Saturday, June 21, 2014

Don't Make of Time An Enemy

A large part of our social conditioning, is the making of time into an enemy -- and never a friend and ally.  If we've learned anything over the course of human history, it is that time always wins -- but there is no reason that one has to be on the other side.  Time is not the enemy unless one insists on making it so -- and most people do, despite knowing that time will always win.

There's really no real reason why one has to run a mile in less than 5 minutes, or lift a heavy weight all at once.  Most often, it is enough that one just gets there -- on their own power, on their own devices, or lifts the heavy load, bit by bit -- until the job is done.  Usually, there are no bonus points, for lifting the full load all at once -- except that one may get to lift an even heavier load the next time -- and the next, until finally, one breaks down.

What pays off -- is persistence and persisting -- more than the haste, because it is well known, that haste seldom lasts but is quickly extinguished, in one way or another.  It has no history of enduring -- when times are good and bad -- but are good as long as the going is  good, and stops when it is not, and is easily discouraged and distracted -- onto something new, until that too loses its luster.  That pattern of behavior is not dependable or enduring, which is what one is looking for, in determining reliability, security and peace of mind -- that enables one to move forward on that base.

Yet many condition themselves, to live in that way.  On days that they want to, they may show up; on days that they don't want to, on the flimsiest of excuses, they won't show up, and it is up to you to guess, when they will and when they won't -- and thereby live on those terms, which is not good enough, even for one's own sake.

That is the treatment and reliability many give to themselves -- their health and their well-being, and so not surprisingly, they have no reserve of riches to draw upon -- when they need them.  Their cupboards are always bare -- and kept that way, so nobody else can access them either -- as the communal abundance everyone contributes to. 

That is the environment and supporting structure that every individual operates in.  It can be optimal and abundant, or it can be a vast desert in which survival is tenuous at all times.  That is what one is building -- besides their own personal resources.  One moves forward, but is also blazing a trail for those who come after them, and building a road to make it easy for the next person, and not just going their won way, oblivious to all the others.  The next person through, may only be themselves.

In this way, people make it easier for themselves, or their lives are always hard, and never gets easier.  They're always starting, from where they started the last time, and so, never moving ahead -- and think that life is nothing but endless repetition, always starting from nothing -- instead of building on what one left off.  That is the constructive mentality of those who build a little each day, as opposed to the destructive mindset of releasing as much energy at once in an uncontrollable rage -- leaving nothing behind and intact, as their only expression of power.  It is power expressed all at once -- but nothing that can be sustained over time, built on, added to, and refined.

That is the regard most have towards their own bodies -- that it is a ticking time bomb waiting to fall apart, and so they're not going to put any energy and time into it, to ensure that it won't.  They're abandoning ship, at the first sign of trouble.  But each has the one body they were born with -- and it makes a huge difference, the care and maintenance they give to it, far down the road.  That makes the greatest difference of all.

It may seem like a small thing -- that one has to care for their own body, before they can care for anything els because it is that body, that will ultimately carry out everything they do.  There is no separation between the thought and the doing.  There is no actor, apart from the action.  One thinks one can do, because they are that person.  Everything else is a delusion --that falls apart in time.

Is time cruel in that way?  Only to the delusions -- but not to the truth.  For the truth, time proves its worth -- even to still be doing it, until the day one dies.  All the others, will long have been forgotten, and fallen by.  It is the countless things one no longer does -- because they cannot be sustained in one's present condition -- and that is the test of any reality.  It doesn't matter that one lifted 500 lbs.,  50 years ago -- if one cannot lift 5 lbs presently, nor no longer thinks to try.  It is more meaningful to move the 5 lbs now, just as it was 50 years ago -- because the 500 lbs, did not make time stand still, and simply repeat as a memory.

So the question one asks is not, what is the most one can do -- and never do anything again?, but what is the least one can do, that ensures one can do the same all the days of one's life?  That is what one wants to do -- all the days of one's life.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Minimum and the Maximum

The first thing one should consider in designing a personal movement strategy (conditioning), is to establish the parameters of the minimum and the maximum -- and not just fixate on the maximum one hopes becomes the minimum.  

The minimum has to be just that -- the absolute minimum one can do at any time, in any condition -- and not only once, when they are at the top of their game in peak condition, or they're discouraged and depressed because they know they cannot do it -- and so never try again.  They don't want to embarrass themselves -- in coming to the realization that they're no longer that once in a lifetime best -- and accept their momentary condition, as what they actually have to work with.  That is dealing with reality -- and not simply the wishful-thinking of what they would like to think.  That always gets one nowhere but farther away from their realities.

