Wednesday, November 16, 2022

You Are What You Do

 Many people ask why they should exercise -- and if it really makes a difference to one's quality of existence.  Such people like to argue that they are happy as they are -- and it is the doctor's job to make them better -- and not that they should do anything themselves to ensure that result.  So of course, when they reach their senior years, they have no idea what they can do to make their lives (health) better -- because they've never done anything like it before, and often think nobody else should do anything either.  Instead, they believe that somebody else should ensure their well-being, while they themselves contribute nothing to that favorable outcome -- and in fact, feel entitled to do everything possible to undermine those efforts.

That of course, is the zero-sum game -- of merely opposing anybody else -- as what they think is the proper purpose of human relations and societal productivity.  That is the kind of conditioning they've had -- to believe that they have to be in constant competition with everybody else, and never for a moment thinking far more can be achieved and accomplished working everything together for a common purpose.  And even in describing the functioning human body, they believe the muscles were designed merely to oppose one another -- rather than that at all times, it naturally wants to complement each other for the most productive outcomes.

So they believe that the biceps is designed to oppose the triceps -- rather than to work in synchronicity to produce a desirable effect.  In no circumstances would it be advantageous or useful merely to cancel out one's own efforts -- so nothing could be achieved, much less get ahead.  Instead, one conditioned with that mindset, is likely to be the least productive member of society, and even counterproductive to it.  That's what criminals ultimately are.

In each individual human body, that is what disease and dysfunction is -- that which undermines the health and well-being of that organism, willfully and unknowingly.  That's why things go wrong -- first and foremost.  Of course there can be statistical anomalies -- but for the most part, what we are, is what we make ourselves to be -- whether that is an athlete, writer, researcher, thinker, gourmand, etc. is That is the statistical 95% -- and the exceptions are what only a rare few have to consider, and discover their unique path -- either as the geniuses and prodigies of that field, or on the other end of the spectrum, the hopelessly incompetent and inept.

It is usually safe to assume that one falls within the 95% -- rather than the 2.5% on either end of the human spectrum.  Generally, what works for most people, will probably work -- but obviously, most do not become the world champion at that activity, and even those who do, do not reign for long.  They have their time -- and then that passes.  And then they are faced with the next challenges and stages of life.  But those skills and habits are not lost in the next and every subsequent stage, but most of those lessons can be transferred to the new.

But if one has never bothered to master anything, the chances are not good that they will get better with time and age -- and so at every age, one learns that they have to do their best, and not just anything will do.  That is what will make a difference -- in anything, and everything one does.  That is why a few become good, and even extraordinary at what they do, while the mass majority have no idea what is going on -- except to do whatever they think everybody else is doing -- to meager and even nonproductive results.

But if they do the "right" thing, the results are invariably immediately manifested and unmistakable.  One just can't fake hitting a homerun.  Either one does, or one doesn't -- but merely wishing it were so, doesn't make it so.  So when people ask, "How long does it take before I can see any results," is an indication that one is not doing the right thing -- because it is self-validating.  It "feels" right -- and everything else just falls into their proper place.

In the quest to achieve lifelong optimal health, there shouldn't be this constant uphill struggle, but rather, a sense that there is nothing else that makes more sense to do -- in living the life one wants to live.  It shouldn't be a hard life -- but rather, an intelligent life, and how one manifests that.  Now I know most people grow up thinking that intelligence is the score they get on an inteically.ligence test -- and are never expected to manifest (actualize) it in any real-world activity or application -- but that is the only real meaning and merit of it. 

That is readily apparent to those with any proficiency in anything.  It doesn't have to be in that same field of expertise to be recognizable as such -- because the same scientific method applies to each.  It is the same processing of information and inputs that make it successful in every field of endeavor.  All one needs to do is master any one -- to know how that applies in every other.  Information processing is that same way no matter what the industry.  Machines do that unfailingly, but so do a few people -- systematically and methodically.  That can be applied even to those activities previously thought to be ruled only by brute force.

That has been the evolution of physical education from dumb muscle to neuromuscular functioning -- or the action of the brain fully manifested in the actuality.  That resulting action is the only way we know that the mind is still alive.  When there is no connection, it's hard to say what that quality of life is -- and that is the sadness of the dementias -- that the vital signs are still present, but nothing else is.  So the inquiring mind asks, how does one not get there?

That requires integrating the mind and muscle so tightly, that ii is inconceivable that one can be without the other.  There is no mind over matter -- because they are so inextricably linked.  In that way, the muscle keeps the mind alive -- and vice-versa.  One cannot conceive of the one without the other.  That is one way of doing it -- and presently, I know of no other.  Then when there is no link, what does it really matter? -- or how could one tell any difference?  In either case, one is simply gone.

