Thursday, October 18, 2007

Looking Good

In modern society and culture, the chief indicator of “fitness” is that of appearances -- which shouldn’t be dismissed as a superficiality and triviality, because it is actually far more useful than requiring someone to run a marathon to the next town to announce the results of a battle. “Seeming” to be a credible person announcing this fact, would be more believable than a haggard stranger straggling in on his “last legs,” proclaiming triumph, and promptly dying. Then, the well-dressed and composed person on the television, would note the passing of that vagrant as an oddity -- and move on to the gossip of the day.

So if nothing else, looking like a healthy and well-organized person, should be the minimal expectation of any fitness program -- above achieving more dubious achievements, including “finishing” a marathon, in a manner that makes everyone wince witnessing such an inappropriate entrant in such participation.

Seeing someone do anything -- well, is inspirational and encouraging to anyone; seeing self-affliction of pain and suffering , doesn’t argue well for sane participants.

If nothing else, the most telling point on the health and condition of any individual, is the muscular condition at the neck, which if well-toned, conveys vibrancy, alertness and grace -- while being the best indicator of improvement or deterioration of that same individual at different stages of their lie and well-being. A person begins notable aging on the face, as soon as there is marked atrophy of the neck muscles -- as it is obviously apparent that the vital flow to the head, is no longer possible, and one is even fearful, that a blow to the head, could easily rip off the head from the rest of the body -- so tenuously does it appear to be connected to the torso.

So, even if one is simply a “talking head” as the major attribute of what they do, strong and well-defined neck muscles, would be all that is necessary to create a commanding, unassailable presence. Those who maintain this formidable development of the neck muscles, not surprisingly, have eyes that sparkle and are alive -- as opposed to the dullness that one unfortunately sees too often of those not feeling/doing well.

These are not accidental attributes;.they can be deliberately and instantaneously enhanced, by engaging the neck muscles strongly in moving towards the extremes of their ranges, either left or right, forward and backward. The most efficient way to do this is before even getting out of bed in the morning -- by raising one’s head up and forward as far as possible for ten repetitions. In doing so, if one rests their hands on their stomach muscles, one will note the “washboard” effect coming into play for that area -- despite, and BECAUSE one is not doing the torso-bending sit-ups one thinks is necessary to achieve that effect. The head movement alone, is all that is necessary, to engage and develop the washboard tone and look of the stomach muscles.

Bending the torso, while keeping the head in-line with the torso, the way this movement is usually done, is actually counterproductive in achieving this effect. The reason for this is that the primary function of the midsection muscles is to produce stability and support for a movement at the extremities of the head, hands, and feet -- and there is otherwise no practical application and usefulness, for increasing movement ONLY at the midsection, while maintaining rigidity at the wrists, ankles and neck -- which is what many fitness programs advocate, with their well-proven lack of desirable and timely results.

Noting this focus of movement, would be a very useful and logical manner to gauge the prognosis of success using such apparatus advertised widely as the next big thing on exercise.


At October 18, 2007 10:43 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

If one remembers to smile broadly at the culmination of each effort (repetition), one will have conditioned their muscles for that as the supreme expression of that muscular effort -- which will be recognized by others as a very powerful smile. That's how it is developed.

Usually when people make their effort, they grimace as to express the unpleasantness and difficulty of that movement -- and that is their expression they communicate at everything they do -- which is not very attractive and encouraging, and causes the reactions people receive.

In modern life, one should question what one is conditioning oneself to do as the highest achievement of their being. For most people living in today's information and communication-rich environments, that is expression -- and what is most powerful and effective, is the powerful smile, rather than the disapproving grimace, in those communications.

Such a disarming and engaging presence, will invariably be regarded as the most powerful person in the room -- without one having to demonstrate or discuss how much one can bench press.

That's the world we live in -- and have to be fit for. So that's what one should develop their muscles to do -- and not to make unpleasant faces showing one would rather be doing something (anything) else.

Life is very simple, direct and obvious.

At October 21, 2007 12:48 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

It doesn't matter how much of the wrong thing one does; that is not the same as doing any bit of the right thing.

In the medical practice, this advice is prescribed as using the smallest amount that will produce a desirable effect -- while abuse occurs when people think that if a little bit works, more is always "better" -- rather than the root of another, often greater problem.

And so many go through their entire lives undoing a previous solution -- if their thinking is always that "More is unconditionally better."

That's even the problem with exercise, or eating, for that matter. While eating some food is absolutely necessary, unlimited consumption IS the major health problem of our time.

