Friday, April 25, 2008

Exercising For Life (Longevity)

One learns in cross-country biking (or a sustained effort in anything), that if one proceeds slowly enough, one can maintain that pace indefinitely, but when one speeds up the pace, it can’t be sustained for long.

In that same manner, one can determine a pace that they can personally sustain throughout their remaining years -- which is what each individual has to determine for themselves, and not just accept that there is some magical “average” that works for everybody.

It’s like everything in life: every individual has their own best life, and the average tells one very little, although many people have erroneously been convinced, that they “have to” conform to the average -- as their mission in life. That is probably the most damaging principle still taught by many in the schools -- when in actuality, the whole purpose of life, is to determine how one stands out from the crowd.

Being more average than anybody else, is no great achievement -- though many “teachers” think that is their supreme achievement. That is not a meaningful teaching or education -- or the end of education, but is only a beginning, yet not the only beginning. Some are already farther along in achieving this end, and they should not be forced back to master the beginning in order to get to the end -- yet that is what many misguided teachers teach.

Rather than an arbitrary formula being the measure for everyone, fitness is actually best determined by self-perception: people know when they are at their best -- and when they are not. Being physically at one’s best, is feeling that one’s physical abilities are not one’s limitations in anything, and not being (feeling) so, excuses one from even having to try.

Determining what is worthwhile to do, is another matter entirely -- because one may simply not think that the expression of a particular movement, is worthwhile to accomplish, rather than that one cannot physically achieve it. It’s not that an adult gorilla or lion cannot climb a tree but they recognize the great life-threatening risk it is for them at a heavier weight. One would hardly think that the level of activity of youth, is appropriate a model for a much more mature and senior person, yet that is still what many insist, an older person should be doing too -- and is the very reason for no longer remaining active, in that only way they are given. That age segment just drops out from healthful exercise, or are given regimens that reinforce their diminishing abilities.

So what is the measure of activity by which even the most senior of citizens can still accomplish? It is the range of movement at the extremities of their body -- which they have as much articulation and capability as most other individuals at any other age. Those are the movements in which the oldest have as great a chance of exceeding the capabilities of every other person -- range of movement at the extremities of the body, and that range of movement, is the best indicator of their true fitness level and vibrancy. That implies everything else.


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