Friday, January 28, 2011

The New Paradigm for Exercise

My father died at 91 of dementia -- despite being a lifetime exerciser (tai-chi, yoga, etc.), and because of that, the core of his body was in remarkably good shape, but the failure was, like many problems of aging and deterioration, distinctly at the extremities of the head (brain), hands and feet, which are prone to diminishing circulation even when one exercises in the conventional ways -- including walking, running, treadmilling, and weight-training, because I noted, there is very little direct movement of the head, hands and feet explicitly, such as turning the head 360 degrees, or as much as possible to the left and right, and then up and down as far as possible -- which causes the muscles of the neck to fully contract and relax, and that alternation, vigorously pumps blood back towards the heart, while evacuating the extremities so fresh blood from the heart can refill the space.

The usual thinking that all that is required to increase the circulation to a specific area, and particularly the extremities by just causing the heart to beat faster, is misunderstood, and the reason most exercise is unproductive -- is because the alternation of full contraction and relaxation of the muscles at the extremity (just as the heart works), is the meaningful variable (measure), and not the heart rate.

In the popular notion of exercise, virtually no attention is given to these movements and their motivating contractions that aid the veins in moving the blood back to the heart from the extremities, which if they are not activated in this way, cause the blood pumped from the heart to immediately return to the heart, rather than flow out to the extemities, where many of the critical (sensory) organs of the head, hands and feet are located, and when they fail, as has been noted, the vital signs may continue at healthy levels, but all responsiveness (fine motor coordination) has ceased -- at the head, hands and feet.

Diabetes, congestive heart failure, arthritis, brain dysfunction, all seem to be distinguished by this decreased flow of blood out of those areas, so that fresh, regenerative blood and neuromuscular impulses that maintain the healthy functioning in those organs and tissues are directly assured and enhanced.

But walking is not going to do it, because one needs to express the articulation fully, as occurs when the heel is lifted as far as possible off the floor, or complementarily, the toes are lifted off the floor as far possible, both extremes, causing the full contraction of the leg muscles -- that does not occur in walking, no matter how many miles. The only way the feet can attain those ranges of extreme contraction, is not to be supporting any weight, and likewise, the hands cannot articulate the fullest range of their movement if it is holding any weight, because the resistance prevents the greatest range of movement, which is also the fullest contraction of that effecting muscle.

The conventional wisdom of the usefulness of exercise is actually counterproductive, in shutting off the flow to the extremities by not producing a very deliberate contraction-relaxation initiated at the extremities to enhance the flow from/to those areas, which then defaults immediately back to the heart because that is the circuit of least resistance, rather than the more laborious trip through the muscles and capillaries. In fact, in observing weigh-training, one notes that the performance of most movements, cuts off the flow to the brain as the trainee constricts their neck muscles, which is the real reason for "failure" to continue -- because it is the brain that senses the deprivation of oxygen before the muscles are impaired, causing the entire body to shut down.

So while the heart and internal organs stay healthy, the brain, face, hands, feet, willful and coordinated movements, are not maintained at their highest levels -- which should be the attention of most importance, which implies the health of everything else -- but not vice-versa. Running is even worst, because one has the destruction of the back, feet, knees, hips, concussions from the high impact which usually causes people to desist from even more injury.

So while the proper exercise and movements would undoubtedly be helpful, curative and preventative, as it is popularly practiced, it may be counterproductive and actually aid the deterioration and injury -- and why most people rightfully avoid it, sensing that it is more damaging than helpful.

But seeing that increasing immobility, and characteristic atrophy of the neck muscles, and lack of decreasing range of motion at the wrists and ankles, should provide an insight into those movements that can be done even by people in the most weakened and deteriorative conditions -- because the whole musculature is designed to enable movement at these critical extremities -- rather than the customary meaningless situps, pushups, jumping, running, and even walking.

That is to say, that if all else fails, if one can retain the fullest range of movement at these extremities of the human body -- and nothing else, one would be in remarkable shape and condition, because even the most formidable athletes in their prime, will also decline in these areas, without the proper attention to those movements and areas of vital concern -- specifically, even in people who have exercised their entire lives in the conventional manner of emphasis to the more obvious and familiar movements.

But that is not where the human body critically fails -- particularly when the brain becomes disconnected from the body -- in the distinctive manner of the dementias, that accompanies decreasing head movement, and the atrophying of the neck muscles as the markers of people in deteriorating health, often and usually attributed to the natural aging process. There is nothing natural and inevitable about it.

While critics have pointed out that the ankles and wrists have no musculature to develop, the insertions of the muscles are at these extremities, and the contraction of muscles, is always initiated in the movement of the insertion end towards the origin, which in turn, becomes the insertion of the larger, supporting muscle -- all the way back to the origin of all the muscles near the heart (conveniently), which makes this the most efficient way to effect all the muscles of the body -- beginning with that understanding, that the entire orientation and design of the human musculature, is to effect the angle of rotation of the structures at the extremities, to enhance survival advantage, or fitness, which we also call the survival of the fittest.

The most commonly misunderstood point, is that the heart has no influence in pumping the blood back to the heart from the tissues, but one can create an adjunct heart, by duplicating this characteristic action of the heart -- of alternating full contraction and relaxation, at the extremities through voluntary, willful movements of the skeletal muscles, to greatly enhance the circulatory effect beyond the effectiveness achieved in thinking the heart alone is the only organ (muscle) responsible to achieve this purpose, and in this manner, six hearts are better than one -- and one can actually increase the effectiveness of the circulation, while the heart does the same -- or less work, as the most consistently overworked organ of the body, while weakened muscles, continue to atrophy.

The maintenance of health at the structures at the extremities, implies the health of their supporting structures, while the opposite is obviously not true.


Post a Comment

<< Home