Saturday, August 01, 2020

The Ultimate Exercise Machine (Exercising at Home)

The shutdown of gyms and other exercising venues, is an excellent opportunity to rethink "exercise" -- and all it can be, and not simply focus on what marketing strategies will sell best -- whether they actually deliver those promises or not.  If they indeed worked, we wouldn't have so many people living longer lives -- but in poor health, making them vulnerable to whatever the "disease" and "fear" merchants can conjure.

Health is the best defense against any disease -- or disaster.  That is simply being the best one can be -- and beyond that, is out of our hands -- and that is important to realize also.  It is like that old wisdom, "Let me change what I can, and accept what I can't change, and most importantly, know the difference."  Most spend all their time and energy trying to change what can't be changed, while doing nothing or little, to what they could make a huge difference in their lives -- and so they come to accept the futility and despair of doing nothing that really matters, while protesting constantly that things shouldn't be as they are.

Far more fruitful and practical, is to accept things as they are -- and figure out a way to work with those millions of years of evolutionary wisdom -- and fully embodying and exemplifying those possibilities, rather than expecting and demanding perfection without any effort and expense on their part.  Nothing has ever worked that way.  Even the lowliest of insects, must work tirelessly from dawn to dusk -- or dusk to dawn -- just to survive another day.  That is the advantage of being higher up on the evolutionary scale -- that one no longer has to toil every moment of their lives, just to secure enough food to sustain them one more day.

Instead, they are well-designed to store up excess reserves -- for more difficult and challenging times, and emerge unscathed, and even ahead of when things became difficult.  That is the value of culture -- which propels each subsequent generation to begin on a higher level, and not revert each time to merely subsistence concerns -- beginning with just eating enough.  And thus humankind, has long exceeded those thresholds, and even become a curse to those who cannot manage abundance and success well -- but can only think to undo those advantages, and begin all over again, as the only way they know to live in a world of greater prosperity.  We know such individuals as "dysfunctional," because despite their seeming great advantage, always find a way to undermine themselves.

These are people who cannot handle success -- but are doomed to repeat failure repeatedly, and prefer it as all they know.  Meanwhile, the best and the brightest have moved on -- regrettably having to leave them behind, or they will drag down the rest -- if empowered and enabled.  Such people, thus empowered, will then turn on their enablers -- and no amount of compassion can change that -- however much they demand that the rest cannot move on without them.  That is the "dysfunctional relationship."

But it always begins with one -- exercising and actualizing their own fullest possibilities as the greatest antidote to whatever ills and misfortunes befall them -- and whether they risk it all on the proper outcomes, or simply lie in wait for their ultimate demise -- and thinking there is nothing they can do about it but trust in others to do it all for them.  Such a life -- and society -- doesn't work that well, because there is no limit to how much all the others can sacrifice for one who will not do anything for themselves -- or others, but increase their incessant and insatiable demands.  There is no limit for how much others can do for them, while always dismissing offhand, what they can do for themselves -- first and always.

That is the genesis of a healthier culture -- than the less perfect societies of the past, each seeks to improve upon -- as their own categorical imperative, or supreme commandment of life.  In that respect, the individual is the world -- as the highest manifestation of it -- and not just as a theoretical model, of what ought to be instead.  That is the evolution of understanding that makes greater achievements possible.

In order to make that leap to the next (higher) level, the understanding of what one is doing, first has to be stripped of all presumptions and beliefs -- that those are the only things possible.  The work, or action that is measured, is what is going on inside the body, and not its apparent manifestations that is more likely to be counterproductive, and even injurious -- as the practitioners of every activity ultimately experience.  If that were a therapy or course of improvement, it would not be crippling, debilitating, inevitably, abandoned -- when needed most -- which is the truth of such fitness modalities.

When things work, they work, and don't require unlimited and increasing commitment and devotion to produce those favorable results.  It is simply an indication that it doesn't work -- and a different approach and understanding needs to be looked for.  That is self-evident truth that is manifested in every life -- and not needing a double-blind study to prove -- all in the names of "science" -- which is always rigidly controlled to defend the self-invested status quo, who like it that way.

For all the rest, they should begin each day with a systematic program of stretches and movements just to get functioning properly -- and not that personal records have to be achieved in every effort.  Ideally, the greatest gains are made in going from total incapacitation, to the flawless execution of even the simplest movement -- which in olden times, would be that focus on breathing or heart rate -- which is unnecessary, because it is an autonomic function, and therefore, always appropriate to a more conscious and deliberate effort and movement -- that is only possible with the correct breathing and circulatory support, but the breathing alone, cannot ensure -- just as heart rate alone, will not ensure a world record, or personal best.

One implies the other, but not vice-versa.  In fact, one is automatic, or autonomic; it takes places regardless of conscious effort.  Otherwise, one can't properly do anything else -- because they are too focused on the breath, but the proper performance of any other conscious and deliberate movement, includes the proper breathing.  Nothing else is possible.

