Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Movement is Change

What ultimately makes anyone fit, is their ability to change -- or adapt to the actual requirements of any challenge -- rather than to stay the same throughout their entire lives, which many think is remaining young, immature and steadfast -- all one's life.

That does not make one highly adaptable though they may be ideally suited for one set of circumstances -- but when those circumstances, conditions and environment change, they cannot change to adapt to it and perish, or likely are greatly compromised and dysfunctional -- because their perfect adaptation to only one set of conditions, doesn't allow for any flexibility to change for another.  We see that all around us, all the time -- when people respond in the way they have been conditioned to, even though the realities, that require their urgent, timely and fit(ting) responses, are something other than what they think they are, or may not think at all about them.

The presumption is that one should be that one way -- all the time, every time -- though the requirements for appropriate action, may be other than what that individual is prepared to deliver each and every time, at every moment in their lives.  Such people often wonder, why is it that I am doing everything I can do, yet there is no favorable result?  Simply doing anything, is very seldom likely to be the right thing, which is what one must determine before doing anything.

Yet those who like the sound of their own words, regardless of whether what they say has any meaning or relevance, will think they have said something of great wisdom and significance -- feeling quite satisfied, that anything is better than nothing.  But the wise person knows, those who talk do not know, and those who know, do not talk -- unless they actually have to.  For silence, they know, is a mind inquiring to find out what it does not know -- while the chattering mind, does not want to know it doesn't know, and does not know how to find out.

That is the importance of a quiet mind and body -- ceasing effort, and in that state, taking in the new information, rather than the continuation of thought and action that may have long ceased to be timely and appropriate.  That is the importance of non-action, or the principle of wu-wei.  It is the rest between the heart beat.  It is as important as the action.

So it is important not just to be one-way all the time -- but one state or condition, gives meaning to the other.  Thus one's conditioning for the ultimate survival -- which is life itself -- is learning the maximum effort (peak contraction), but also as importantly, the fullest relaxation of those muscles which produce movement by their alternation.  Such conditioning, would prepare one for all the responses one might conceivably have to make -- and not just the one movement (treadmill) that is neither the greatest contraction or relaxation, but only constant, unvarying busyness -- regardless of what is happening.

Of course such conditioning, has very little value to a person with a wide range of interests and activities in their daily lives, let alone for the extraordinary demands of life in the balance -- requiring that one do what one has never done before, or even imagined they could (would have to).  One often witnesses this total relaxation, just preparatory to a world record attempt -- but that was the requirement, for that supreme effort to be achieved.

Most just won't notice it.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Great Secret of Health

How healthy you are, implies how well you are doing.  That should be self-evident truth -- and not how much you are "making," or spending on health care -- or anything else for that matter.  Health (prosperity) is not how much time, energy and money one spends trying to obtain health, fitness and well-being -- but is the simple and apparent actuality of it -- lost in all the marketing, promotions and ignorance of it.

First of all, it is not the exclusive turf of any one group of professionals and experts who dispense these things -- because only they can and have been duly authorized (certified) to do so.  As always, people have to provide it to themselves, for themselves -- and that is the Great Secret of Health -- nobody can provide it for another.  That is what each can only give to themselves, provide for themselves.

Of course they can learn from others -- but each individual has to learn what works for themselves, as well as others, but also what may work for others, but not for themselves.  Individual variation improves the fitness and survival of the species because it allows enough range of tolerance and adaptability so that 100% of the species are not wiped out by any one monumental challenge -- but a few survive and go on to perpetuate and revive the species.  Thus the greater the diversity in this regard, the better the chances of survival -- not just for the one, but for the entire species.

And while many organizations and trade associations will arise from time to time to proclaim their supreme knowledge of what is best for all humanity for all time, that knowledge is by nature's design also imperfect -- and a work in progress.  There is no ultimate, final answer on anything -- but an ever-evolving better one.

Doctors, or even personal coaches, cannot make one the best -- because they'll neverr know, nor have the time and interest to become the world's leading expert on every individual.  They serve best by becoming their own best selves -- in learning of themselves, as well as others -- and so their function is to make one as much like the others (normal) as possible, which is not necessarily one's best -- unless they are that theoretical normal "average."  But obviously, the average is not the best, or it would not be best, but only average -- whatever that is.  And there is nothing wrong with knowing that -- and how to get there if one isn't at that level.

But some will never get there, because they just don't have it in them -- while a few will never be average because they were born with abilities that far surpass the normal -- to begin with.  But each is working with what they were born with -- and then can refine to a remarkable degree.  Not everyone is born at average height or weight -- quite obviously.  Some people may grow to 7' tall, and a few only to 2'.

Those particularly on the far ends of the extremes, will never know what a "normal" life is -- but they'll know what is normal for them, and how they can become better (and worse) at what they do and the persons they are.  So telling and advising wha the "average" are, has actually very little relevance to how any individual can achieve the greatest health and functioning on the arbitrary measures of what it would take to become normal.

That is especially true in discussing "normal" aging, which is our expectations that people should be deteriorating in the proper manner we've only seen before -- rather than that we haven't seen before -- as the new health paradigm.  We already see that in a few -- of people who actually begin to blossom at "retirement" -- which would be a brilliant time to do so.  If only one could.

