Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Stepping Into the 21st Century

As the GP commenter below points out, running is especially bad for those who are overweight, previously injured (from running), or are not ideally built for that activity -- which pretty much eliminates large swaths of the population, so that we easily get down to the 5% who will experience no problems running but will probably experience pain and discomfort that will discourage most people from continuing for long.

That's why even most champions in their sports have to eventually retire from it entirely eventually, and take up activities that haven't suffered that irreparable damage. In sporting activities, generally those who participate are the 5% of the population favorably disposed to that particular activity, and from that gene pool, they select the further top 5%, to arrive at the 99.9% individual, which is largely what athletic competition at the highest levels are.

One notices at the Tour de France, they all have practically the identical body type, which is not ordinarily seen except in that mass gathering of similarly disposed people. Among top marathon runners, the world class also have a very predetermined genotype that makes them not only suitable for this event, but they don't even seem to be breathing hard at the end.

On the other hand, the many others who are not so gifted, are torturing themselves just to finish -- because try as they might, they don't have that makeup, but with running or walking, it's not as definitive as the "uneven bars," and so the differences are not as obvious except to a well trained eye.

But that is what world class trainers can detect in any group of people -- the 5% before they even start to train them. They don't walk into a roomful of children and select them randomly for further training.

And it is especially true that running is not the best activity for those wanting to get into their best shape -- usually beginning from a grossly overweight condition. That should be obvious even to those who advocate running -- and if not, one should seek alternative advisers because that's why there are different activities and disciplines, and personal styles.

A movement that works for such people is to shift their weight from side to side, and one foot to another, and with the foot not supporting the weight, articulate either a toe raise or heel raise, which action will shorten (contract) ALL the muscles of the leg -- while requiring no knee or hip movement, and producing no impact from a foot striking the ground with all their bodyweight.

Similarly, one can create that same effect making a fist and then rotating that fist palmward or knuckleward, to produce that same shortening of all the arm/torso muscles -- without requiring vigorous movement at the elbow and shoulders which are the vulnerabilities similar to the knee and hip.

Finally, one should daily practice the full range head movement as far as one can move the head to the left, and then as far to the right, producing a torso rotation (torsion) to ensure muscular development of the neck and blood flow to the brain, both which are the markers of aging and overall body deterioration which traditional exercises like running do not address because there is no movement (directed circulation/neuromuscular stimulation) expressly to those critical vulnerabilities of the human body.

We can and should design the state of the art in movements -- instead of assuming that the most primitive, is the highest possibilities of that expression and articulations. We need to step into the 21st century -- and not simply fight the lions in the coliseum.

This then, makes the benefits of exercise even accessible to the weakest -- even the bedridden and wheelchair bound -- rather than putting them there.


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