The most basic of human movements is to lift oneself off the ground -- as well as lowering oneself down to that level as easily and gracefully as possible.  That is the great teaching of yoga that is always overlooked -- and often eliminated from the practice altogether, as though everything else was more important.  If an athlete cannot raise themselves off the ground, they are "finished," because they won't be going to the next round.  The contest is over.  That is simply the elemental truth in every activity, much less competition.  We don't need more funding and double-blind studies to "prove" the truth of that obviousness.  It is evident to any body still functioning -- and can tell that difference.

In fact, some performers get off the ground so easily and gracefully, that one would never know that it wasn't part of their program; they just made it look that way.  It doesn't matter, as long as one can still get up -- and continue -- often, even better than before.  That's all part of the game -- what it takes to get there.  Whatever it takes.

That is even more basic than walking -- or any other claim to the most basic activity that can be exercised.  It is no shame to go from the most debilitated condition to one's most able and functional -- and in fact, the ability to do so, indicates one's vitality and viability.  They are undoubtedly, still in the game.  On the other hand, one's inability to change position, does not bode well for their future prospects.

In yoga, that action is manifested in going from the Child's Pose to Tabletop posture, to the Downward Facing Dog, from which they can move into the Forward Fold by walking their hands back toward their feet (rather than vice-versa as usually taught), and then shrug their way to a fully upright position -- as weightlifters do to lift the heaviest weights.  They have to lead that movement with their shoulders -- and not at the waist, which is the improper form, foretelling years of back pain.  Early posture exercises was mainly about this control of the shoulders -- leading the way, and as such, preventing the rounding of the back characteristic of back pain, poor posture, and the look of infirmity.

Prior to the 1950s, that's what fitness classes largely consisted of -- classes for attaining the perfect posture -- as a healthy and robust-looking person bound for success.  It's never to late to begin -- and maintain for the rest of one's life.  That says it all -- and is always a worthy beginning to each day.

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Recovery Ability (Resilience)

Probably the most underappreciated and misunderstood force of life is the concept of recovery ability -- or how one responds to the challenges of life.  That can be the calamitous shocks, as well as the self-imposed to increase one's ability to handle any challenges.  Done successfully, one grows stronger with such deliberate dosings and exposures, and prepares themselves to avoid those situations in which one might become overwhelmed by more than can be handled.  So while doing something demanding may cause one to increase their ability to meet subsequent greater challenges successfully, falling off a ten-story building, does not make one less susceptible to falls -- and in fact, will certainly kill them.

Throughout life, one hopes to explore that fine line between too little, and too much challenge (stimulus), and determine the proper dosage that enables one to sustain increasing immunity -- from that which might be deadly or disabling -- just as any animal does in their lifetimes.  That is the basic intelligence test that really matters -- and beyond that, one can fine-tune the subtleties and nuances.

Most athletes experience that turning point at which they no longer recover from their injuries and/or exertions as well as they once did, and seem to enter a prolonged and irreversible state of decreasing recovery ability that signals that it may be time to move onto the next stage of their lives -- beyond world-class competitions.  It happens even to the best -- and to everyone else, a lot sooner -- but that turning point is unmistakable and unforgiving.  But is that the end of life, or just the signal to adapt to even better ways?  Brute force will only get one so far in life, and to go even farther, one has to leap to another dimension and outgrow their childish ways and tactics.

When they do, whole new worlds open up to them -- and they are no longer simply repeating the past -- as the only way possible.  That is what real progress and evolution is about -- and not simply doing more of the same -- hoping for a different and better result.  Often, what they have been doing, will be revealed not as the solution, but actually the root of all their problems -- that keep them from making the leap into the future.  And that's where they want to live their lives -- and not just keep on repeating their retarded past.  Something new and wonderful, has to come into being -- and not just the same old, same old.

Hopefully, everyone is living for the breakthroughs in their own lives -- and are not just the pawns in some other people's or institution's agenda.  We all have that right to our own lives -- and as the authors of our own original, unique, and unprecedented scripts.   That's when life gets really exciting -- to go where we have not gone before, and even nobody has gone before.  But the latter is not our primary concern -- as there may be others, and one shouldn't be overly concerned about what everybody else is doing, while neglecting their own purpose.  It's easy to get distracted by what others think is so important -- and lose sight of our own significance.

Saving "mankind," is not nearly as important and meaningful as saving oneself, and in that doing, one is saving mankind -- one person at a time, and not just the thought, while doing nothing meaningful in one's own life.  And that is usually how mankind goes astray -- by everyone saving everybody else, while nobody bothers to first put on their own emergency mask.  And so the plane crashes -- despite all the good intentions and selflessness.  People are not effective at preventing others from dying and disease; they are most effective at preventing themselves from dying and disease.  That is the effective and winning strategy -- and not preventing everybody else from losing.

It seems a very simple lesson -- but hard to execute, because one thinks reality is what everybody else is doing -- rather than what one is doing themselves.  For many people, there is no distinction between the two -- and so if somebody else is doing it, that is good enough for them -- and they don't have to do it themselves.  They think if the "average" person does it, they don't have to do it themselves, because they are included in the average -- which means they've already done it.  But the average is not the reality for any specific individual -- and what every individual does, is their own reality -- and not vice-versa.  That's how the human experience diverges -- for every individual.

