore, they are likely to become “conditioned” to experiencing 10-20% improvements, rather than the more dramatic improvements of several fold increases in performance. This is important to realize also because many think the more sedentary the person is, the MORE exercise they require to progress -- rather than that an amazingly small increment represents a monumental change (stimulus), and is even further enhanced by being of the highest quality -- rather than a thoughtless quantitative difference.

So all these factors fall into place -- making a small amount of effort the most productive, rather than is thought, useless. The whole paradigm of contemporary exercise is upside-down -- and why it is such a terrible failure. The least bit of exercise, makes a huge difference to those who are used to none, whereas the discouragement to doing any by imposing onerous workloads, negatively conditions one to do so. People would choose this least because it is the logical, intelligent and most productive choice to make -- rather than the “bad” and “incorrect” choice fitness professionals drive the majority of the population away with -- because “they know better.” That is the misplaced assumption.

The ultimate test of any effective conditioning regimen, is whether it will and can be beneficial at times of greatest need -- and not dismissed because of the condition one is in. That is the condition(ing) one wishes to affect -- which is the time people dismiss as the proper moment for such activities, in which a little makes the greatest difference.

And then they can just forget about their need for exercise and further "conditioning" because they've already conditioned themselves to move with optimal efficiencies -- with no further thought required to do so.

That is the real meaning of "conditioning" -- that one predisposes oneself to certain behaviors, without thinking about them. The popular thinking that "conditioning" requires conscious and coercive effort throughout one's entire performance, comes from self-proclaimed experts who have no idea of what they are talking about but are believed by reporters who understand even less -- or absolutely nothing at all!

At September 09, 2007 12:31 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

An effective schedule of conditioning exercises that will/can be maintained by virtually everyone, virtually until the moment one loses consciousness and responsiveness permanently, requires only five minutes a day -- with a once a week "heavier" workout, as one's personal "big game" for the week.

Even top athletes don't usually play more than once a week, and try to peak around as few major events as is necessary to qualify for the ultimate competitions. Since most people are no longer competitive in that way, a once-a-week challenge and focus, is really ideal to maintain that edge and mastery of their resources. However, the typical recommendations of three times a week or oftener, of a prolonged workout of low intensity is usually experienced as "boredom" rather than the necessary stimulus for any person to peak.

This peaking, rather than simply steady durations of constant low-level (mediocre) effort is more like the athletic event of all kinds, whereas the contrived steady state effort done for 30 minutes exists nowhere in nature, and is therefore, useless if not counterproductive, to all human effort.

Those most likely to fall for such conditioning programs are those who have never learned anything outside of a formal education setting -- and have been conditioned to ignore their own sensibilities in favor of theories and explanations. So the average as the ideal, is a misunderstanding of the exceptional one wishes to achieve. The ability to obtain the optimal peak performance when one actually needs it, is what has greatest survival value and thus, increases their fitness in life, and is the appropriate measure of fitness -- and not just some arbitrary formula, which is what the "target heart rate" is.

Discussions of calorie expenditure are also arbitrary because metabolisms are different -- so comparing one with another and than averaging is not likely to be valid for anyone. So the inquiry must go further to determine that "quality" that distinguishes the exceptional being from everybody else, or simply the average.

As a lifetime observer of movement, it is pretty obvious to me that the top performers in virtually every activity, have the greatest articulation at the extremities of their bodies -- while those in poor condition, reveal quite the opposite.

So one asks, in achieving physical excellence in each individual, what implies all the rest? It is very simple and easily achievable once people are aware of what really makes a difference -- and not realizing that, no amount of effort doing the wrong things can compensate for this erroneous understanding.

At September 09, 2007 1:02 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Is a thousand calories always a thousand calories?

It varies from individual to individual how well that thousand calories is digested, assimilated and metabolized by each individual. For some, a glass of milk is the perfect food; for others, they'll die faster consuming it than it can provide in nutrients. Milk is the classic example but every food is tolerated better by some than others. Virtually everyone has a food "allergy" -- as well as well as optimal nutrients -- which most people have to discover for themselves, by themselves.

That's why even doctors ask, "How are you feeling and what's wrong?" -- before running exhaustive tests because one doesn't fit the average (ideal) profile. One has a personal medical history and "average."

Age is not the most reliable predictor of how people will differ -- although it has been misused and abused as the unfailing standard. Is weight -- or height?

The best "female" athlete of any sport will outperform the "average" male in that activity, so any generalization of that comparison would be meaningless. Yet because of the deficiency or many academic curriculums, such overwhelming significances are dismissed and denied as the whole basis of their field of observation -- making every subsequent observation totally absurd.

The last people capable of seeing that are their own experts -- because they don't question their assumptions and premises, and so everybody in that field can be wrong.


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