Friday, November 14, 2008

The Value of Conditioning -- and the Meaning of Fitness

The Problem of the Bodybuilders:

If one agrees that the great healthful effect of exercise is the optimization of the circulatory effect, and that is best achieved by mimicking the heart function’s alternation of full contraction with a full relaxation by the voluntary (skeletal) muscles of the body, the the problem of bodybuilding exercises and the bodybuilding effect, is that the relaxation phase is not effected well, and neither for that matter, is the fullest contraction.

In fact, the pumping up of a muscle, is an indication that the flow is being impeded -- not in the flow to, but in the flow from that muscle pumped up -- which is obviously constricting the flow out of that area. The inevitable result of that manner of working (out), is that it will produce the “muscle failure” frequently attributed to exercising “anaerobically.” which means, without an oxygen flow, which is also the effective removal of the waste products produced with the release of energy (the breakdown of muscle cells).

Under most normal operating conditions, muscle failure is never desired because one wants to retain their capacity to respond at all times. That would happen if the product of one’s work, was to increase one’s capacity to sustain that work -- which is the aerobic effect. That is, one desires to row a boat in such a manner, that they increase their ability to sustain that effort practically indefinitely and even get stronger doing so -- while also maintaining (building) a reserve for an extraordinary effort that might be required to meet some unanticipated challenge or encounter.

That would be providing and ensuring one’s “fitness” for an appropriate response that is the “survival of the fittest.” In the bodybuilding manner of training, this attainment of muscle failure is unique -- because in no other conditioning activity, would that be desirable. Also, the distinctive non-relaxation postures maintained even in their “relaxed” conditions, predispose that muscle failure through fatigue and exhaustion.

That is often one’s first impression on encountering bodybuilders -- that they never relax, but remain hypertensed, because their relaxation, would be most other people’s contracted. Obviously the maintenance of constant contraction and tension throughout one’s entire waking hours, is vary stressful and damaging to the long-term maintenance of one’s body systems that require rest and recuperation.

The far more compelling picture of health, would be for an extremely relaxed person to be able to momentarily achieve an impressive degree of contraction that is striking in its transformative impact. Those are the individuals who are a lot more impressive than those bodybuilders who don’t seem to change much from relaxation to contraction -- because they are virtually always in a state of contraction, whether they realize and admit it or not.

The truly healthful conditioning, is to be able to effect the fullest relaxation alternated with the fullest contraction -- as the greatest indication of that individual’s ability to effect change in their own bodies and lives. That conditioning and outlook, would ensure one’s appropriate response to all conditions and challenges -- rather than always being the same way, no matter what is required to respond appropriately -- whether that is always too relaxed (flaccid), or too tense (contracted).

Proper conditioning, is not one state all the time -- but the ability to attain the fullest range of possibilities, as is appropriate to the actual situation and requirements. That is the value of conditioning -- and the meaning of fitness.


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