That is the failure of mass culture to instruct properly.  It is the individual who is real, and not the average -- which is only an idea of what everybody is actually doing.  And so when people fail to get excellent results for their efforts and understanding, it is because they are trying to get an average result -- rather than the best they can for themselves -- with the understanding that that is what others are trying to do as well.   There is no athlete or competitor who is trying for the average -- but each is out to do the best they can do -- individually and personally -- and that is what matters.  That is what is misunderstood by the purely academic approach to the understanding of anything.  Everyone is deliberately trying to skew the average -- and not conform to it!  There is no default to the mean.

So arbitrary (work)loads are not as significant as how each individual responds to it -- and recovers in anticipation of the next.  It could be favorably or unfavorably -- depending on that particular individual.  That is individual variation -- and not one size fits all, because the averages say so.  Most will not be negatively impacted while a few may die -- depending on their recovery ability, which is their response to this and any other challenge.  The results remain to be seen -- and cannot be predetermined except for these actual outcomes, and from that, the truth is revealed.  Individual results will vary -- and be valid for every individual.  That is not just "anecdotal" but a case study of one.  It also, is not the only, and the whole truth of the matter.

One person dying from it, does not indicate that everyone will die from it.  That would be a gross generalization.  Or even that one person dying, is one too many that must be prevented at all costs!  If one person dies of a heart attack from exercising, all exercises must heretofore be banned -- because if even one person succumbs in that manner, it is far too dangerous to be beneficial -- or what the pseudo-scientists (media writers) will proclaim.  It does not matter that they had an underlying health condition; rules are sacrosanct -- and must never be violated.  Nobody should determine that appropriateness on their own -- assessing their own risk and rewards.

It must be determined for everyone else -- for their own good!  "Let it be written, let it be done."

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Making Exercise Easier (and More Productive)

It doesn't take a genius to make anything harder, more difficult, and more complicated -- but that is what the unintelligent, think makes one seem smarter.  That's because to them, everything seems harder, more difficult and more complicated than it is -- because of their lack of understanding.  Doing anything, without any understanding, or the proper understanding, will invariably make things worse -- and never better, and then they shrug their shoulders and proudly pronounce, that that is how the world is -- everything totally and hopelessly messed up -- no matter how much they do.  They don't seem to realize that everything is messed up because of what they do -- and not in spite of it.

So when everything in their body hurts, the first thing to ask, is what are they doing?  And from that, one has a fairly clear idea of what they are doing that got them that way.  It usually is not a big secret, and may be obvious to everyone else.  But accepting or getting used to the idea that everything should go wrong, is what their life is about -- and very few are capable of changing for the better.  They don't want to change for the better: they think there is nothing wrong with everything not working out very well -- and are convinced, that is how it is for everyone else as well -- except they are lying, or pretending to be something else.

So the dysfunctional view of the world, is very strong with such people -- but rather than change, they want to pull everyone else into that reality with them.  They will not get better -- but only worse, and time will bear them out.  You do the same things, you get the same results.  Unfailingly.  Some never catch on.

And that is increasingly true as time passes -- and those results accumulate; they don't just go away with a fresh slate each day -- not that it would make a difference.  They would still find a way to lose -- because that's what they think is the object of the game, or anything else -- to just get worse over time.  They proudly call that "aging," when time makes progress possible -- more often than not.   That's why there is progress and evolution -- over time.  However, that doesn't mean that everyone will progress and get better -- but the few who do, change the course of history and evolution.  They make the quantum leap where others have not gone before.

It is not effort and struggle that has gotten humanity to its present evolution -- but improvements in understanding, consciousness and insight.  If what we have been doing doesn't work, we just can't keep on insisting that it does -- and simply must try harder.  That's particularly true in what seems to work when one is young and healthy, but fails miserably when one is old and decrepit.  It may turn out that what one thought worked in the young, was not it at all -- and there were more powerful forces at work.

And the people who claimed to know -- actually don't -- or don't know what actually works, but simply repeat what doesn't, as though it is the truth, and the only thing they agree upon, is to stick together repeating the same articles of faith -- as their brotherhood, or profession.  Meanwhile, millions are sacrificed to their "knowledge" -- while they remain at the top of the priesthood.  That's a recurring theme throughout history (and ideology).  Those who "know" -- and the people who suffer because of it.  Meanwhile, such people are busy aggrandizing all the turf -- to speak as though they know, and are the only ones who can know these things.

So it is great to see when they overreach, and people break out questioning all authority -- that has paraded itself as "science," or the truth, but having no idea how they got to believing what they do.  In exercise, or the course of movement that one hopes to optimize their individual health, well-being and functioning, it is long assumed that simply making any movement more difficult and problematical, will result in making it eventually easier, more fluid, and productive to attaining optimal health -- when that is obviously not true when the former athletic champions prematurely have heart attacks, are crippled, and die of despair that their heyday is irreversibly gone -- and so they relive their youth as their prime, rather than their tortured present.

