Monday, July 28, 2008

The Mantra of Exercise

Most people are conditioned to dislike and avoid exercise and fitness -- despite saying it is good for them and that they know better -- but won’t do it anyway, because the requirements prescribed, insist that if they won’t do it their way, they’re better off doing nothing -- or nothing can help, when in fact, the most highly-successful health regimens, are self-taught, simple, easy and natural.

The whole key is that one has to personally discover their own machinery (body) and how their own bodies actually work -- and not merely accept the generalizations of what everybody ought to do, and that there are precise formulas that measure everyone’s fitness levels -- as though even the concept was a well-defined matter of fact.

Fitness for what? And that is the question that has to be defined and answered specifically and not generally. The “average” will never be the best -- not for everyone, and not for most people, let alone the best. In fact, in defining the average statistically, the best are always thrown out of the population sample because they are the extreme, and “skew the average.”

Yet it is precisely those rare manifestations and achievements which is the purpose of striving for anything -- and not simply to regress to the statistical average, or as preposterously, conform to some arbitrary standard.

The term “aerobics” has become so used and abused, that it is meaningless in any discussion, but thought to convey meaning and substance just by its mention -- and that being the case, should immediately be discarded as any evidence of competence or knowledge. It is a buzzword to legitimize one’s expertise regardless of whether one has any at all -- hoping the one they are talking to, knows less. That whole relationship is primarily exploitative -- in detecting those who know less, and then once sensing that vulnerability, exploiting it. Not surprisingly, the clientele of such trainers of experts, will disproportionately be dysfunctional and badly out of shape people -- with little chance of changing that condition in their lifetime.

Those who are successful, realize the simplicity of what needs to be done -- and it no longer remains an obsessive-compulsion about being out of shape and a ready excuse not to do anything else in life.

Fitness is that quality of always being ready to do what one is presented with every opportunity to do -- and to "make-do" with one's present capacity. That is the important conditioning in one’s life -- and not that one will be in-shape and condition to do those things in six months or a year, which is the dysfunction of being out of condition.

"Aerobics" simply means "with oxygen," and it is hardly unlikely that any activity will take place and be sustained in the absence of it.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Twenty Years Ago Today -- Understanding Conditioning

Twenty years ago today, seeking to confirm definitively that Nautilus principles indeed were the last word in exercise, I discovered instead, that the prescribed practice of working each muscle in isolation to attain its maximum range of relaxation and contraction was NOT possible in ISOLATION -- but rather, the body was designed and evolved to work holistically and synergistically -- and that such movements and proficiencies developed in isolation, was totally meaningless -- except to condition the muscles to work against each other, which would never happen in any real life activity or effort.

The body would naturally choose to use every resource available to accomplish its objective -- instead of handicapping itself in this way. And so such conditioning was instead counterproductive -- and even harmful, as it disrupted the natural efficiency, effectiveness and wisdom of the body. One doesn't need to teach breathing apart from an integrated effort, or integral to the effort. One would always throw a shotput on the exhalation -- and never on an inhalation; one would always lift a weight on an exhalation, and never on an inhalation -- so breathing didn't and shouldn't be taught as another effort apart from the central task. You don't breathe and lift the weight, but lifting the weight causes breathing -- because of the integrated natural contraction and relaxation of the other muscles of the torso, and not just the isolated action of the diaphragm -- as thought in the isolated observation of the process.

It was thought that in breathing, the diaphragm moved up -- rather than in the whole picture, that all the other muscles move downward against it -- which is the alteration of the chest volume that houses the lungs. The change of this volume affects the pressure inside the lungs -- which produces the movement of air in and out of the body -- rather than the conscious effort to. Previously, most of the effort involved in breathing was therefore concerned with the inhalation, rather than the exhalation, wich when done completely creates space for fresh air to enter -- which it cannot do if the lungs remain inflated, or are never fully compressed.

Thus the understanding of air movement, led to the realization that fluids also moved by this differing in pressure -- as a principle of (understanding) physics, and that the weakness of the circulatory system was not at the heart but rather at the extremities, where such contractions mimicking the heart in a full contraction alternated with a full relaxation, increased the flow back to the heart, which the heart has no effect in. That was the flaw in focusing the effectiveness of exercise (circulation) at the heart -- which is always working and so the objective of getting the heart to work is not the problem or limitation in most people.

But just a few deliberate articulations requiring no more than five minutes each day upon awakening, is sufficient to condition the muscles to move optimally in all the normal movements one will make throughout the day -- and thus the need for heavy and intrusive workloads other than normal efforts, are unnecessary for those merely wishing to attain optimal functioning each day -- and look and act like they do.

The video, Understanding Conditioning, was a fairly typical presentation of these concepts presented to athletes, researchers, health professionals, students who were seeking a simple understanding, of why their present fitness routines and concerns did not deliver the benefits they sought -- and realizing what would make perfectly good sense and deliver very easily and immediately, those outcomes they were seeking exhaustively without success.

