Monday, May 29, 2017

Just Do the Hard Part -- The Rest is Easy

In most people's exercise, they spend most of their time doing the resting -- while avoiding the hard part -- and so their results "show" it.  Despite all they say they do, it looks like they have not done anything -- or at least nothing productive, for the results they want to achieve.

But with time and persistence, they may get better, and those results will manifest -- unless they continue to have no idea of what they are doing, and hope to achieve.  For unfortunately many, they have no real idea of what they are doing -- except that somebody instructed them to do so, who professed to know better -- but often, that "expert" showed the same lack of desirable results that would inspire confidence in the discerning student.

That is particularly so as people get older -- and show less results for their efforts, until eventually, they stop all efforts and accept the fact that nothing they do anymore, seems to work -- even if it might have when they were younger.  But now, everything they know, has betrayed them -- rather than realizing that what they know, may not have been valid in the first place -- and what seemed to work, was not the reason they thought.

That realization should challenge them to further inquiries -- rather than causing them to abandon any further inquiries and learning.  Learning, they will insist, is what only young people need to do -- and not everyone, every day of their lives.  That's the only thing that makes sense, right?  

Any learning begins with just paying attention -- and seeing what is actually happening, rather than what they would like to think or believe is happening.  There often is a huge difference among people in that -- which largely accounts for their success in dealing with the world, in all its interfaces and interactions.

The large disparities between what one does, and what they believe they are doing, or would like to have everyone else believe, is cognitive dissonance.  The results usually override -- sooner or later.  Nowhere is that more true than in the rapidly declining health and well-being of those who think they are doing everything "right" -- with only disastrous consequences as a result -- producing injuries, worse conditioning and functioning, even death -- despite all the good they think they are doing.

That was notably true of those participating in bodybuilding competitions in the 90s -- when many of their luminaries started dying of various forms of heart failures -- and other critical failures of the human body, because they were exercising them to "failure," in the mistaken belief that what did not kill them, made them stronger.  It caused the thoughtful to begin to back off from that dangerous manner of thinking -- and reflect, that that manner of conditioning did not seem to be working -- especially if longevity and well-being in it, was also a part of the equation.

So now, with definitively established longer life spans, thoughtful individuals want to enjoy those peak years for more than ten before prematurely dying, or being disabled for the rest of life -- especially as a result of their conditioning activities.  Yet people are still allowed to abuse themselves in the many ways -- until the reality hits the fan, and they can no longer physically continue.  Not coincidentally, that's what usually ends most athletic careers -- the injuries, no matter how great they were at one time.

What matters now, is simply doing the best they can -- at living their everyday lives and activities.  Still, that can be done and improved for considerably longer and better than most think is possible, by avoiding the extremes of overexertion (abuse) alternated with extreme inactivity, negligence and indifference.

What is surprising, is how little attention, time and energy is needed to attain those beneficial effects -- when all the beliefs, thoughts and destructive conditioning are abandoned, and proper thought and observation merely introduced.  In most activites, beginning with the basic muscle contraction, most of the time and movement is actually devoted to relaxing and resting the muscle in preparation for its "firing" -- which is very brief, followed by a prolonged relaxation phase -- again.  

But it is the contraction only -- that puts the muscle in the shape and condition one wants it to be (toned), and not the relaxation.  One of the earlier realizations of this, resulted in the promotion of what was called "isometric" exercises -- which was to get into a fully contracted muscular position and then hold it for as long as possible -- which required one to also stop breathing, and produce undesirable internal pressures as a result.

An even earlier version of that training style, was popularized by Charles Atlas as dynamic tension -- which didn't require weights, but pitting one muscle against another -- in a prolonged contraction -- also requiring, that one hold their breath to prevent moving out of that contraction.  There is no reason, or advantage for holding a contraction as long as possible -- as doing so increases the disastrous effects, that multiple, extremely brief discrete pulsing contractions while maintaining that position, does not.

There's no reason or necessity to move a muscle back into the completely relaxed (extended) position -- except to give it more rest, for a next attempt.  One can eliminate that portion of the movement, and simply pulse further contractions -- while maintaining the original contracted position -- forcing muscles not recruited in the original contraction to fire -- until all the muscle fibers are recruited (exhausted) in that way.

The result is that one is immediately toned and conditioned by using the muscles in that way -- to achieve their maximum contracting capability -- and deliberately eliminating the rest that is most of the time one is "exercising."  And so very brief workouts are necessary to achieve maximum results -- immediately, and with frequent practice, one gets better at it -- also very quickly.