How did that happen?  It didn't just happen -- it was deliberate and intentional -- in the misguided understanding that to obtain a desired result, means doing the opposite of what is logical to do.  That would be too easy -- and logical, and their conditioning has made them to always do the opposite of that obvious wisdom.  So predictably, their whole lives fall apart following those infallible guiding principles.  Everything just seems to get harder, until one day, they become utterly impossible -- but not to worry, we can hire an army of caregivers to do all those things for us -- and we can continue to become as weakened as possible because technology will still keep us alive despite no effort on our own part.  And that is how many hope to live as long as they possible.

That is not the only future for humanity though.  There is the remote possibility that people can actually get better over time.  Of course, they have to be doing all the right things to do so -- and not just anything that doesn't get one there.  But the experts will rationalize that there is no difference -- because nothing they've tried works, and so they have stopped trying anything else -- and especially, those things that might work -- because they are "too old" to learn something new, and different.

That would be, that the smallest change, makes the biggest difference -- and not the greatest expenditure of energy, for little or no results -- leading to the characteristic despair of those who have done so all their lives -- and have no idea things can be different.  They think that more of the same is the only difference -- even if it doesn't work, and makes them worse.  Still, they will persist at it until they entirely can't.  A large part of their conditioning, is to believe that there is no other way -- and so they have to do it that way -- even if it doesn't work, or make any sense at all.  Their lives are just rote repetition of what they were programmed by others to do.

So it requires that realization to break free from the tyranny of that conditioning -- but obviously requires, doing something different.  Otherwise, the trajectory is inescapable.  Even those who teach exercise to the elderly and frail begin by demonstrating and demanding them to do movements that are difficult or impossible -- rather than beginning with what they can do -- but like most people, simply don't think to do.  And that is to move at the joints that are ideally designed to move -- at the neck, wrists and ankles -- which if they can be maintained, imply the rest.  Larger muscles are not meant to move intricately, but are designed to provide stability and support -- while the important movements take place at the extremities of our vital and critical senses.

Those are the movements and faculties important to sustain and hone -- and not the biceps, pecs and lats -- for what reason?  Yet that is the only bodyparts aging bodybuilders focus on -- as they barely hobble onstage -- with their obviously atrophied necks, forearms and calves.  That's where the failure begins -- and works its way back to the origin of all the muscular structures at the center (heart) of the body, and all the other organs that work to keep the entirety in top running condition.  All the traditional and conventional exercises ignore that importance -- and that is why they don't work -- because the accumulated toxins never returns to the cleansing organs -- and in that process, making room for the new.

That is what productive exercise and movements do -- pump the blood (fluids) back to the heart.  The heart pumps blood into whatever space (vacuum) is available to it -- and simply making the heart pump harder and faster does not achieve that effect -- but prematurely enlarges and weakens the heart.  Productive circulation is not dependent on how hard the heart works -- but how much the skeletal muscles pump blood back towards the heart.  That is what optimizes the circulatory effect -- and keeps one healthy and vibrant in those areas exercised in that manner, and understanding.

Otherwise, there is the frequent frustration and exasperation that no matter how much they exercise with the conventional understanding -- it doesn't work as one ages.  That is the accumulative effect of not doing things properly and not that it has to be that way -- for everybody, no matter what they do, and how hard they try.   If you're not doing the right thing, it doesn't work -- and it doesn't matter how much of it you do.

Friday, May 01, 2020

The Key to UNDERSTANDING Exercise

The bottleneck in the circulatory system is not that the heart is not pumping -- but that it is pumping into the resistance of the fluids remaining at the extremities -- and so merely pumps the blood back into the heart -- rather than to the extremities, which as he points out, has no flow. However, the alternating contraction and relaxation of the muscles does create a pump -- but the obvious effective design, is to create a pump at the extremities -- which one can do when one realizes this obvious problem, which explains the deterioration of the human body -- beginning at the head, hands and feet -- embodied by the swelling and inflammation, as well as lack of articulation of the joints/muscles at the extremities, where people start to show this aging first, and most obviously. That deterioration is noted as a lack of movement as well as functioning at the critical extremities of the body -- resulting in the common problem of the turkey neck as well as cognitive decline (dementia) at the head, weakness of grip, and absence of sensation and balance in the feet -- because those organs have degenerated from the lack of optimal flow that removes waste products and creates room for nourishment. My observation has been to dispute the erroneous notion that exercise is done mainly for the benefit of the heart -- when the heart may be the only consistently working muscle in the body -- and just making it work harder, doesn't optimize the flow any better -- but as noted in many athletes, merely enlarges their heart -- because it is pumping harder into that resistance. What does make a difference and optimizes the flow, is to initiate a muscle contraction at the furthest extremity -- realizing that in every case, the insertion of each muscle, must move towards the origin -- which is towards the heart, and contraction (making a volume smaller) is also compressing fluids towards the heart. As I pointed out to Arthur Jones, the creator of the Nautilus machines, and the founder of "high-intensity exercise," you don't need to create a machine to work every, or even most of the muscles -- because initiating a muscular contraction from the furthest extremity, triggers a contraction in the supporting muscle (proximal) -- until they all go back to the origin at the heart. That is the most productive thing one can do -- because that action pumps the blood back towards the heart -- creating space for the heart to pump blood into, rather than just short-circuiting back towards the heart. This insight came into focus for me around the time Nautilus was at its height of popularity but I noted then that few were achieving the results his machines promised -- despite how hard (high-intensity) one was willing to train -- but noted that many were even beginning to die of heart problems, including notable bodybuilders and professional wrestlers. I didn't think that was the objective. Meanwhile, I was giving presentations on an easier approach to exercise -- that could be done in any setting because it simply required this better understanding of the human body and functioning -- that really eluded most exercisers, and so it becomes entirely ineffective in their later years -- although the spirit is still willing. The most important movements are the movements of the head, hands and feet. Running, jumping, dancing is fundamentally moving the foot as a lever; but those end movements, imply the rest. It is impossible to contract a more distal muscle as fully possible -- without the supporting muscle (proximal) being engaged (anchoring) -- and with that understanding to optimize that flow -- that left unaffected, results in the accumulation of toxins and allowing for no new nourishment -- no matter how hard the heart is pumping. Because it is pumping into the resistance of the fluids already remaining there. That fluid just remains there -- and is not the blood re-entering the heart but the blood that has no where to go because the fluid (blood) in the extremities are not being evacuated by the proper understanding of this optimization of the circulation. You have to create a pump at the extremities -- and with the proper observation, one realizes that beginning at the extremity, is the only way to do it -- and not working the heart harder until it fails. In this way, the critical faculties of the head, hands and feet become the leading indicators of this continuing vibrancy -- rather than just being in good shape for a person who looks like they should be dead.

