Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Making Movement (Exercise) as Easy as Possible

 It's easy to design exercise programs nobody wants to do; that's never been the problem.  The genius is in devising movements (exercises) that people want to do -- largely because they are easy to do, and actually creates the capacity to do more because it gets easier.  That is quite contrary to how exercise is taught -- but makes sense early on, and particularly late in life -- when one thinks any movement or effort at all, is painful, unpleasant, and impossible to do -- or so they not only don't do it anymore, but also rule out all future thoughts on that matter.

Obviously, that is the beginning of a long downhill slide into disability and eventual oblivion.  Unfortunately, that is what many consider "normal aging," rather than the dysfunctional model -- of being a victim of one's own bad choices, and how they accumulate over time.  So it is not time or age that is the culprit, but one has done with that time.  If it is every kind of dissipation, injury and abuse one can imagine, than the results will not be happy ones.  But if everything is done with increasing thoughtfulness, life simply gets better, and everything makes greater sense in time.

It's not because governments mandate it so and the media enforces the conformity to the correctness of thought, but that ideas come to reflect reality, and thus actions, can be more meaningful and productive.  Otherwise, it is merely wishful-thinking -- expecting reality to fall in line with what one hopes it will be.  While it is good to nourish one's ambitions, one should not forget that every other person also has their own plan for how they would like things to be -- and if they are in competition and conflict with every other, everybody's efforts merely cancel out everybody else's.  That is the folly in designing competition at the heart of all one does -- rather than the more insightful notion that efforts can be complementary and cooperative -- accruing to every other, now and in the past.

In that manner, it is observed that one generation benefits from the efforts of the past -- and not merely canceling them in an endless zero-sum game and society.  That is the kind of society in which only one, or a few benefit, and everybody else is expected to labor mightily -- to no benefit of their own. And in many cases, whatever advantages they have accrued, will be taken away from them -- and so it is pointless to desire to better themselves -- unless that is the motivating force in their lives.  A rare few are constructed in that way -- to relentlessly persist even when there is no hope for benefit or gain -- because they otherwise wouldn't know what else to do with their time or life.  Those few are blessed indeed.

Most however, don't have such inherent specialized advantage -- and find themselves beginning from scratch in most of the things they do, and would appreciate and be greatly encouraged if everything could be made as easy as possible -- to begin, and then to stay with for the rest of their lives if it proves such a great advantage.  Ease of movement and exercise, would certainly be high on most people's lists -- because they all seem to know that proper exercise keeps them functioning at their best -- as the self-evident truth of their lives.  When they are not at their best, a lot of bad things can happen -- more frequently than not.

Yet knowing that, a lot of advice by people who should know better, doesn't reflect this intelligence -- but instead, pride themselves on their ability to make everything harder for everybody else -- probably as a misguided sense of competitive advantage, so that they can always win.  In this sense, winning isn't everything -- if it is the wrong race to win.  Many invariably get side-tracked in this way, and find themselves on the wrong track -- to where they don't know where they are heading anymore.  So life then becomes a treadmill -- on the road to nowhere, and merely wearing oneself out as the only goal in life -- until it is no more.

Meanwhile, many obviously practical achievements are ignored -- as though it must be too easy to be beneficial, when those fundamental abilities are the necessary building blocks for all subsequent attainments -- even as basic as still being able to get up off the floor easily.  That doesn't have to be made more difficult -- but always easier, so it is always possible.  That is the genius of doing it that way.

However, for a short period of time, one can make anything seem as difficult as possible, until eventually, it becomes impossible, and after that, unimaginable and unthinkable.  But is that the healthy course of life -- to become more disqualified from more and continued participation? -- or would it be more desirable to make it endlessly possible?  I think most would think that it makes a lot more sense -- and is the culmination of living longer lives -- to live those lives better, longer.

So I find it perplexing that movement specialists would design a fitness test around doing things the hardest possible way -- as their definition of "fitness," rather than arising to those challenges using every possible advantage one could think of -- whether that be lifting weights, moving faster, or just lifting oneself off of the ground -- with all the appendages and leverage they have available to them -- rather than nullifying those natural advantages.  That is actually a stupid way of living, moving, doing anything -- much less conditioning oneself to think that way.

Naturally, such people have problems in their lives -- because they make everything into a problem, instead of realizing the circumstances they are in, and making the best of them -- everything at their disposal, especially their wits.  That is not "cheating," but the intelligent way to do things -- always.  Fitness is not just one-dimensional with one hand tied behind one's back -- but the total response of all the capabilities -- firing as one.  That is the human being and potential -- to do more and better, with everything they have -- and not just with two hands tied behind their back, and their brains disconnected as well.

Thus we have the great inventions of civilization that eliminates unnecessary effort and labor -- enabling us to do much more, with very little brute force required.  In fact, that brute force applied unthinkingly, will break whatever mechanical advantage someone thoughtfully designed and built for all subsequent generations.  So brute force becomes an ever-diminishing contribution to the total effort and gain -- and can be applied directly to greater advantage to where it does the most good.

From what we know of human functioning and performance, that would be to prioritize resources to the brain -- for our greatest survival advantage.  We don't have to increase the circulation to heart as much as to the brain, and to increase the circulation anywhere, requires the specific instruction to do so -- in the actual movement of the head -- where the distinguishing characteristic in contemporary in declining people -- is to display that atrophy and immobility first.  Second and third are the extremities at the hands and feet -- where the circulation is poorest.  Meanwhile, at the heart, blood is going in, as fast as it is going out -- because it is just short-circuiting because there is no pumping of blood out of the extremities so that fresh blood can replace it.

That is the simple physiology of exercise -- and why it works better in some people than others -- not necessarily, and even counterintuitively to brute force -- of which that impact will be experienced most forcefully at the heart.  Not surprisingly, a lot of the strongest men in the world succumb prematurely from heart failures from overtaxing it too much.  Legendary John Henry succumbed in that fashion -- maybe the last time a human heart thought it could compete with a combustion engine.  It doesn't matter how much heart one has -- because that is not the whole equation.

We've come a long way in these past fifty years -- in which most of what we thought to be true, has been proven otherwise -- particularly in diet, exercise and lifestyles (behavior).  Now we're seeing the divergence of those who held fast to all that was true then, and those evolving their thinking beyond that -- in the first wave of Baby Boomers.  Many never grew beyond the '60s; for them, those were the halcyon days -- to be revived and celebrated yearly immemorially.  In their memories, they live forever -- as they were as adolescents.  Only a few, as always, move on -- and actualize the 21st century prototypes.  That's when the "old people"  move easily and gracefully -- without the aches and pains -- because they can.


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