This economy and efficiency -- while also eliminating the possibility of joint pain and injury (which is the characteristic pain/danger of contracting from a fully extended position) -- is what anybody can do -- anytime, anywhere, very inconspicuously -- because the entirety of the movement, is confined within the body -- with minimal visibility of external movement (which is not what is producing growth).  And that is what is really important -- not the overt, but the inverted movement of the muscles -- even with minimal visibility, or show, for anybody else's benefit, or approbation.  But that is the way we've been conditioned to exercise -- for the visible benefit of others -- rather than what is going on inside the body.  That -- is presumed, but results in the lack of desirable effects/results -- obviously.

The joints are minimally stressed -- because there is minimal movement at the joints in their strongest positions -- while still activating the muscles -- which is a major disincentive for aging, aching joints -- while providing superior muscle activation and stimulation of the nerve pathways.  That's what one really wants to do -- to attain, retain and enhance the optimal responsiveness of the voluntary muscular system by which we accomplish most things in our daily living.

It undoubtedly is a major shift in thinking (paradigm shift) -- when the well-established ideas no longer work -- especially when it critically must, in the aging.  That is the test of time.  The most obvious and highly visible proof -- are the parodies of the aging bodybuilders, who doing (or trying to do) the same things they did before, no longer get the same results -- and frequently are discouraged from continuing by the innumerable and overwhelming pain caused by those movements (exercises) and misadvised to endure the pain to even greater tolerances -- yet still the gains are not forthcoming. 

Injuries and debilitating pain eventually cause them to quit entirely -- instead of rightfully reflecting and rethinking what they are doing.  Often in primitive conditioning, that is expressly prohibited -- that one should question what one is doing, and merely respond, "How high?" when commanded to jump.

So the question is, what movements can one do -- without the pain, and only the productivity?  One begins by eliminating the extraneous -- even as widely as they are the unquestioned and unchallenged truths (premises) of what one is doing.  Is it necessary to lift a heavy weight -- to produce a muscle contraction, or is it sufficient just to know what position is the contracted position -- and pulse further contractions, while exhibiting very little movement externally?

You're not doing it to impress others -- or even set a Guinness World's Record for the oldest person to finish a marathon -- or climb Mt. Everest, for that matter.  One really hopes to be the oldest person going about their normal daily activities -- without any signs of impairment, pain and disability.  That is the obvious.  Straggling across the finish line looking like one is dying, is totally unnecessary at that point in life.  Many look that way without trying.

Muscle control and responsiveness -- even without the conventional measures of validation -- are impressive in themselves, especially at that point and stage of life.  Not to be moving feebly, or even grossly, is the faculty maintained by a rare few.  Masterly control and movement cannot be faked.  That is the manifestation and appearance of a healthy, well-functioning individual.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Lucky Accidents

The greatest discoveries in every life are not those merely confirming what one hopes to know -- but is the unexpected, unanticipated, and unforeseen.  Merely to confirm what one already hopes, is merely to confirm what one already knows -- and the great learning, is discovering worlds and possibilities one had no idea existed before.  

That is the limits of human understanding -- thinking what they know, is all that can be known, and never bothering to find out anything more.  It doesn't matter how much they know -- because what they don't know, is infinitely greater.  It takes a truly intelligent person to realize that -- but that is all they need to know.  When one knows they do not know, then they can easily find out -- because that is the inquiring mind.  The mind too full of its own knowledge -- which is usually not working, simply denies that everything is not as it should be.    

That is the mind in denial of everything as it truly is.  Everything goes wrong despite of everything they do -- and not because of everything they do.  The outcomes are always random -- and they are quite proud of that enlightenment, and resulting self-righteousness.  If only the world knew, everything they knew, all would be right with the world.

And so they develop "ideals" apart from the actualities of their actual experiences -- and think they are quite noble for it, and feel quite justified on imposing that reality on everybody else -- because they know better than all the rest.  Most simply recognize them as delusional people -- whether they are old or not.  That is what we've come to expect of "old" people, and it is quite alright that they continue in that way until the end -- because they are avoidable.  That is the familiar isolation of the old -- that they simply become irrelevant and harmless to nobody but themselves.

That is quite acceptable, and even the "norm."  Young people even hope to have that right when they are "old," and not be forced to conform to any reality anymore.  Whatever they want to believe, is what they are "entitled" to believe -- come what may.  "They've earned it," the sympathetic are heard to say -- as though that was enough to absolve them from any consequences.

But the world doesn't work that way -- no matter how much they wish it could be so.  There are always consequences -- causes and effects.  Even ancient people called it the law of karma.   Later thoughtful people observed that there was a reason for everything -- even while the priests insisted that it happened on their say so, as the favored disciples of the great deity.

More often than not, the great discoveries of the world, was a lucky accident of its time -- that some perceptive person noticed, because they didn't know better.  Those who did know better, were already certain that nothing new could be discovered -- because everything that could be known, was already known, and so there was "nothing to see."