No, I'm not saying that simply doing (more) of the conventional exercises -- like yoga, tai chi, and deep breathing will work any better than it has over the centuries. However, a better understanding of the process -- will work wonders, rather than just sell more heart rate monitors and courses promoting the wrong effort -- which is the primary reason that business model was so commercially successful -- as well as promoting all the so-called "heart-healthy products." In most people, the heart is not the weakness of their muscular (nervous/circulatory) system but is obviously the strength -- since it is always working, and usually infallibly. It is doing its part -- but it can't do it alone. When one asks, "What is the best exercise one can be doing?" -- without preconceived notions of what it must be -- the usual answers are such things as walking, running, swimming, etc. -- rather than the much more productive answer of what optimizes the circulation (health) throughout the body -- and particularly to those parts that have the poorest circulation, and so those parts fail first -- at the extremities. But simply making the heart beat faster is not the solution if there is no space for the heart to pump the blood into -- and will simply return to the heart. As the doctor points out, that flow is fine -- but the flow in the capillaries are non-existent, and remains that way. It is only a presumption that the blood in the capillaries (at the extremities) is the blood returning to the heart -- by some convoluted explanation. But as the doctor also notes, if one were to design a circulatory system ideally, it would be at the top of the head -- so it flows down. But since you have a closed hydraulic system, flow is not so much dictated by gravity as it is by pressure difference. So if the blood in the capillaries don't move, the flow cannot obviously go into it. One has to create a vacuum (space) which readily draws blood into it. The way to do that is to create a heart-like pump at the extremities -- by mimicking the action of the heart -- in contracting and relaxing at the furthest extremity from the heart -- that contraction squeezing the blood back towards the heart, and upon relaxation, the heart has plenty of vacuum to allow the blood from the heart in. Bruce Lee as well as Jason Fung essentially said the same thing -- "That in order to fill your cup, you must first empty it." Similarly, philosophers and other wise individuals advised that in order to gain wisdom, one must let go of all the junk in their minds first -- that leave no room for anything new. Likewise, the computer model in which one must first clear memory -- in order to use it. It all sounds very metaphysical -- but is actually the simple and obvious -- but people can't accept it, because they want to hold on to what doesn't work, and all their fanciful ideas -- that don't work, often because they think that knowledge in itself is valuable because that is what everybody else is saying. The head (face and neck), hands, and feet are the first places to display the effectiveness of the circulation -- and not the core -- which is the usual extent of one's movements -- while the much more important functions at the head, hands and feet deteriorate. Increasingly, that is the problem -- that while people's heart may continue to beat tirelessly, their brains have died, their grip is weak, and their balance (feet) is so weak it cannot hold them up properly -- even among the lifelong exercisers. They're not specifically addressing the real problem -- but are doing something else instead. No amount of doing the wrong thing, will get one the right results.

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Making Do

Many are lost when the perfect conditions are not available to them -- as when a person's major exercise activity is swimming in a large community pool, or lifting weights in a well-equipped gym -- and they are closed indefinitely.  At that, they often fall apart and are at wit's end for accepting and adapting to those changed circumstances -- and often wonder how they can go on in life -- while a few others, will take things in stride as though it was all part of the plan.  And so you could never tell that all was not going according to plan (or expectations) but things worked out in their own mysterious and whimsical fashion -- and that is the exercise.

To be prepared for all things, is the value of any fitness program -- and not just being able to do one thing, the same way, in the same circumstances, unvaryingly every time, under ideal conditions -- without fail.  Far more valuable, is being able to do whatever one has to do -- even unexpectedly -- when and if the circumstances present themselves in that way.  That is all part of the larger plan and greater game in life -- and true measure of their fitness to adapt, survive and thrive.  That hasn't changed over the million years of evolution and progress.

