Saturday, August 06, 2011

Seeing Through to the Obvious

The distinguishing characteristic of the deterioration (aging) process, is the atrophying (shrinking) of the muscles, which then gives a sagging look to the skin, because there is no longer the underlying support from this musculature. Robustness (health) on the other hand, gives the appearance of the muscles virtually exploding underneath the skin, producing that tautness that is wrinkle-free.

The obvious, most visible places this can be seen is at the face and neck, hands and feet of individuals -- which curiously, very few seem to connect as these obvious vital signs of health. People who look healthy, usually are; and people who look worn and drawn, invariably are under stress and on the limits of their "recovery" ability.

Recovery ability is this margin of reserve -- so that one can recover from traumas, injuries and sickness -- often to become even better than before, but not always, and forever after. Life has a limited recovery ability that has to be understood and managed well -- or one goes over the edge, at which recovery is no longer possible, if one isn't done in by the miscalculation of an overwhelming, fatal challenge.

It might be that one is on the precipice which is just beginning, rather than the hoped for end -- and has no margin of reserve for an even greater (sustained) effort. So in addition to the effort one has already put out, it is just as important to have a little, or as much, or even most, still in reserve -- to ensure one's survival and recovery, and if still possible, betterment.

One can read that just in the appearance -- of what gives one the look of vibrancy and vitality: "that look," is unmistakably that there is more from where that came from, rather than the look of being irrevocably past one's better days and times. So the question the inquiring mind asks on observing any individual, is whether the better and best, lies ahead or behind -- in order to make one's calculations on the future prospects and trajectory for any outcome.

Thus we so often speak of the young as having their best years ahead of them, while unfortunately to many others, we note that most of the life and spark are flickering away, and we would not be surprised to learn, had been extinguished.

Clearly, though not usually, muscle atrophy is not irrecoverable and irreversible -- if one knows what causes muscles to hypertrophy (grow), which is that the muscle has to achieve its fullest contraction -- like the heart characteristically must, but no other "voluntary" muscle must, unless one clearly understands how to make that happen. It doesn't just happen -- like the heart, because nothing else is possible.

That is the most common misunderstanding of the value of exercise, fitness and all the other talk attendant to these activities and desires for improvement in the physical capability of individuals -- which is usually not even on the radar screens of most people calling themselves fitness/exercise instructors. They lack this understanding at the most fundamental level of what is going on -- to produce this movement that produces this beneficial and transformative effect of how muscles work and thus produce this healthful effect. Instead, they think that it is enough just to know that the heart is working -- as though that alone told everything, or enough.

And so they think that the only thing possible, is to make the heart work harder and faster -- which is not the objective or the end of any human activity, but the presumed given. It is not a variable but the constant. The heart will beat no matter what, but everything else is the variable we seek to modify -- and not vice-versa.

Many people with no further education, think that receiving a "certification" for being previously certified, makes them a cardiologist, because they know and use such terms, implying a complete mastery of all the words and terms they use -- like some magical amulet. That one calls their exercise "Cardio," makes the heart know it should get involved, and not calling an activity specifically "Cardio," means the heart will not respond, and they will have to resort to their cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training, to get the heart pumping, or something like that.

That's all that many of these "certifications" certify -- that one was previously certified as having taken the CPR and First Aid training, and not that they have any knowledge and training of anything else besides having duly paid their fee to obtain their certificate. That is perhaps the most outrageous scam of all the multitude associated with health improvement schemes -- that one no longer has to legitimately master any skill, training and teaching, but one is "certified" to do so. They also award "official" certifications for Creative Writing and Resume Writing -- so don't be caught without one.


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