In earlier times, such people would simply be allowed to wander off -- or stay behind so that the greater body could survive and go on.  That was the very real reason for keeping one's edge and being fit to go on.  The terrain and challenges are slightly different now -- as they always have been.  That is what evolution is all about -- being fit not only in one way, but all the ways -- to meet all the challenges, even that of the sedentary life made possible by automatons.

That being the case, individuals must devise their own strategies for optimizing their health -- not limited to running faster, jumping higher, lifting more weight -- but doing directly what is required for maintaining optimal health and functioning -- and not as a secondary and extraneous benefit.  And so we think it would be nice if those good things happen -- but not as a primary objective in itself -- as the highest attainment of our being.  That almost seems heretical to consider.  That would put all the health care professionals out of business.

No, they too would have to up their game to a higher level and advise the healthy rather than merely treat the sick.  We already see that evolution coming.  While it is noble to treat the sickest among us, attending to the greatest actualization of human potential serves the greater society better -- as the template for what is possible not just for the few, but most.  That's the 95% of humanity.  But first, one has to develop the prototype for those possibilities -- and manifest it.  That's not just the work of a few geniuses among us, but the essential work of every human being who lives.  That is what gives every life meaning and purpose -- to be the leader in that way.

That is the new model of civilization in the 21st century -- going where we have not gone before.

Sunday, October 16, 2022

It All Adds Up

People often wonder if what they do for exercise must be done on a certain time schedule -- rather than fitting into their lives -- which is obviously the sensible answer.  A set of squats is not undone because one doesn't do a complete hour or two of similar exercises reserved exclusively for such activities.  It is just as good to do an exercise whenever the mood strikes one -- or as needed.  

That is by far the natural way to keep fit and ready to take on any task as required -- which is more likely to be how a normal, healthy life is lived and sustained.  When one has too many rules and protocols to consider before embarking on any task or exigency, then of course, the likelihood that one will be ready and fit for any real life applications are likely to remain remote and removed from one's daily activities -- until eventually, one doesn't even have time and energy to think about it anymore.  So one ends up doing nothing -- which is the worst possible outcome -- even if one lives to be the oldest person ever.

Undoubtedly there may be individuals genetically blessed to outlive all the others -- but the chances of living a fuller, more robust life is indicated by at least some modicum of activity and involvement beyond simply staring at a screen of virtual reality.  Even brief, intermittent respites from that exclusive engagement adds up -- and indicates that everything is still functioning as needed.  That is quite different from one who merely assents their need for more activity -- but exhibits no inclination to do anything about it.

As one grows older with inactivity, the chances that they do nothing at all increases -- and they even lose the muscle memory that indicates they are still capable of such movements any more.  They never know unless they try it -- and for many, even the thought of it, is out of the question.  No matter how genetically gifted one is, one will not know that for a fact until one actualizes that potential and possibility -- and not simply believe they could if they really wanted to.  That is merely wishful-thinking -- and finding out the actual truth of the matter, is far more valuable and productive -- and is the actuality of the matter.  

A lot of people don't realize when they've lost all their movement -- until the moment they actually try to express it -- and it just isn't there.  But one does not need to obsessively do it at every possible moment either.  Admittedly, there are a rare few who were born and bred to do nothing but -- which is a blessing as well as a curse.  For such people, every moment is an opportunity to do their thing -- which could be dance, martial arts, yoga, writing, art, politics, etc.  But even with such people, a well-balanced life and existence is the bigger picture -- and not just any one thing even manifested exclusively to its highest level.  Humans are not built that way -- to eat or die.  Thus, they don't need to be eating all the time -- as many animals have to do -- and get plenty of exercise that way.

 Instead, humans have figured out a way to obt,in nutrient-dense foods that enable them to spend most of their time not eating -- and be immensely better off for it.  So what activities supplant that need?  That surfeit of free time allows them to build civilizations that outlast any individual's lifespan -- as the legacy of their own.  In doing so, they provide a foundation for what is possible for further development -- and in that way, life does not just repeat, but evolves.  That is the ascent of man -- to go farther, figuratively and literally.

In that manner, nothing is lost but forms the foundation for future actions and developments.  As with civilizations, nothing is lost in individual lives also -- which becomes their karma.  Those are the seeds of whatever comes after.  Many have convinced themselves as well as others, that if they or others do not do the whole and complete program, it is all canceled and wasted -- and therefore they never get around to doing anything at all, but despair in the futility of doing anything anymore.