We often forget that, or never thought of it in the first place -- that there is a grand scheme of things -- and not just the constant busyness so we never have to bother to think on such things.  So even when everything stops, some only wonder about the next thing, and not the challenge of the present moment in front of them.  They are already thinking, what they are going to do six months from now -- and that is never enough, will never satisfy them -- because they are already looking too far ahead to their next goal or achievement, with never a moment to appreciate the present.  No matter how much they have, they simply want more -- and the more beyond that.  Many will applaud them for that relentless, tireless ambition -- and never ask, "What is the present objective and the larger picture?"

Is it merely to do unceasingly more, or merely enough -- as is appropriate for the present circumstances and challenge?  Then surely, the future will take care of the next, and one doesn't need to know all the answers at the beginning, but will find them out when we all get there -- as we go along, and the future plays out.  Nobody is so presumptuous that they demand from others that they know all the answers and will not make any mistakes -- just as they presumably don't.  They think only what they do matters, and everybody in the world showed up just to applaud them -- as though what they do, is only for the benefit of others.

It's hard for them to come around to seriously believing that what anybody else does, matters, and could even make a difference.  But each individual acting as though it matters, makes the greatest difference -- particularly when everyone does their best to ensure their own health and well-being as their own primary responsibility -- and then the help of others can greatly help them along.  But if they simply condition themselves to resist all the efforts of others in achieving anything, much effort will be expended for very negligible results -- and even disastrous outcomes.  That is true even when they claim to only be competing against themselves -- as though that was far nobler, or more intelligent thing to do.

One of the great advantages and opportunities of exercising at home is discovering the limitless variations of which it can be done -- manifesting economy and efficiency of movement and purpose.  The value and objective of exercise is not simply to make the heart work harder, but to condition the other muscles of the body to aid and optimize the circulation that ensures the health -- and lacking that, the body is a lot less functional and well.  Few people ever really consider these things -- and why they think most efforts towards this purpose is not directly manifested and actualized.  It actually is -- but they are doing all the wrong things -- and so reaping those results.  That's the way the world works.  If one does the wrong thing, it doesn't get transmuted into the right thing -- just because one wants it that way.  That is merely wishful thinking. 

I once had a 103 year old woman as a neighbor who would frequently fall just outside her door -- and yell for help, and eventually some of the other neighbors would knock on my door to get me to pick her up -- since none of the others had the strength or know-how to do it themselves.  Finally, I asked her why she kept on doing it, and she told me it was because her doctor told her to get outside and walk for 30 minutes each day -- although he knew she was legally blind, as well as frail, and the rolling walker was set much too high for her to be able to put her weight on it -- and so once on a walk with her to see what she could safely and reasonably do, the walker slid ahead and she did not have the grip strength to lock the wheels -- and so I caught her just as she was about to hit the ground, still holding on to the walker zooming ahead.

I made the optimal height adjustments for her -- but was dumbfounded whatever hospital had released her to return to her own independent living again, had done such a thoughtless job -- as well as the absolutely dangerous advice to walk around the neighborhood blind for 30 minutes each day.  I suggested she'd be much better off just staying inside in the safety of her apartment, holding on to the back of a chair, and shifting her weight from left to right, while articulating the full range movement at the ankle -- of toes fully up, or heel fully up with the foot supporting no weight -- because the fullest range of movement, also achieved the fullest muscular contraction.  The usefulness of a full contraction alternated with a full relaxation in that muscle (joint), is that it simulates the pumping action of the heart -- from that extremity to the heart.  Most people misunderstand that the heart plays no significant role in pumping the blood back towards the heart -- but only affects the blood pumping out to the extremities -- if there is room for it.

But if there is no strong contraction being produced at the extremities of the body -- notably the neck, hands, and feet -- instead of an optimized flow, there is only resistance from the fluids already in there -- not being pumped out vigorously because most modern sedentary people never think to move that way anymore.  Thus, the head, hands and feet become the telltale areas of the human body that show that atrophy and deterioration most obviously and visibly as the signs of aging -- even though a rare few still maintain an impressive midsection or biceps -- "for an old guy."  However, if the circulation is optimized, the healthful vitality can remain -- because that is what optimizing the circulation does.

It's not about lifting heavy weights -- as it is just increasing the flow to and out of the area one wishes to develop and maintain optimally -- for as long as one continues to do it.  The range of movement, determines the extent of the contraction -- and no resistance is required to achieve that contraction.  In fact, the use of too heavy a weight, may restrict the range of movement, and thus the extent of the contraction -- and the alternating relaxation phase, thus enhancing very little blood flow.  Meanwhile, the heart is still working (beating) harder -- but to no avail, because the blood flow is essentially blocked because of little change in the muscle from full contraction to full relaxation at the extremity -- just as the heart must do in order to be effective.  The heart cannot just contract 50% and relax 50% -- or any other half-hearted effort, but can only contract 100% and relax 100% -- and thus the heart rate indicates the difference.