Certainly, one won't or can't, if they dismiss that possibility beginning at the first hint and suggestion that their recovery abilities are no longer inexhaustible -- as most normally do at 30, 40 and 50, so that by the time they are 60 and upon "retirement," don't think there is any hope for persisting long at that rate of decline.  But if that decline becomes improvement at any point, then the prognosis is quite a different story and a different outlook.

Monday, June 04, 2012

The Heart (Or the Mind) Is Not Everything

About as preposterous as anything, is the belief that some how, some way, the heart alone will pump all the other muscles (and organs) into shape, rather than the much more verifiable, obvious and apparent action of the skeletal (voluntary) muscles pumping themselves into shape through those specific, directed actions.  That is the reason why it is quite possible and common to see those who have developed one specific set of muscles at the expense and even the detriment of all the others -- by only working those muscles -- and not all the muscles equally, as would be the case if only the heart was responsible for that development -- because there would be no way for it to develop one over any other.

But we do see disproportionate development usually -- rather than the proportionate, symmetrical development that would be invariable if only the heart function were all that was necessary to achieving those ends -- but obviously, that is not what is happening to those with hearts beating fast or slow.  What is necessary, is voluntary muscular action in addition to the constant and autonomic heart function, to direct that flow specifically to where and how one wishes that development to optimize, and conversely, to remove the impediments to such flows and development that one is previously not conscious and aware of -- that may be stunting or preventing growth.

In most cases, that would simply be the lack of awareness that such movements and articulations are even possible -- as the fullest movements of the head, hands and feet -- which are usually totally ignored in favor only of the increased heart action -- because such instructors, are not aware of any other muscular functioning -- and that is why no amount of exercising with such instruction, will achieve those desired results -- despite all the time, energy, pain, injury and effort, because it totally lacks any understanding of simple and obvious cause and effect.

Muscles (the body) gets into shape, because one puts it into those shapes -- directly or indirectly -- but won't get into those shapes (conditions) unless it knows how.  That is usually the rationale for instruction -- rather than that they have no idea how because all they know with certainty, is how the heart works as a pump, and how to simulate that action if it doesn't -- while waiting for the emergency response personnel to arrive.  But knowing that, is not going to enable one to achieve and sustain optimal muscular development and functioning -- which is all one can do, and not the least signs of life.

You can't extrapolate and interpolate such actions meaningfully -- because those are extraordinary interventions -- and not wholly willful and modifiable ones.  Then it becomes meaningful to prefer one set of actions over random many others -- and think those efforts can make a difference.  But if one believes simply that anything is better than nothing, than such discussions are already meaningless and futile -- because anything goes, and one is satisfied to believe whatever one already believes -- despite the fact that it has put them into the shape and condition they don't want to be in -- and feel powerless to do anything about.

How that is an advance in human or individual progress is truly mystifying and obviously, those operating with that worldview, are virtually impossible to have an intelligent discussion with -- and achieve any intelligible results from those discussions.  Masterful instructors recognize the futility of such instruction, in preference for those to whom instruction is much more beneficial and effective as a validation of their own ability to distinguish these differences -- of what really makes a difference.

This greater awareness is the difference between focusing on the one thing -- to the awareness of all things, and how they relate to one another -- and not everything in isolation -- which is the current state of the art in understanding, which is how we want to condition ourselves to be in.  But we can't just think about it, or wish it were so -- but have to actualize it in movement -- as the flow that is how the body shapes itself.

That is the remarkable revelation to those who have conditioned themselves to think that getting into the shape they want to be in is a long and torturous process -- that they have the power to do so instantly -- as what their muscles are capable of doing, but don't know how to do.  It is not a process or necessity of becoming someone (something) else to do 

That was the striking revelation in conducting one of the first scientific studies of weight-training among a diverse group of admittedly self-selected individuals.  In exhaustive and thorough documentation of before and after results, what was most striking after several weeks of training, was that the greatest change and improvement, lay in people's abilities to momentarily change their shape and condition immediately.  That is the skill they learned to do -- and become proficient at.

To a certain extent, that is what most bodybuilders do, and what their competition is mostly about -- except that the most meaningful and significant changes, occur individually -- rather than against those with different favorable and unfavorable genetic predispositions.  That is to say simply, that for every individual, their own unique ability to transform themselves to whatever extent they feel possible and necessary, is much more meaningful than in competing against everybody else in doing so -- all starting from different levels of proficiencies, aptitudes and motivations, which throughout life, will invariably change and be in flux.

In this regard, the world champion may actually show the least ability to change (improve) -- because they begin with a high level of proficiency that may already exceed the gene pool, but are so highly specialized, they may restrict themselves only to what they do well -- and not develop fully beyond those talents, as preparation for the day when they are no longer the best at what they do.  Many begin a spiral of disintegration in that day of reckoning -- because that is not the world they have optimized for -- when they are old and vulnerable, and can no longer compete, or are "competitive."

How do they change and adapt then?  And that is far more meaningful to individual lives than who is the present world champion or record holder, which will always be somebody -- but not necessarily themselves, and can one live with that?  Competitions take place in very specialized categories and highly ritualized protocols -- but are not all or the totality of life and human activities and what is meaningful and important to do.  Life itself, is far more important than any, or many competitions, usually as amusement and entertainment, for which winning is not everything, or even, the only thing.

At any and every moment of people's lives, their greatest survival skill (fitness) is their ability to change and respond to the urgencies of their individual lives as appropriately and effectively as possible, and be in that condition of readiness to do so -- and not simply in measuring one against every other, because one can.