There is no downside to moving only as needed, or inspired to -- waiting only for conditions to be optimal in order to do so.  Almost always, those preconditions are purely arbitrary, and not in line with real time life.  Humans have not evolved their highest form in order to operate a treadmill unfailingly for a certain amount of minutes -- but rather, to do a myriad of different things as the requirements and opportunities arise.  So the conditioning for that kind of life, should be similar -- and not unvarying machine-like repetition for hours on end -- while being totally oblivious and unaware of everything else going around them.  That latter would obviously be "inappropriate" conditioning.  Even in athletics, one never wants to be that individual "doing their own thing," oblivious to what everybody else in the game is doing.

The most valuable player, is invariably the one who has the greatest awareness of what everybody else is doing -- so that their response is based upon that understanding of the greatest synergy -- and not merely the preoccupation with their actions alone.  Those latter people are interesting for the first 15 minutes before realizing they have no idea what is going on -- in the big picture.  They regard all the others as there only to serve their own needs -- and so are a net drain on the total resources and resourcefulness.  In like manner, that kind of short-sightedness undermines all their own efforts and aspirations -- because they are never putting into the system but only taking out.  No society or individual can operate successfully for long that way -- and so the organism inevitably has to fail because no new nutrients can enter from the greater environment.

That's what sustains life -- and knowing that, optimizes it.  And that is really the whole point of life and healthy living.  You do what you were meant (designed) to do.  If you don't, then you will be dysfunctional, diseased, and prematurely dead.  However, that doesn't mean that one has to be pushing themselves beyond their limits until they injure themselves.  Far better to exercise and move in ways that merely increase their range of expression and articulation -- throughout their lives.  And that is the problem now -- that people lose their full functionality way before their time -- mostly through atrophy, and secondly, through abuse, or self-injury.  Undoubtedly, they think they are doing all the right things -- but in the wrong way.  That doesn't have to be the case: they could be doing all the right things -- in the right way, and this latter, is what they are practicing on.

So what they are doing is a practice -- to get up, lift themselves off the floor, optimize the circulation to the most important parts of their body -- and keep those critical faculties in lifelong top shape.  Unfortunately, that is where most people fail as they age -- because they prioritize other areas more highly.  The most conspicuous example is the atrophying of the neck muscles which most older people exhibit -- not because those structures are impervious to development, but because they require the actual movement of the head to activate.  It is because the resultant circulation is bad that the neck, face and brain atrophy -- and not merely because of age.  People can develop that muscular atrophy at any age.  A muscle atrophies because the circulation to it is poor -- and the only way to improve it, is to contract that specific muscle involved -- and not just hope that the heart alone will see to that unfailingly.

Movement tells the blood where to go -- by producing a contraction that pushes the blood (fluids) out of those capillaries and tissues, and upon relaxation, the heart has space to push new nutrients into it.  It can't do it as well if there are no muscular contractions to optimize that flow, and so it just becomes a stagnant pool of toxins that build up in the tissues to cause deterioration with no outlet.  That is what inflammation and swelling is -- and why its remedy is usually compression to aid in pushing the fluids back towards the heart.  That can be achieved with compression clothing and devices, massage (back towards the heart), and most effectively and easily, with deliberate and thoughtful muscular contractions designed specifically to achieve those purposes.

That would be far and away the most intelligent way to go about it.  It first has to be understood, and then practiced as much as possible, any time, any where, under any circumstances one can think to do it.  All one is doing is exercising specifically and directly to be healthy -- and functioning at the highest level immediately possible.  The rest takes care of itself -- as it has for millions of years already.  We don't have to reinvent the wheel -- or a better treadmill.

Friday, September 16, 2022

How Long Does it Take to Show Results?

 If they are doing it right, results are obvious with the very first workout; if they are doing everything wrong, they will never change — but simply reinforce their present condition. Unfortunately, that is what many newcomers do — and are even instructed to do by these people who are out of shape themselves. Obviously, they have no idea what they are talking about — despite having bought many certificates that mean nothing.

What most people don’t realize is that the top bodybuilders can actually double the size of their muscles with each workout. Many of them are just gifted genetically that way, but everyone has that ability to effect an instant transformation if they know how — and that is specifically what bodybuilding is. You very seldom see a top bodybuilder posing “cold,” which is to say, not pumped up. They invariably pump up first before posing — because that is when it feels good to do so, and they can see how impressively their muscles respond to that effect of exercise — which is obviously directing and gorging the blood to the areas they desire to achieve that effect.

