Sunday, May 08, 2011

The Problems of Longevity (Aging)

As people live longer, what becomes clearer, is that the body begins to break down at the extremities of the body, where the circulation is understandably the poorest -- in being the furthest distance from the heart, but that doesn't make them less important, but are actually, of the most critical importance, since they are the distinctly human organs and features of the head (brain), hands and feet, that make humans the most advanced of life forms.

So to progressively lose those capabilities, makes one decidedly "less human," because one loses those uniquely human capacities to respond to life -- and most exercise prescriptions for maintaining the highest functioning of the human body, have ignored them in favor of organs that make less of a difference, because of the conscious and deliberate attention paid to them -- of the heart, which is an autonomic (automatic) function, and then to the larger, core muscles of the body -- and even thinking that the rules of development and functioning are different for the brain, as they are for the muscles or any other part of the body -- which requires oxygen and blood flow, to maintain their optimal health and functioning.

Of course there is a physical component to mental functioning -- which doesn't continue despite the blood flow being choked off to the brain, while the heart beats frantically -- at its target heart rate. In fact, most of the diseases of aging, are rather distinctly, the problem of a poor (decreased) circulation (movement) to (at) the extremities, becoming critical failures -- as in diabetes, arthritis, congestive heart failure, and dementias -- which while described as diminishing mental functioning (cognitive), is also invariably accompanied by the lack of physical movement of the head, and its various lively expressions, as the whole body begins to adopt an increasingly, statue like impression of immobility and unresponsiveness.

When the circulation gets so bad in the feet and hands, they have to be amputated, which is still not done for the impairment at the head (brain), fortunately, with its obvious consequences. The whole treatment of exercise specialists, is to regard that such functioning and maintenance is automatic -- rather than decidedly voluntary, and where a person can make the biggest difference affecting their health and well-being, because the maintenance of the health of the extremities, implies the health of the rest, but not vice-versa -- as we see with people dying at the extremities, while still maintaining vital health signs for many years after they have stopped all cognitive and voluntary signs of life.

That is the heartbreak of this whole generation of "dying" while the traditional "vital signs," continue for many years beyond -- and one wonders, is there anything one can do to maintain the functioning at those critical vital organs of human functioning and responsiveness as we know it?

Obviously, that would be to place the central importance and measure of health, at these extremities -- rather than at the old measures of this vitality and vigor -- that are rendered meaningless, when these critical (cognitive) faculties are disconnected in this way.

The surprising answer, was in response to my question, is there a movement, that activates all the muscles (600-800), as though it is just one? And that was only possible, in a 360 degree head turn -- which I recalled previously being recommended as the only exercise that one ever needed to do -- by an internist in the '20s or '30s, in a slim volume, of 25 chapters or so, that prescribed this movement as the cure for all bodily ailments and conditions. He called this movement, The Giant (Big) Swing, which was the only exercise he recommended, for 25 "chapters" of cures. (I haven't been able to locate that book again but that was one of my original or confirming inspirations) while I also pondered the question, "What would be the best exercise for developing the neck muscles of the body?", which seemed to be one of the markers of declining mental (cognitive) health as the neck muscles atrophied, especially in talking heads that never moved otherwise. Despite once being known for their mental acuity, they seem to go into a rapid descent -- upon retiring, and becoming increasingly unresponsive in the manner I have described, to become basically, living statues of themselves. Of course that is a horrible end to any life -- let alone a very distinguished one.

There is a cliche in exercise, that if one doesn't use it, they will lose it -- without realizing its fullest implications -- that one has to actually "fire" a neuromuscular impulse at the furthest extremity of the body, to actually maintain the health all along those pathways -- which otherwise, stop at the heart, or wherever hub (axis) one thinks it is important to limit movement to, rather than effecting that movement, at the farthest points of the body -- to ensure those circuits are maintained all the way out -- beyond the hips and shoulders, where most conventional movement (attention) is limited to.

And it is those areas beyond the common (conventional) axes (focus) of movement, that is the problem -- where the body begins to die. Now being aware of this, what would be the inescapable (obvious) solution? Fortunately, they are also the easiest and most convenient exercises to do -- if people were not conditioned to think that exercise has to be hard, difficult and not immediately possible to do -- at any time, condition and position to make that life-altering difference.


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