Friday, May 29, 2015

A Sense of Proportion

Exercise doesn't have to be hard (long), to be effective.  Even for those who (should) know better, that is a difficult conditioning to overcome -- the belief that something good in small quantities, are not better in unlimited larger ones.  While a little walking, running, or any other activity may be all one needs, indiscriminately more has a negative impact -- so it is discovering that delicate balance of greatest benefit for the least risk and wear, is the magic equation -- and not simply more or less, all good and all bad.

The best life, is this constantly balancing act -- of discovering what this optimal relationship of all to all, results in the highest actualization of well-being and functioning.  If one takes too great a risk, danger is imminent, if not certain.  Nevertheless, that is how many people live their lives -- from one catastrophe to the next -- thinking they are wise.  Unlimited risks, do not result in greater rewards.  Usually, only a slight increase in risk, may convey an advantage -- but it is still not equal to a little, all one's life.

Yet the very measure of these things, is often and foremost, how much -- instead of, at all -- which adds up over time, whether that is savings, or just to live (fight) another day.  So before one becomes too advanced in age, the hope is that one gives up as much unnecessary risk-taking, even while knowing that eventual death is a certainty.  Nobody -- not even the gods, seem to have gotten past that one.  That is what we know of life.  That it continues -- until it doesn't.

There is no thought or action, without its impact, and knowing that, one is always asked to make a choice -- while the foolish think they can "have it all."  No matter how much one thinks they know, there is always more that can be known -- and not the lament of the foolish, who think they know it all, and tell everybody as much -- constantly, until they are silenced -- usually by their own actions.  That brought one to the time and place of one's choosing.  One is likely to die -- or live, doing what they enjoy doing -- rather than at what they seldom, or never do.

That is self-evident truth.  In movement, one has to actually go through the motion, and not simply think or wish it so -- no matter how earnestly.  The problem is seldom that one has to overcome a great resistance, as it is to move a bodypart at all -- that one has not moved in a long while.  That simple movement, would be a 100% or even tenfold improvement -- immediately, particularly in those we have given up seeing such responsiveness again.

But if one conditions such movements and never stops because it is made possible in the doing -- one maintains such movement, because one can.  Until one can't.Humanity will get by with some one else bench pressing 500 lbs. or finishing a marathon -- because it has nothing to do with simple, varied, useful  movements.  Yet that is what we don't do -- and wonder why that is lost.  That was never exercised.  Instead, they chose to do things that were not necessary to do -- until they couldn't do them anymore, and even then, did not replace them with the simple movements necessary to maintain their viability and responsiveness in any noticeable manner.

What are they choosing to do instead?  What is the meaning of a bench press or a squat -- to get to that day when they can no longer bear to move at those joints?  And so they don't -- forevermore.  It's not a good tradeoff  -- but we seldom see anything else.  Yet the variety and range of movement,  distinguishes one's vitality -- and not just one motion, repeated relentlessly.  That is the failure of running or walking, no matter how much it is done.  It is only one movement, repeated countless times -- until it inevitably results in destructive wear and stress.

But that doesn't mean that one can't do something else -- just that one thing, of the many things one can be doing.  More importantly in one's conditioning, is to do what one hasn't does before -- not just in making a familiar movement more difficult, but in doing something entirely different -- as the conditioning best suited to solving life's many challenges.

That is the conditioning that enhances one's survival chances -- rather than just doing one thing, no matter how proficiently.  One is conditioning oneself for success in life -- and not just proficiency in any arbitrary and contrived measure, whether that be running, walking or weight-lifting.    The big picture, is much more important than the narrow focus and specialization -- that may have very little value and significance in the big picture -- that is conditioning for successful longevity, which hasn't been achieved so far.

