Monday, February 21, 2011

Maintaining and Improving (Mental) Health and Condition(ing)

Most people are conditioned to think that the rules of health and condition(ing), are different for the brain than they are for the rest of the body, and so think that the best way to improve that functioning, is by "mental" exercises only, rather than traditional movements that improve the circulation to every other part of the body -- through the directed action of the muscle acting as a pump, in the familiar action of the heart, which is the full contraction alternated with a full relaxation, in a rhythmic, persistent movement.

Even with the heart, a contraction not alternated with a relaxation, is meaningless and unproductive; the one give meaning and value to the other -- but some advocates of one thing or another, think that only the contraction has value and the rest is a waste of time or nothing to be concerned with, or they think that the relaxation, is the only "effort" of great value, and ignore what a contraction entails -- rather than appreciating that they are both equally of value, and most importantly, the ability to change from one to the other. Those extremes of focus on one phase, are isometrics at one end, and yoga, or relaxation techniques at the other extreme -- often warning against the hazards of the other.

But really, fitness would logically be best expressed as the range of movement from one extreme to the other, and the ease by which that can be accomplished -- so as to be seemingly effortless, as appropriate to the situation. If one is too tense, relaxation is the greater benefit; if one is constantly and perpetually torpid, a few efforts of intense muscular action (contraction), can change that impression as well as condition immediately -- because that is what the body is designed to do -- change.

That action of "change," is unfortunately not taught, while "states" and "status," are -- in a conditioning program preferring one state to the other, and not appreciating, that it is the one that gives value to the other. And thus, to be a complete and healthy human being, is to be the greatest range of expressions and possibility, and not the unvarying one, that of course makes life boring, tedious, and unhealthy, because of a failure or reluctance to adapt easily and appropriately.

So the problem of those who are not in the favorable condition they wish to be in, is their conditioned resistance to change, so even if they do anything, it is largely to reinforce their present condition(ing), rather than to change it. And this is why, changing the understanding, is more important, than charging out and doing anything, and any amount of anything -- thinking that that makes a difference, or any difference, while thinking that their understanding is fine, and what they need is just more effort, time and money -- and everything will be perfect.

So when I told the head of research for studies on dementia at a leading university of my observation that those with those condition seldom exhibited head movement also, I was shocked by her response, that one shouldn't move their head or they would get whiplash, which was her interpretation of head movement -- as she further stiffened her head to show that such a thing was not possible.

But the circulation to the brain, is governed by the same rules that govern the circulation to every other part of the body, of which the heart plays an undoubtedly essential role, but is complemented, by the action of the voluntary muscles that push the blood (fluids) back towards the heart and filtering organs, and by that process, health is maintained and increased because optimizing that effect, naturally empowers growth beyond the present state (condition).

For that reason, people become healthier by simply functioning better in that way. Every person I've ever seen in deteriorating health and condition, showed this notable atrophying of the muscles and condition at the neck, hands and feet -- as the sign of the suboptimal circulation to those critical areas of the human body, that attended to, assures the health of the rest -- because that defines the range of the health maintenance that can be circumvented otherwise.

So that must be the foremost consideration in any conditioning program -- beyond all else, because a fully enabled and empowered brain, automatically takes care of the rest of the body, because attention has been directed there first -- and not at the expense of the brain, as in most conventional conditioning activities, movements and practices.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Only A Little Bit of the Right Thing Is Neccessary

The secret and magic of doing anything, is to identify the 5% of the effort, that produces 95% of the desired results -- and instead of going for the remaining 5% requiring 95% of the effort -- looking for the next 5% producing the 95%, as more than bountiful rewards for all one's time and efforts.

Therefore, hearing that someone is giving 110%, is not an indication of that ability to discriminate that which is most productive to pursue -- because a maximum benefit can only be 100% -- and that can never be achieved with any certainty. But if one can consistently achieve 95% on top of 95% -- time and again, that is far more than the best can hope for, while those thinking to get 101% will fall further and further behind with every subsequent effort until they are so disappointed, and frustrated, that they no longer even try.

That is also the world of reality -- that nobody approaches anything with absolute certainty, controls all the inputs, and manufactures all the outputs precisely and exactly each time -- so that there is in fact, an allowance for that uncertainty, and the ability to respond to the unanticipated, as much as with the expected/hoped for results and outcomes. This explains why those with the ability to handle different situations, are more "fit," than those who can handle only one thing -- and explode/implode when they don't go that way. There is no provision for failure, or the unexpected -- which is not fitness, but a certain prescription for failure, disappointment and extinction.

Knowing this, one would never "train to failure," or come even close, but would further increase their margin of reserve for the unexpected -- which also becomes one's recovery ability, or ability to handle sickness, injury and trauma as well -- instead of being chronically depleted, and even debited on those accounts. The best indication of this, in regards to exercise, is to determine at what level, daily exercise is sustainable and welcomed -- rather than avoided, because one is exhausted from those workouts -- and thus must take several days if not weeks, to recover from that exhaustion, depletion and often injury.