So even the most out-of-shape person has that ability to specifically direct and enhance the circulation to the specific areas of the body by the understanding that it is the alternation of the muscular state from fullest contraction to fullest relaxation that produces a pumping effect — just as the heart works. However, the objective of proper (effective) exercise is not just to make the heart work unlimitedly harder, but to recruit the skeletal (voluntary) muscles to aid in the circulatory process — particularly by producing muscle contractions at the furthest extremities — because it is those contractions, that pump the blood back towards the heart. If no such contractions occur at those extremities, then the blood already in the capillaries, prevent new blood from entering — even as much as the heart is pumping harder and faster into that resistance.

The evacuation of that blood in the capillaries have to be pushed out by the skeletal (voluntary) contractions of the muscles at whatever point one wants to enhance that particular circulation — which as I’ve pointed out in especially older people, is from the head, hands and feet — so they don’t experience that deterioration from those sites as are the well-known in the elderly and sedentary. In pre-industrial times, most work commonly done, required the activation of the head, hands and feet — and not simply demanding the heart alone work harder, while there is no movement at the wrists, ankles and neck — characteristic of modern sedentary life. Thus the deterioration (lack) of those actual movements coincide with the loss of brain function (dementias), loss of grip strength and loss of balance in those living the modern sedentary life.

Even those who have formerly experience great success at effecting those transformations forget what made them possible — and think it is just the magical lifting of weights that made such instant results possible — and why they no longer obtain that pump in their less proficient (older) years. They’ve lost that insight into what made things work, and buy into what doesn’t work — because everybody says is the way to do things — despite the fact that it is not working. That is invariably more “cardio,” and as a result, many otherwise, healthy people die prematurely of heart failure — even if they are the World’s Strongest Man. The heart can only do so much, but in most modern sedentary lives, the rest of the muscles are doing very little — or nothing at all, and that is the problem.

When I first started giving presentations on exercise at the retirement homes and convalescent centers, I was struck by how most of the residents sat like statues — exhibiting very little movement at all, and so rather than asking them to do the conventional movements like all the physical therapists do — usually to qualify them for their further services, I focused on the areas of expression — which are the head, hands and feet to immediately effect a greater flow to those areas — and even those people were transformed instantly. Dull eyes would begin to clear and glow. Hands and feet would articulate as they hadn’t in years.

That is the impact of effective exercise — immediate, and not only after staying with the program for months and years, as the physical educators would have one believe. Of course, one learns to get better at making such drastic transformations (changes) — as the gauge of its effectiveness, and not expect that magically, the results will manifest only years down the road. That doesn’t work in any reality that I’m familiar with.

Remember, the first advocate for cardio exercise — actually died of cardio failure while out on his typical runs. That should have indicated something — but they doubled down, and kept on doing so — even as more robust people died of heart failures. It’s the obvious wrong understanding. The major failing of these times are the many whose hearts continue to beat unfailingly and automatically, but the functioning at the extremities of the head, hands and feet — have long stopped. The simplicity of the understanding that pumping blood to wherever destinations (organs) benefit from it the most, produces the most and immediate change — because that is what the body has to do to enhance its survival advantage.

Monday, August 01, 2022

"Making a Muscle"

 Usually before one is out of grade school, every boy learns "how to make a muscle," and delights in showing off that ability by raising and bending their arm to reveal one of the great observations and lessons of mastering their body.  Unfortunately, few take it beyond that revelation -- in realizing that the same effect could be demonstrated with every other muscle in their body.  

When a joint is articulated, the resulting movement produces an undeniable transformation of its appearance -- that remains throughout life, except that many never perform such movements (articulations) anymore -- and even lose the memory (connection) that such a thing is even possible anymore.  Yet when one gets them to perform such articulations, that contraction is obvious once more -- as long as they are still capable of such movement.  But that requires manifesting memory into action -- which many have long forgotten -- and is the underlying reason for their diminishing mobility.  

It's not that they can't move in that manner anymore, but they'v long forgotten how to activate such action.  They just don't think to do it anymore -- and that thinking of its possibility -- makes the activation of the neuromuscular structures their response capabilities.  That is the reason for practice -- to maintain and even enhance those capabilities, and obviously, not to, will make such actions increasingly difficult and eventually impossible.

That's obvious to mostly everyone -- but not so obvious, is the realization that such movement can be performed without a load usually employed to increase the level of difficulty -- characteristic of most "competitive" events.  However, that competitive component is not actually a requirement of maintenance and improvement -- but actually becomes a detriment and deterrent to lifelong health, long past the age in which one can compete without the risk of injuries producing a lifelong impairment.