Less obvious is that exercise can also be abusive in this way -- and most people will doubt that it ever can be (as an indication of the problem).

Many great athletes and extremely active people have a difficult time making that shift and adjusting their activity levels to that which is appropriate -- because their essential conditioning has been to "overload" themselves until they simply can't do it anymore, at which point their activity levels cease entirely.

The body is highly responsive to movement and conditioning -- and so the major consideration must be to the highest quality of it -- and not the customary thinking that vast quantities of thoughtless and inefficient movement is the answer (cure) for anything.

And as one grows older, the management of scarce resources become even more critical. However, the blessing is that, the tiniest bit, can have a tremendous impact and make a huge difference -- because that is precisely what the body is screaming out to do.

If one has ever see those with Alzheimers or other dementias, the frustrating thing is that one no longer sees evidence of any responsiveness at any level -- including the simplest ones of acknowledging agreement or disagreement, which is universally head movement -- at least, and further confirmation in other body movements and language.

Yet in this state, I once saw a physical therapist shouting instructions to obviously unresponsive persons to do what would have been a miracle -- given their lack of ability to make any move of responsiveness at all.

I've never witnessed that brain dead response in anyone who exhibited robust head movement and neck (muscular) development -- and noticed that same sign of good health in the most advanced ages, if those areas were intact in fine motor movements (at the extremities).

Usually, those areas are never addressed in any program of maintaining vitality in individuals -- in preference to much higher expenditures of energy, until one ceases them entirely.

However, the lowest expenditure of energy could be maintained to the moment life ceased entirely. That range is the vacuum and void in which proper movement and conditioning exercises make the greatest difference!

That realization transforms the prospect and prospectus for health -- no matter how long one lives -- if one continually makes the appropriate fine adjustment -- rather than hoping, as in conventional exercise, that the individual (patient) will adjust to the program.

So while one is still capable of responding, that is the critical level of responsiveness to ensure -- and not simply hoping one will run marathons until the day one drops dead in perfectly good health otherwise. This latter conditioning program still being advocated by so-called fitness gurus not only doesn't work in the old, it doesn't work in the young either -- but that doesn't stop people from promoting wishful thinking as the panacea to every great problem.

At October 21, 2007 1:27 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

The great realization, is recognizing that fine motor control implies optimal health -- and why people who can paint, play music, write virtually until the day they die, have maintained high levels of proficiency more than brute strength athletes -- who actually are notable for surprisingly premature deaths.

The number of them crippled by injuries to the point where most conventional exercises is out of the question, doesn't seem to faze the "experts," who still insist they have to run, jump, lift and strain themselves -- as the only way to maintain their declining capacities.

That decline and deterioration is regarded as the "norm," rather than the dysfunction and disease.

Even as active as a few people are, very few think to move at the wrist, ankles and neck -- to articulate that range of motion, even while maxing their heart rate and glutes -- or whatever they think is so important to effect.

That manner is the well-proven road that doesn't work -- and discourages people from realizing that which does.

One merely needs to close one's hands and rotate (not moving circularly but in one direction palmward or knucleword( at the wrist until one notes the tremendous muscular contraction that takes place -- because one has simply shortened the muscle in achieving that position. The more the muscle is shortened, the more it is contracted -- and even provides resistance to further shortening (contraction) as one obtains a greater range of motion -- at the right and safe places to do so.

That is the perfect design for an exercise -- that has evolved throughout millions of years of evolution. Understanding that, rather than trying to work against that, is the culmination of intelligence and fitness in any time.

At October 26, 2007 12:40 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

The conditioning one wants, is to a higher quality of life -- and not merely more of the same low quality existence, one becomes more used to. The kind of conditioning strategy most people adopt, is to reinforce their present condition -- rather than to transcend to a higher plane of understanding and operational efficiency.

Until they can understand that, all the "conditioning" activities they do, merely keeps them as they are -- with more effort, so understandably, they quit realizing the utter futility and absurdity of that -- which is taught by such "experts."

There's no law that says one cannot be the biggest fool in town -- if that is one's stubborn insistence on being -- as some kind of proof of their singlemindedness of purpose. But it doesn't have to be that way -- for everybody, or even anybody -- if they can see the wisdom in that.

That's why at the height of the Nautilus and Aerobics craze in the mid-80s, I realized that effort was not the limiting factor -- but the necessary understanding that transforms all one's efforts into something else. So what was needed, was my seminal conditioning in understanding, which I called, Understanding Conditioning. The rest is easy.

At October 26, 2007 12:44 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

With a superior understanding of function and purpose, it takes about five minutes a day to achieve the results not possible otherwise.


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