This, an the accompanying Investing in the 21st Century discussion to understanding personal finance in terms virtually everybody can understand and could use, frequently are recognized as landmark broadcasts, as what public access television can be -- a treasury of timeless useful information, rather than just the infomercial of the day.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Being One's Best (Getting In Shape Quickly)

Most people’s efforts to produce “change,” merely reinforces the status quo, because change means different, and not simply, more of the same.

It is the failure to understand qualitative difference from simply a quantitative one, that makes all the difference in the world -- in any thing. But most of what is taught in the schools, is only about quantitative differences, and not about quality.

In exercise, fitness, conditioning (learning), that is the ultimate end. Repetition of poorly done movements doesn’t get one the same results as a single perfection of that movement -- and that is what an athlete, performer or adept at anything is trying to achieve, and not just mere quantity of imprecise and imperfect efforts. That is not the point, and merely reinforces dysfunction and low functioning.

Every person has the ability to get in shape immediately -- by training their muscles to take on that shape -- but most people who teach exercise, have no idea of the meaning of this because they think that simply raising the heart rate, burning more calories, sweating profusely, and experiencing more pain and discomfort, are an indication of doing something significant and right -- when actually, a few brief movements deliberately designed to articulate the muscle in the fullest possibilities they can attain -- expresses the full range of their present capacity, rather than leaving that unexpressed and unfulfilled, and in poor, flabby condition.

This is the most important insight into why some people are in great shape while others are in poor shape. The former knows the difference -- and selects to be immediately, and presently, into the best shape they can be in -- with their present capacity, instead of the teaching that in six months or a year, of reinforcing bad posture, bad movements and bad shape, that will be miraculously transformed at some point, into a person in great shape and condition.

They already have that capacity -- to be in their best shape, and in better shape, but have to learn to momentarily express it. If a person always does the best they can with what they have, that will be their persona and the shape and condition they are in -- without expending great thought, time and effort on it -- because that is the condition, one is conditioning (learning) to be -- as their basic response (readiness) to the challenges of daily living.

That is conveyed without the need to actually throw a javelin or shot-put -- to convince others (or oneself) of one’s competence. World champions always have that presence -- without having to get up and actually sprint a hundred yards to convince others of that competence. The same is true of proficient people in any event or activity in daily living. Their is a convincing sense that they can do it -- if the conditions are appropriate for that demonstration

Those who feel a need to constantly prove that -- obviously have that deficiency of not being in their best shape, and knowing what is the best they can do in the present moment and movement, that embodies the essence of who they really are.

That is the simplicity of conditioning, change, and the condition they are in.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Meaning of “Conditioning”

The purpose of conditioning oneself for fitness, is not so that one can go out and kill themselves, thus eliminating themselves from the gene pool and collective intelligence of the universe. Every action, thought, and deed, is a contribution to the greater fitness for survival for everyone, living anywhere -- including and especially one’s self. That’s how it works.

Therefore, when one’s behaviors are of this quality of thoughtfulness, that is how thoughtfulness is manifested and brought into this world, and becomes the DNA of the present reality. These discussions always seem metaphorical and metaphysical slightly ahead of their time -- and the reason it must be, is because it requires a leap into the unknown, from a well-reasoned past, rather than just mindlessly reinforcing a thoughtless conformity and obedience to the (political) “correctness” of those who have largely self-appointed themselves as the authorities and authoritarians of this field -- of which their primary work, is to keep everyone out of it.

That was a fairly successful model in the 20th century of increasing specialization and fragmentation of experience -- but those on the leading edge, as there always are, realized that this manner, caused the disintegration of life as a whole into the many, increasingly petty parts, which lost all meaning and comprehension and frequently worked against itself -- in self-defeating (-isolating) activity.

And so it seemed, the more one did, the more there was to do -- perpetuating the problems indefinitely, rather than being the cessation of them -- which was the original intent and purpose. The objective of conditioning, is not to require more conditioning -- but to obtain those behaviors that no longer require conscious deliberation and effort.

The success of conditioning is that it is integrated into the rest of one’s life -- as just the way one does things conditionally, although at first, it required very thoughtful, deliberate effort to effect. That’s really where “fitness” as a social phenomenon should be -- not necessarily for everyone, but for the pioneers on the leading edge of these movements. Their thinking and activity, eventually filters into the mainstream, even as most are not ready to embrace the new, improved and better -- but have been conditioned to follow the leaders, unquestioningly and obediently.

But it is in physical conditioning, that one has the advantage of directly verifiable experience to learn from -- more productively than just the conjectures that often pass for the truth, because the "ntellectuals" that dominate writing and discourse, think it is all just words -- and the only thing that matters is one’s powers of persuasion (salesmanship) that determines the truth of any matter.

That’s long been the unfortunate driver in the conditioning activities of our living -- that we mistake the momentarily (commercially) successful, for enduring truths that really do make a difference in the shape of the world and our lives, and if we could distinguish these differences easily as only a few manage to do, the whole world will be much better.