That's usually at the point at which one's ability to recover fully from such injuries diminish greatly to the point that further participation on those terms, is no longer feasible nor attractive -- and one's better judgment says, "No more."  The risks far outweigh the rewards henceforth, and one is wise to give up on such activities (as every mature person has), rather than risk a fatal or lifelong debilitating injury -- unless of course, they absolutely have to.  Then a person does what they have to do -- and there is no quibbling over that.  Their very lives may depend upon it.

Most are not aware of the fact that healthful movement (exercise) can be conducted in the absolute absence of any competitive (stressful) motives -- and in fact, is the preferable and more productive way to conduct such activities.  That's particularly true for people hoping to maintain those faculties for the entirety of their years -- and especially true for those wishing to improve the ease, grace and effortless of their movements throughout life.  For that, no competition is required -- but the trained eye can detect that difference as the underlying functioning of that individual.

It doesn't have to be rocket science.  That should be self-evident truth -- and that may be the hardest thing to see and understand in a world of technocracy -- in which most things that are "known," are the knowledge claimed by those who claim to know about these things -- whether they in fact, know anything worth knowing.  Not all knowledge is equal; some are more useful than others.  Some have no validity in fact or practice -- but are propagated nevertheless.  Quite a number of things are that way.  Well-known and adhered to, but may be the root of the problem rather than its solution -- and it is only the solutions that matter, and not the multiplication and proliferation of endlessly more problems.

Real solutions eliminate those problems -- rather than simply making it bigger and more costly, so as to create endlessly more jobs (work).  Dependent care-giving is probably the greatest example of this at the present time -- when the paradigm is that it takes increasingly more caring by others, while that attention and caring by the individuals themselves, is greatly discouraged and even forbidden -- thus ensuring that evermore jobs will be created to solve that problem.  Besides the aging populations, that is also true of younger populations that have decided early on, to remain totally dependent on others for everything, rather than develop their own independence -- as the achievement of distinction of what every thriving and viable culture (society) seeks to do better than any other.

That is the survival of the fit -- and not merely the competition to be the fittest under much more arbitrary and constrained circumstances.  The former stands the test of time -- while the latter is sound and fury signifying nothing of lasting significance -- or great importance.  It is merely a simulation of life, rather than the actual living of it -- a game rather than life itself.  Some even go as far as to claim that all of life is nothing more than endless games -- so that in the end, nothing really matters -- rather than that reality always matters.

One's life should matter -- and should be the best one can make it, but those things just don't happen.  The quest of life is to make it happen.  Many get distracted from that truth -- by all the games, diversions and distractions.  The smartphone is not reality; the world around one is reality -- and where one can make every difference.  The image is not the real -- no matter who approved that message.

Friday, July 01, 2022

Desperation is a Great Motivator

Many people won't do anything until all their chances have run out -- and then they are desperate for anything that might work.  But until they get to that point, they expect a miracle to save them.  Miracles are even a greater long shot -- than the most modest thing one can do for themselves.  God is usually too busy to intercede -- especially when one has done absolutely nothing for oneself but pray to God to do everything for them.  Even the most beneficent of beings, will run out of patience.  So it is largely up to each individual, to do as much as they can for themselves -- before asking for divine interventions, because the plan already works -- but everyone must learn how it works.

That's not automatic; one is not born with that perfect knowledge, but has many years to learn as they live -- and get better by it.  Presumably, that is what life is all about -- and not the many diversions and entertainments that occupy them otherwise.  Chief among them now is just consuming all one can -- just because they can.  That seems to be the undoing of many people now

That's what "opportunity" means to many -- unlimited chances to waste them all, and not that each must be properly valued and appreciated (made greater).  It still is a world of finite resources, and not all you can eat (consume) -- at every opportunity.  Even in ancient times, the wastage of resources, made for hard times to follow.  And so a few wise ones advised on the need to live judiciously and shepherd the resources for ever better days ahead.  Usually, those voices were unheard, and in many cases, persecuted and suppressed by the ever growing madding crowd -- who thought that unlimited more was their entitlement and birthright.

But alas, the world is what we make of it -- individually, and then collectively -- and not just everybody waiting for everybody else to do it first -- for them.  Obviously, those are the societies and civilizations in decline, while more robust and rising ones emerge each day -- in new ways.

Even for the most undiscriminating, some things work better than others -- but more than a few, never figure that out, merely choosing to accept every outcome as equal to any other.  Not surprisingly, they are even seen to go backward in their lives to a time of less accountability and responsibility for their own actions and lives -- instead of moving ahead at every opportunity and challenge.  Instead, there is no progress but only repetition -- of the same behaviors that got them to their present quandaries.

