Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Thinking Fitness (Wholly)

You hear people talking a lot these days about integrating the mind and the body into one -- after first dividing it as separate in functioning and nature. Very seldom is it thought, except maybe in older classical traditions of wholistic development, that it shouldn’t be divided in that way in the first place, and that it would be quite practical for exercise for the mind (brain) is best achieved using the same physiological principle it works for other parts of the body.

It should be quite obvious that breathing and circulation are two highly critical functions that have to be maintained at a minimum for life to be possible at all -- and many will note from diseases and disfunctions, that this same lack of circulation is associated if not caused by this impairment, while quite the opposite happens with enhanced circulation to those areas. They seem to develop, or hypertrophy (grow large and proficient).

The condition most often associated with deterioration in humans (and other animals) is this quality of hypertrophy and atrophy (shrinkage) of the noticeable muscular development of individuals. One can tell basic health and robustness by this indication alone. In modern life, we no longer measure another’s capacity by the number of cords of wood they can chop, but can make those assessments just in those areas still left exposed by clothing (and expression) -- at the face, hands and feet, which actually contain most of the muscles of expression of the human body.

Most people with tremendously atrophied muscles in their hands, or feet, quite predictably suffer from arthritis (pain, lack of comfortable movement, disfigurement), that those with full development and expression maintain. Yet in the typical fitness programs, the underlying premise is the working of the heart muscle, which is a wholly automatic function, and then, the working of the largest muscles of the body, to increase the work of the heart -- while no, or little thought is given to the maintenance and development of the critical muscles of expression that is supported by everything else.

But the primary function are these expressions at the face, hands and feet -- and not the supportive functions, that are not as easily seen, and measured. But the vitality and robustness at the readily visible face, hands and feet are obvious -- and the movements they produce. These differences become even more pronounced with age and disease.

The primary implies the secondary, but the secondary, does not imply the primary, and so in the early days of weight-training, it was often feared that the development of these large muscles interfered with the fine motor development of the muscles of expression for that activity, and so trainers were loathe to build such muscle during the competitive cycle of their season.

However, there is no such impairment or compromise in developing the muscles of expression as the highest priority -- which is the major mistake many fitness programs have taken in their zeal to burn the most calories by working the largest muscles as a priority, if not exclusively. Without this completion or fulfillment of movement at the ends of expression, there can be no fulfillment of purpose, satisfaction and enjoyment that is self-reinforcing -- and so such behaviors become extinguished quickly because they are not reinforced by the normal movements (expressions) of daily living, but are confined strictly to these specially contrived times, places and duties -- as a diversion and drain from primary purpose, and will be abandoned and extinguished, as soon as there is a reason for disruption or distraction.

It’s not natural but needs constant attention, cultivation, maintenance and resolve -- which dooms any enterprise over the long run.


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