Not surprisingly then, one will realize that a very minimal amount of daily preconditioning, is sufficient for one to prepare oneself to perform the rest of one's normal activities and movements, at optimal efficiency and performance -- and not that extraneous activities and efforts, should now take over one's lifestyle -- and even become one's reason for being in itself.

That would be counterproductive -- but alluring to those lacking meaning and purpose otherwise. It rarely is the case that anybody does absolutely nothing from the moment they awake to the moment they go to sleep again, doing absolutely nothing. In fact, it would be rare to find such a person -- because most normal people have to get an adequate amount of activity just to provide for an acceptable level of maintenance for themselves, let alone the demands of most jobs. If nothing else, they would have to assure their employers or supervisors, that they were still alive at periodic intervals, to continue to collect their paychecks.

Yet many exercise "experts" think that the average person's activity levels drop so low, that the reason for a conditioning program, is to resuscitate themselves and get their hearts beating as though they had no idea that it is an autonomic function of the body that will be the last sign of life to dissipate, and is the least likely organ to be underperforming in their entire body.

Attention, rather, would more productively be directed to those areas that aren't performing so regularly and reliably, as the source of one's deconditioning
problems -- especially when they are so obvious at the most visible parts of the body -- which is the head (face), hands, and feet. To detect signs of that vibrancy and vitality, doesn't require one to jump up and run a few times around the block, or drop down for 100 pushups or situps, but is easily detectable to the discerning, who merely notice that range, and when it seems unduly restricted and limited.

Conversely, the quickest read of one in extraordinary health, is the obvious prodigy and vibrancy of such movements -- that seem to extend the range of movement and expectations for such movements that are distinctively described as the fine-motor control of the human body, that produces and expresses the highest attainments in every individual's life -- whether in art, music, athletics or thought (writing and speaking).

That fine-motor control, is what distinguishes the highest attainments and capabilities, and not just heart beat, which will always be the last thing to differentiate life from certain (absolute) death. Those proficiencies, also make life meaningful, and not simply prolonging the heart beat as long as possible -- whether anything recognizable as a normal, healthy responsiveness, has ceased and is no longer detectable. That is increasingly the problem of those who live extended lives but with no cognition or responsiveness to make it meaningful and recognizable to anybody else -- even if they always carry a heart monitor with them, and are overly concerned only with that functioning -- as the measure of one's greatest fitness and capabilities.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

The Primary Function of the Brain is One's Health

Many people would find that statement an extraordinary thing to say, and a few, would even think it to be an extraordinarily dumb thing to say, because in their worldview, everything is unconnected to everything else, so one's health particularly, is independent of any, and especially, the sum of the parts. That is how disconnected they are from their own body, to say nothing of their disconnection from the rest of the world. To their mind, nothing that is happening inside it, has anything to do with what is happening outside it -- and everything they do, and think, is to reinforce the separation of one thing to any other.

And so it is not surprising, that "bad things" just happen, with increasing and predictable regularity, in their lives and all around them, and there is nothing they can do about it, because nothing is related and connected to anything else. This unhealthy worldview, is the perfect prescription and prediction, of great calamity in the world -- beginning with such individuals. So it particularly pleases them, to hear that those who have believed otherwise and taken great care of the fine details , meet of some unforeseen disasters despite their careful considerations and preparations, while failing to see the successes of those responses, that limit any damage, or often, make it seem like a non-event.

Thus one has to be impressed when a major earthquake, typhoon, flood, and fire occurs, and no lives are lost or impaired, because the collective intelligence and culture made it so -- because that is what intelligence does, and not simply play more elaborate mental games -- to distinguish and separate oneself from the rest. That is the integrative nature of intelligence -- that it becomes integral to all that is happening, and not something apart from it.

In this way, the greatest manifestation (intelligence) of the brain, is the health of that individual, and the environment they manifest around them -- and not the scores they achieve on IQ tests, but in the actual living of life itself. So when one hears of the latest study that shows that intelligent people are more attractive than less intelligent people, that would seem to be a self-evident truth -- that one would use their intelligence, to be more attractive -- as a manifestation of intelligence, just as producing a great work of art, a sublime insight, a great piece of music, and themselves, as their greatest work of art.

That would not be vain and stupid, but actually, a real achievement, of their greatest possibility (intelligence) -- and not the denial that such things should ever matter to an intelligent person -- or that there should ever be the valuing of one thing over any other -- including health over sickness and impairment. Such people will use their "intelligence," to construct elaborate arguments that that is so -- while really intelligent people, will recognize that it is a waste of time to try to convince such a person otherwise, and let events and consequences take their course, of teaching them otherwise -- because one could argue endlessly with those who have no other point but to create and prolong such arguments -- as though that was an intelligent thing to do, and a mark of intelligence.

So it is not surprising, that the mind that is always creating these divisions and resulting conflicts, invariably suffer these consequences of seeing everything as unrelated and unconnected to everything else, while those who recognize and maintain these connections and relationships as well as possible, seem to become masters of the environments they live in -- rather than to always be in struggle and at odds with everything and everyone around them.