Before we go too far down that path, hopefully we find a few who see things clearly, and guide us to the light.  They are not everyone, or even most people -- but the path of a few who see their own lives with that significance.  They are the self-chosen few, and it doesn't matter how many are on the other side -- lost in the wilderness of their own self-deceptions.  Chief among them are those working in the various media -- catering to whatever popular delusions and madness is the order of the day.  It might be the present investment scheme, magical potions, rituals of contemporary fads -- each outdoing every other for the limited attention bandwidths.

They think that whatever they want to think, makes it so -- if they can't get enough people to get with their program.  In that respect, they are lot like every generation before them -- with their shamans, gurus, and experts -- proclaiming to know better, for each and every other -- which is much more convenient than each learning for themselves, the truth of every matter.  So what they believe to be true, is largely what someone else has told them is the truth, and there are experts in every matter -- and not that anyone should ever experiment and find out for themselves.

Usually one lives that way -- until one comes to that moment of desperation in which they are forced to find another way -- or perish.  For the best, that often comes early in life -- when they realize that they are very different from the others, and so simply going along with all the others, only ensures their doom and abnegation.  That is most obvious with the child prodigies of every age -- realizing that what most think is impossible, is way too easy for them, and they have to be very circumspect at "showing off," lest they be brutally suppressed and censored by the self-appointed gatekeepers of the truth.

But in more humble lives, those days of reckoning can come to most -- if they choose to embrace it.  More often than not, it is the path opened to them by desperation -- as the person given no hope otherwise.  Legends are built on such transformations -- with no idea of a definitive result.  They just do because they don't know what else to do -- as all the options provided to them, have no future but the hapless known.  That's almost invariably how the weak became strong.  They refused to accept their doom, and so they worked tirelessly at changing that prognosis.

That's not a hard thing to do.  It takes dedication born out of desperation -- that that is the only thing they can do, and what makes perfectly good sense to do.  So they are "all-in," no matter what.  That's the easy part.  Finding out the right things to do may take the entirety of their lives -- but what better and more important things have they got to do with their lives?  In that way, is their greatest service to the rest of humanity -- to find that better way -- rather than the dismal familiar.

That's true of every pioneer in every field -- and particularly, the ones that have yet to be created.  And nothing less is possible.  If it is not one, it will be someone else.  That is the ongoing evolution of the species.  Supreme health is the evolution of the species -- and not simply more of sickness providing more cures.  That is the old paradigm of somebody else making everyone else well.  People have to do it for their own sake, as well as their own good -- and nobody else can do it for them.  They have to live their own lives with that sense of urgency and desperation.  It's not the power over everybody else -- but to manage their own lives as though it matters, and makes a difference.  That is the only action that ever has.

It doesn't mean that everyone has to run marathons or become a "mass" monster.  Everyone has to become their own person -- and not just the latest mass media fabrication that has gone way beyond parody.  The only silver lining in that is the realization that such instant transformations are entirely possible.  But far beyond the manifestations are the sustainable lifestyles of truly healthy people -- and what they will do because of that underlying health.  Health is not even about the absence of sickness and problems.  It is going where humankind has not gone before.

It is not one thing -- but everything.  It's foolish to talk of living longer lives if those lives are not achieved by vastly superior health that makes living longer feasible and enjoyable -- or what would be the point of simply deteriorating longer?  That doesn't make sense to anyone.  That is truly putting the cart before the horse.  What matters is the health of the horse -- and that will take us to where we want to go.

Wednesday, June 01, 2022

Functional Fitness

 I don't know how many times I've encountered a title on "functional fitness," only to find them teaching impractical skills -- thinking that some day they will be useful, when the very nature of that teaching, is to make everything as impractical and difficult to do as possible -- so as to make them useless and worse, dangerous and injurious.

A good case in point is the manner in which an initiate is taught to perform a squat -- with their arms held up straight in front of them.  Under no circumstances would a person actually lift a weight in that manner -- and in most cases, would never think to do so -- unless they were taught that performance as being unequivocally the "correct" thing to do -- with no deviation or even questioning allowed.

It does nothing but flatter the instructors of such performance that they are "right," and the rest of humanity is less intelligent and knowledgeable because they know something that everybody else does not.  Whether that knowledge is useful or not, is besides the point.  They simply "know" something most others don't -- whether it is useful or not.