But still, it is only half of the story, because the focus one can strive to control -- is the muscular contraction at the extremity -- which mimicking the alternation of the heart, optimzes the circulation to the greatest extent -- particularly at the organs of human cognition and expression at the head, hands and feet.  When those areas do not decline prematurely, no one can tell one is pretty good for even an old guy, because that person does not look old.  Neither do they act (function) old.

That is the missing ingredient in the "aging" bodybuilders.  Those are the areas that betray them -- because they are not deliberately addressed and exercised -- and more than anything else, would make the best sense to do so.  As it is, their head, hands and feet, look like they're barely functional, and often misshapen and disfigured for lack of that proper exercise (circulation).  Just working the heart infinitely harder doesn't do it.  That should be Bodybuilding 101 by now.  The area one actually works (articulates), is the area that will be most well developed.  But ignoring that, will not get one the desired results no matter how much they can still retain bicep or midsection development.  That is not what reveals them.

In fact, if they do nothing else, they should maintain the muscularity at the neck, forearms, calves -- and let the rest take care of itself in their own proper role as supporting muscular structures -- and not the primary muscles of expression.  With that optimized flow out to those areas, the skin will have a look of youthfulness -- rather than that awful deadness, and lack of vitality -- that belies them.  Skin moisturizer would also go a long way in older men who think they shouldn't care about such things.  Women do, and that makes a huge difference in them.  That's not cheating -- and makes much more sense than applying a fake tan all over ones wrinkled skin.

There are miracle products these days -- often surprisingly inexpensive -- even under $10 for a huge jar.  To be living in these times and not taking advantage of every advantage is quite a waste.  Most people are stunted in their thinking -- "what was good for those living one hundred years ago -- or even the last century, is good enough for me."  That's what it takes to be the first person to 100, who doesn't look 100.  That is the race worth winning -- and the springboard for life beyond.  Not just people living on life support and caregiving, for virtually forever.  Life is better than that.

Sunday, March 01, 2020

Change is Change

Success in life, is one's ability to change -- as circumstances dictate the need for.  Those who make those adaptations best, are highly favored in the game of life -- and particularly, in their own living.  Far beyond the competition with every other, is that competition within oneself -- to do the best they can -- regardless of what everybody else is doing.  That is almost the secret to life -- but there are probably others, as well.  It is only a secret until one discovers it -- and then moves on to the next -- forging ahead in one's life in that manner of constant discovery.

When that ends -- it is the beginning of the end -- and then all in life begins to shut down.  So how to maintain that fire and even add fuel to it -- all one's days, is the hope of every life -- and when that is gone, it is just a matter of time to the end.  Nobody really provides a roadmap to that end -- though we all seem to get there eventually, unfortunately many before their time.  It takes just one slip, one moment of inattention, one carelessness, for all to come crashing down.  So life is a preparation to do the best one can -- because one never knows when it will matter most.

In this way, one learns not to tempt fate unnecessarily -- even if one got away with it many times before.  Eventually the car that was never there before -- appears when it shouldn't -- and then it does not matter who had the right.  Even then, there is never any guarantee of life forevermore.  So it is very important to value every moment as supremely important -- because it could be the last.  But making the best of it, increases one's chances -- and that is the best one can hope for -- always to be increasing one's chances for survival in that present prosperity.

The greatest predictor of future success, is one's present success -- and working to make it even better.  That is one's momentum in life -- that takes on a life and intelligence of its own -- as the summation of every previous thought, word and action.  There is no selective memory only of the good and unblemished -- but the good, bad and the ugly -- as the present outcome.  Most other living forms don't overthink it -- but respond totally to that present reality -- as the summation of every other moment.  They keep it simple in that way.

Even as much as we would want for things never to change again, change will come again -- but our responsiveness may diminish -- or increase, as we prepare for.  Some merely go into denial of those changes -- preferring to relive only in their unchanging memories and minds -- rather than increasing their capacity to live in the greater present possibilities.  Life has always been that way.  There is always more to do, experience, learn, prepare for greater possibilities.  That is not simply the province of the young, but all who choose to live that way.

The problem is that many give up and refuse to go on.  They expect, nay demand, that the rest of the world stay the same for them -- and that is not going to happen, never has, and never will -- so the intelligent person realizes, they have to change, and can do it better than they've done before.  That is the quality of resiliency -- or fitness to improve.  There is no fitness just in staying the same; that is merely falling behind, becoming less capable daily -- largely because it is unexercised, and thus, actualized even in the practice.  But that practice is real, and actual -- waiting for the right circumstances to optimize.

That is the proper understanding of exercise -- of the practice in being.  Practice means doing -- and there is no other.  That's how people get good at what they are doing.  The alternative is not just thinking about doing -- but not thinking at all.  Usually, one is distracted, entertained, consuming -- practicing all the things they don't want to become.  That realization is mindfulness -- and from that emptiness, can come a whole new reality -- a discontinuation of the current mindlessness.  And then all things seem possible.   That is a break from the pattern.  That is change.

It really is the most simple thing -- made complex and complicated by the mindlessness that doesn't want to change -- but to continue as it always has been -- even with its disastrous results.  That conditions one not to even try anymore.  The proper exercise should not be conceived with the idea to make it increasingly more complex and complicated (harder) -- but obviously, to make it simpler and easier -- and always possible.  And that is the problem with most exercise -- it is abandoned at the first opportunity because it is too difficult and inconvenient, rather than made more increasingly inevitable.  That would be the intelligent design of an environment for making it so.  One that actually requires change -- as frequently and varied as possible.