That is doing the most simple and basic things until they become automatic -- otherwise, that is putting the cart before the horse, thinking the horse will figure out what you want it to do.  That is the reason for practice -- and actually doing anything great; one has to begin by laying the foundation for that greatness -- which in any case, is constant and steady improvement -- beyond doing the same thing one always did before, and even getting worse at it.

Finally the cognitive dissonance (difference between one's thinking and the actuality) becomes so great, that one is convinced that nothing makes a difference anymore -- and whatever one wishes to think is sufficient.  That's how people go into irreversible decline -- suspecting the worst, but denying it until they are no longer capable to distinguishing any truth anymore.  They just think it is all "entertainment" -- some more entertaining than others, but nothing that has a reality beyond the moment -- lost in the next.

Therefore, nothing ever amounts to any progress -- or even just staying as good as one used to be.  All is simply lost, and there is no base from which they can ever get it back -- or know where "back" is.  Thus the necessity for developing a base, and baseline performance -- not to improve, but to know where one is, and starting from.  Then one can go places.  But first, one has to know where one is -- presently, before it is meaningful to discuss where one wants to be.  One might already be, where one wants to go -- but won't know that, unless they first determine where they presently are.

The minimum, is that baseline grounding -- of where one presently is.  That is what scientist call a "control" -- otherwise, they have no idea of what is different, or changes -- if in fact, there are any.  Most unscientific claims, have no such controls or starting point -- but proves anything the promoter wants to prove, because saying so is enough.

All such claims though, still have to stand the test of time -- that one is still doing it 10 or 50 years later with the same results and effectiveness, and not that what caused them to claim the world championship at one time, results in death or disabling injury in another.  Much of competitive athletics has that fine-line separating the extraordinary performance from a career-ending injury; one hopes not to cross that line, but most inevitably will -- and finally not return, no matter how much the spirit is still willing.

One greatly minimizes the risk of injury from common everyday movements -- by performing a minimum of movements that serve as a warmup and preparation for most movements they make in their daily lives -- regardless of whether they participate in athletic competitions.  That doesn't mean they even have to be competing with themselves -- which some think is a more enlightened thing to do, but is the same competitive mentality that predisposes them to injury and overtraining/burnout, which results in the same premature retirement from such activities -- with the same awful consequences of one going into irrecoverable disability and decline.

The desired maximum is knowing when one is approaching that line without crossing it -- at more infrequent bouts that allow sufficient time for recovery and adjustment to enhanced levels of demands -- over the normal.  But there is this need for both the minimum of daily exercise (warmup), and a slightly more demanding, but more infrequent higher capability of meeting a greater challenge and demand -- on a schedule of once or twice a week -- that can be maintained all one's life.

Just doing the minimum, or just doing the maximum -- is not sufficient.   One needs to do both -- for each to give meaning to the other -- just as the relaxation gives meaning to the contraction -- in the beating of the heart, and why focus on one phase or the other, in preference over the other, is dangerous and counterproductive -- just as it is with all the other muscles of the body.  So just to contract a  muscle for as long as possible, or to relax them for as long as possible -- is not how the body is made to work, but requires both -- or life ceases, and before then, diminishes and deteriorates over a long period of time.

Most people just drop out from these activities -- once their "competitive" days are over, because they have no strategy for lifelong health -- which is the much bigger picture, and greater significance of their lives.  Life doesn't end at 30, or sixty, or even 90 now -- and one hopes to be at their best throughout, although the accolades have long stopped.  Remaining competitive in age-groups limited by the participation, is mostly nonsense because it is not the competition that is important, but a distraction from the essential understanding required to uniquely be one's best.  That is way beyond the competition.  That is one's reason for being, and doing, that will sustain them all the days of their lives.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Why Not Move (Exercise) Everyday?

Would there ever be a day -- or some day(s) -- when one would not (want to) move at all?  And if one does move, wouldn't they want to move as best they can -- just as they would if they were an athlete or performer?  When would one not want to be at their best -- doing the everyday things of one's life.  That becomes the baseline quality of their life -- and not doing things badly, thoughtlessly, or not at all.  That is the improper conditioning one wishes to rectify -- every day of their lives, which becomes who they are.