The whole point of that performance, is to maximize every advantage one can conceive -- beginning with the realization that the center of balance and gravity must be aligned -- which absolutely requires the hands to be in a downward position close to one's ankles -- just as the Olympic weightlifters and other strongmen invariably know to do.  Nobody in their right mind, would think to lift even the lightest weight with their hands held out straight in front of them.  What purpose would that serve --- except to learn something totally useless and dysfunctional?

But a lot of people now go through their entire lives with that kind of modus operandus -- thinking the more they know the better they are -- rather than in realizing that the fountain of all wisdom, is the realization that they know nothing.  From there, one can discover wondrous things -- while those who begin thinking they know everything, will never attempt to find out anything.

That's mainly the difference between those who succeed and those who have no idea what they are talking about -- but are merely repeating what they were rewarded to repeat unquestioningly.  Of course, that is the failing of our education system -- that people are not instructed to find out the truth of any matter for themselves, but rely on their instructors to reward them for their faithfulness in unquestioning obedience to such a program.

So of course, many arrive at the twilight of their lives totally misguided -- without a clue as to how they can set themselves right, and feel like they are simply cash cows for all those who profit handsomely on their misfortunes and (dis)ease.  Whenever there are problems, there are two basic impulses -- the first is to eliminate those problems, and the second is, to exploit those problems and make a handsome living from them.

Thus, it becomes the driving force behind why small problems at first, grow larger until they consume all one's resources -- and there is no more quality of life for any of its inhabitants -- while other societies, don't understand why there should be a problem.  In most cases, the problems are of their own making -- and are not inherent to life, but instead, antithetical to life -- because they cannot tell any better.  The problems become their lives and way of living.

Such societies go into decline -- while others rise and flourish.  That is the eternal story of civilization -- and why nobody stays at the top forever -- even with all the spoils.  The most robust at solving (eliminating) problems rise, while those consumed with problems fall -- usually at their own hands.

The casual visitor to such societies will note those obvious differences -- of greater civility in one, and increasing lawlessness, disrespect, and disregard in the other.  The public relations will tell us that things were never better -- even while misery and despair are all we see -- even camped out on the doorsteps of civic government.

The people one would think whose job it was to see and report on these things, tell us there is nothing to see, and there is no problem -- except that we need infinitely more funding to solve these non-problems.  In Hawaii, they've even built a transportation system that will not go anywhere.  They claim it is nearly perfect, because nobody can get on, and nobody can get off -- anywhere they'd want to go.  It is "perfect" because it will require infinite funding.  So many Islanders are getting their wish that the Islands return to where they were before civilization invaded their harmony -- and nobody needed to go anywhere.

But that is not the whole story of what is going on in the world.  One is not likely to hear about it, but there are some cities rising into the 21st century with gleaming new skyscrapers and pristine public areas.  Yet we are told that they are third-world countries -- and not the leaders into the 21st century with all that implies.  That is the new world order -- and not just the old, maintaining itself at the top -- and selling this "old world charm," for tourist dollars.

Obviously, they are not the living places of business and industry, but a trip of nostalgia, and the good old times.  But that is the past, and not the future.  The future is a whole new way of life -- built on the past surely, but leaping into the unknown -- and favoring those who know they do not know.  And so they find out, and in doing so, create the way of the future -- and not simply repeat the past, for one more iteration.

What people have regarded as "fitness," hasn't served them very well -- when even their staunchest advocates die prematurely even while at the top of their game, or disabling themselves for life by abusing themselves in ways not meant to be -- which causes them to cease all healthful activities from early on in life.  Many take up drugs to escape their pain and fill the void in their lives.  So obviously, a whole new, better paradigm of activities and purpose is needed based on integrating exercise into contemporary lifestyles -- instead of the failed model of stopping life so that one can exercise, and do anything productive and significant.

That is easier done than said -- because the body is built for movement -- but not arbitrary movements the devious mind can conceive -- so that it has to fail.  The proper exercise of the body, is actually how it is designed to work -- without the mind taking precedence of the most profitable model to conduct and sell that instruction.  It is like the infant learning how to become proficient with its own body -- before they encounter those who insist on telling them what to do and how to be -- as unqualified and incompetent to tell anybody else what to do.

The kinesthetically gifted are never that way.  They learn through the actuality of their experiences (exercise) -- which requires constant attention and attentiveness -- of which there is no limit, unlike the treadmill of activities that discover nothing new, and frankly, produces no favorable results beyond reinforcing the belief that that is the only way things can ever be done.