That milestone is achieved by the first person to reach 100, who doesn't look 100 -- as we're familiar with it.  That is obviously the logical step in human evolution -- and not just remaining as we are, longer -- which is totally preposterous and meaningless.  We don't need to decline longer; we need to improve as long as humanly possible -- even if that takes less, and not more -- in variety and range, to achieve that balance.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Even Treadmills Can Be Dangerous

Most people, in considering fitness activities, don't calculate the most important -- which is the risk-to-benefit in doing anything.  Mountain climbers have a tendency to fall from great heights -- and those who love water sports, have a possibility of drowning.  Treadmills force one to move at a greater rate than they are inclined to.  People usually meet their end, doing what they usually do -- whether they like it or not.  That's just a fact of life -- and living.

Thus, one should spend as much time doing what they truly think is worthwhile -- and do that until the very end.  Just watching television, or smoking as one primary activity, robs time and energy from better pursuits.  These days, that might be isolating oneself with one's own thoughts -- while absenting oneself from their actual environment, and what is happening in their immediate vicinity.  That can be dangerous.  Particularly if one is driving a car.

However, that does not mean one should be afraid of everything, or doing anything.  One just has to realize the risks -- that there can be danger in anything -- even running on a treadmill.  Much less dangerous, is just moving one's body -- relative to itself.  Moving the body -- in relationship to external measures, has been the traditional measure of activity -- rather than the internal change of directly improving one's health, which surely, is likely to be more meaningful.  That is, the measure of productivity is effecting movement within the body (circulation and respiration), rather than moving a weight a certain distance in an amount of time.

That actually has very little to do with producing the desirable effects in sustaining lifelong growth, while it could retard it greatly through injury and even death.  But long before that, one can see the success or failure, in the changing health of an individual -- whether they are improving, or deteriorating (disintegrating) -- most notably at the extremities of the head (neck), hands and feet.  Those qualities can usually be determined by the obvious appearance of decreasing vitality and expression -- and measured on performance scales as cognition (mental functioning), grip strength, and balance (foot strength).  Those deteriorations, compromise one's level of functioning in all one does -- and even thinks of doing, anymore.

As nearly as possible, one's conditioning activities, should be as close to their actual usage as possible -- rather than thinking that one grows more proficient, by doing something that has no real world equivalent in practical matters.  One is not simply trying to become the best at the treadmill -- which is the embodiment of activity with no purpose -- but has become the gold standard for so many.  It makes one's heart beat faster -- but so could so many other things, with much more usefulness.

It seems to me that one of the greatest, most useful activities, is to deliberately and systematically optimize the circulation to those parts of the body most vulnerable to the lack of circulation produced by non-use -- and not taking it for granted that that happens just because the heart beats faster -- or at all.  The characteristic of effecting a greater flow, is producing an alternating condition of contraction and relaxation (expansion) in any muscle, which is the pumping effect that is distinctive of the heart, but also capable by any muscle conditioned to produce that same rhythmic effect.

To the body, that is the single most useful "work" that can be done -- to maintain and increase one's health, and produce all those other desirable effects of improved appearance and functioning.  The cardiovascular flow, has to be effected by the neuromuscular flow of impulses that cause that change in state, and greatest range of expression from the relaxed to the greatest contraction -- beginning at the extremity of which there is that deliberate firing to invoke.

Ignoring that, means the typical failure of the extremities to maintain their capabilities, despite the amount of increased work one may be demanding of the heart alone -- which was never designed to do it all.  This is particularly true for those suffering from the deteriorating conditions that begin at the extremities of their body -- and working its way back to the heart because of these circulatory failures -- until the heart may be the only well-serviced and well-functioning organ, even while all else has failed.  Obviously, that is even a greater failure than death itself.  Unfortunately, that is an increasing possibility is such a singularly misguided focus on the value of conditioning activities -- which should be to increase the range of one's activities and competencies, and not just the one while the rest languish and deteriorate into a horrible end.

The greater life, is much greater -- and not just the one, out of proportion to all the others.  That sense of disproportion and imbalance, invariably leads to unforeseen catastrophic results.  Life is the whole -- and not just the part, however important we ascribe to it.  It is the complete development that has always been the objective of every conditioning (educational) program worthy of its time and focus.