That is their conditioning -- the way they condition themselves to do things -- each and every day, and not just the "work" days, or the school days, or special occasions that become more infrequent as time goes by -- unless they make it a habit to be so -- every day of their lives.  Those are their "good" days, and all the others are their "bad" days, when they do everything badly -- or not at all, until one day, they can do absolutely nothing well -- if at all anymore.  

That condition is mostly unavoidable -- for most people.  More people make themselves that way -- then become that way because it is imposed upon them by forces "beyond their control," and most would honestly admit that.  For those who do, there is still hope -- unlike those who live in denial that anything they do could make a difference.  Thinking so, makes it so -- but that is only the first part.  The second, which is actually the much easier part, is doing so.

That is why one's daily exercise should be just that -- something they do everyday, and not just on their good days -- that understandably becomes increasingly few and far between, because they don't do it everyday.  So rather than running a marathon everyday, or attempting a personal best all-out lift as the only way they think of moving and exercising, everyone should start at the beginning -- of the most rudimentary movements one makes to enhance their health and well-being, which is not surprisingly, the same for everybody.

Those are the critical movements at the head (neck), hands (wrist), and feet (ankles) -- which most people don't move, or think is important to move -- and so can't, as they "age," because those are the pivotal points that they have overlooked, and even avoided moving, in preference to what they have been convinced are the other areas to move and develop -- but ignoring the critical faculties that ultimately define their functioning as effective human beings -- at the head, hands and feet.

These failures, are effectively and reliably, the critical failures of human functioning -- at the head (thought), hands (grip), and feet (balance) -- which are the markers of proficiency and/or impairment.  Those who lose those capacities, are usually adjudged to be in decline -- regardless of whether their hearts are still pumping.  In fact, the most distressing and shocking encounter for many, is the first time they meet with a totally unresponsive person, who sits or lies for days on end in that way -- until their fortunate passing.

So the question is, how do we not get that way -- and what can we do about it, each and every day so that we never get that way.  The answer is surprisingly simple -- and easy, and requires one to move at those specific areas for 20 minutes each day, the first thing one does -- every day!  If one does anything for 20 minutes a day -- each and every day, they will become good at it -- and remain so each and every day, until they don't.  It is simply that simple and easy -- but those who would be "experts," think that they have to make that as complicated, painful and difficult -- as their superior strategy overriding millions of years of evolution that makes the effective and efficient triumph with the passing of time.

In the meantime, one can do anything for a short while -- before realizing they can't sustain that pace indefinitely, and move on to something else for another while, until in the end, there's nothing that can sustain their interest and effectiveness, and so they stop -- for the remainder of their lives, and their exercise then becomes telling us what they used to do -- as though that was an adequate substitute for what they can do now -- which is increasing less, until nothing -- and most accept that pattern as the normal and inevitable experience of life, rather than the result of their present conditioning. 

That is invariably, if not deliberately, not to move at the head (neck), hands (wrist), and feet (ankles) -- which in time, proves absolutely disastrous -- when one no longer can move there.  And that is where most of the effectiveness of movement becomes telling -- in the growing ailments and disabilities that manifest there foremost.  When that diminishing responsiveness is complete, even the vital ability to communicate with others, ceases and becomes a living death for those who remain in that condition -- for however long it is possible to keep their hearts pumping.

But that alone, is not enough to ensure lifelong health and functioning at the extremities that become the first to fail because of the diminishing capacities of effective circulation to those areas -- specifically, and as priorities -- beyond competition and familiar athletics.  It requires a different model of conditioning -- for a longevity of usefulness and vitality -- that was never possible before.  That is the challenge of these times -- that requires a new understanding that works, rather than the same one that doesn't -- because they can't/won't do it when they most have to.

That is even the traditional requirement that one has to stand, or get into any other difficult position to master in order to execute -- rather than wholly rethinking what are the real requirements of meaningful movements to exercise, and keep healthy all one's life.  Obviously one loses those capacities they take for granted and never exercise (move).  That is the vitality and responsiveness expressed and exercise at the head, hands and feet specifically and directly -- and in doing so, will impact all the other muscular structures of the body -- because it is not possible to do so otherwise.  That is the quantum leap that makes lifelong exercise possible and effective -- while the familiar traditional conditioning has proven not to, and in fact, makes impossible to achieve.

One simply makes it easier to accomplish -- because of a better, simpler understanding of the process -- effected (exercised) daily, because nothing else makes more sense to do -- every day of one's life.