That doesn't have to be hard.  In fact, making it hard or difficult, makes it much less likely to be done.  Yet there is this temptation among the instructors, always to make things more difficult -- as though that is the greater attainment, rather than the ease of movement and range of articulation (expression) in everyday movements.  That -- already is impressive -- when it can be maintained all one's life to 100.  That alone would be remarkable.  Yet, as we know, most people do not get there -- in that kind of condition, which needs to change.

What needs to change, is this manner of thinking that movement must be hard, difficult, strenuous, and only for a few remaining, rather than best expressed and indicated by the movement and range at the neck, wrist and ankle -- which implies the rest.  Faster is actually counter productive -- or duration beyond a minute.  One does not need to build a machine to provide resistance through the full range of any movement; the range produces its own resistance to further movement.  All one needs to do is see that that is so -- by doing it.

Saturday, February 01, 2020

You Have to do all the Right things -- because all the Wrong things won't make any difference

Unfortunately, many do all the wrong things -- thinking they will get the same results as though they were doing all the right things -- and think just because they do them, it will turn out with the desired, favorable results.  Instead, they find that things are snowballing even farther out of control -- and even threatening their future viability, and prospects for survival. 

Yet they are certain that if they just persist in doing all the wrong things, God in His merciful wisdom, will make things come out right -- because that is what He is for, and not that they can do anything themselves to change that.  So they pray to all the gods, but they don't seem to be listening -- or care.  Their entreaties fall on deaf ears -- and the seas do not part before them -- providing a clear path to the Promised Land.  Instead, they are stuck in the muck, and everyone is lost.

They all went down believing -- until the end -- thinking things would turn out differently, just because they wanted them to.

Life does not work out that way; it is unmerciful in finding out a way that works -- with or without you.  That evolution marches on.  Not all will survive; even those that do, don't live forever.  They merely have their time on the stage for a while -- and then a whole new bunch of strangers take over -- and have their time and place.  Nobody stays front and center forever. 

But that is not the only game in town.  There are a lot of nooks and crannies unexplored -- of which one can be the foremost expert -- the most obvious of which is the advice to know oneself.  Very few others will be interested and motivated to do that as each person in their own lives -- and that is not nothing, but really, the only thing that matters.  Everybody is different -- but maximizing that potential -- is the great challenge of every life, and in doing that, one may discover many other things -- others can benefit from as well.

The great quest of every life is intensely personal in this way -- beginning near to go far.  If one thinks one knows anything, it obviously must work for themselves first -- and that is always an excellent place to start.  To speculate about everybody else without first knowing oneself to even some degree -- is not having a place to stand on from which to lever that knowledge to a meaningful extent.  Why should others have to prove it first that one's ideas are sound enough to work -- when the original author of such a thought, doesn't believe it enough to try it themselves -- and prove to the world that it works -- before wasting everybody else's time and resources?

That's what everybody wants to see -- what works -- and not hear all the explanations why things don't work, or that it would work, but we can't get anybody to do them.  That's a huge part of the equation.  It has to be something that everybody, or even anybody can do -- and not just be a wonderful theory and hypothesis that can never be proven, or worse yet, doesn't have to be proven.  Then we get into the realm of "mad science" -- where everything is possible, but nobody can ever prove anything.  In other words, it is just an unquestioned belief that nobody dares to test -- for fear of actually finding out.  It is much more convenient just to convince everybody else that that is true -- and ostracize those who will not go along with the mob.

So the issue is no longer what is right and wrong, but which group has the bigger mob to enforce their consensus and correctness -- with of course, themselves at the top of the hierarchy.  That's all they're there for -- to get to the top, and once there, have no intention of upsetting the apple cart.  They like it fine -- being in charge.  Henceforth, all their efforts will go towards defending and preserving the status quo -- with themselves at the top, or sufficiently high enough to feel a vested interest in keeping the way things are -- even if the problems get worse.  That concern, they feel, is not their job.

So of course they miss the whole point -- as they see the rest of the world pass them by and render them irrelevant.  They're not going to try to keep up -- but instead, prevent everyone else from getting ahead -- especially ahead of themselves.  That is some people's idea of a job -- and meaning and purpose in this world -- to stamp out progress at every turn, and ensure that the world they grew up in -- endlessly repeats itself.

Meanwhile, the mass of humanity marches on -- with or without them.  Right now, that would be extending the useful life of human beings to 100 -- in good shape and condition, which hasn't been done before.  People begin falling apart after 50, and even 40 -- in addition to the many who do not get a proper start in life at all, and are imploding from early ages because of improper lifestyle, diet and exercise that doesn't optimize the health and well-being at any age.  Many such dysfunctional people are even proud of their premature self-destruction -- as though that was a badge of honor and distinction.  So when they go into irreversible decline -- that is quite predictable, and one would not expect anything else.  They are the walking time-bombs just waiting to go off.

One does what they can to be as far removed when they do.