Getting back to the manner of squat performance, another accompanying instruction is to never allow the knees to move forward of the toes -- which then displaces the center of gravity to the unnatural position that cannot be sustained comfortably over a prolonged period -- as is seen in indigenous cultures.  That exercise is the proper alignment of the major hinges of the human body -- that simply happens because it must.  Human babies are quite proficient at it -- with no instruction usually given.  They know how to use natural advantage -- and thus we marvel at the wisdom of the young -- in discovering what is in them, and not in all the books pretending to know something -- but in reality, is responsible for setting faith and confidence in human knowledge back to the Dark Ages.

The fact of the matter is that it just doesn't work -- and increasingly in their twilight years when they desperately need it the most.  That is true for even the most ardent exercisers.  They accept their increasing deteriorating condition as the general rule, and point out only one metric, if any, that defies that general trend.  That's not convincing proof of the validity of all they are promulgating.

In most cases, lifting a heavier weight does not increase the productivity -- as many think is automatic.  What matters, is the precision and mastery of performance -- regardless of resistance or load.  That's where many go astray.  It is the quality of the movement rather than the quantity of the load that results in the optimal stimulus of movement.  While most are impressed with the amount that can be lifted with excellent form, the magic is the excellence of form, and not the weight.  Correlation is not causation.

The mastery of performance is what allows for maximum poundage, and not simply upping the poundage at every opportunity -- until one invariably injures themselves because of the improper form.  In observing world champion lifters, what is striking is the attention paid to their form using only the bar -- and if that is not precisely where it should be, they do not go higher.  What would be the point?  Like the practice of medicine, the first rule should be, do no harm -- and once one has ensured those parameters, the rest takes care of itself -- but not before then.  That would be putting the cart before the horse -- with similarly disappointing results.

Particularly for the oldsters out there, if you can still do the snatch and clean and jerk in perfect form with the bar alone at age 100, you don't need to lift anything more.  That alone says it all.  It's like the ballet dancer; if they can still lift their leg up over their head at 100, they don't need to add any more weight to make it a better exercise. It will invariably make it a worse exercise -- and a travesty, but somebody will come along recommending it as the "next big thing."

Sunday, May 01, 2022

The Test of Time

 Aging is nothing more than the test of time; how well any truth holds up, is revealed in time.  If we live a good and virtuous life, time will tell.  That's even more so if we haven't.  The good and bad accumulates over time -- either as aging badly or aging well.  Many will try to convince us that it all doesn't matter, and the slates are washed clean every night -- or every year -- rather than invariably being what kills us, or keeps us alive.

Bad lives tend to be short, nasty, brutish.  Good lives bring joy to many others -- even without trying.  They are just a joy to witness -- and marvel at the human possibilities.  One doesn't have to be that person achieving it; it is enough that any of the species can attain it to feel connected to and appreciate it.

That is why we appreciate the prodigies of every discipline -- even if we could never imagine doing what they do ourselves.  We know that the world is rich in talent -- as well as wisdom.  Few need to possess it all, although a rare few, think that any other's gain, is stolen from them.  Those are the psychopathic criminals of the world -- who think that everybody in the world exists for their exclusive benefit, and showed up just to applaud them.  There are the countless many others, who wish to hog all the spotlight -- with no discernible talent and significance to justify it.

For a while, they may be very successful at achieving those ends -- but in the end, realize it was not sustainable -- especially when they needed it to be the most.  What used to explain everything, had in time, proved to be false and only a delusion.  And nowhere is that more true than athletic or any other kind of competition -- even with oneself.  That is not the driving force in meaningful sustainable activities.  The prizes and distinctions were mainly the diversions from any true purpose -- and once they were not forthcoming, many just give up and abandon all betterment, and go into a steep decline -- with no intention of turning around again.  Those lives are over.

So the challenge of that stage of life is renewing and reviewing life daily -- as though it matters -- even if it means beginning now.  Many lose that sense of urgency -- because nothing seems to work anymore, or make any difference -- and it has been that way as long as they can remember.  That is all learned behavior and accepting the conventional wisdom -- or truth of the day.  Tomorrow it will be different.

Truths that work, don't just work when one is young and don't know any better.  It's more important to know what truths work timelessly -- because one knows better.  Yet it is precisely at that stage that most people's knowledge abandons and betrays them -- rather than assures and produces for them.  That's when it really counts -- and people learn whether they have passed  those tests.  It's difficult to accept that all one "knew," was only wishful-thinking, and had no connection to reality, and the realities they are now facing -- mostly because of the errors of their ways.

It did not seem that excessive drinking and eating would have negative impacts -- later on in life, but that is the truth, as much as many are in denial.  In fact, the current advertising is to encourage it as much as possible.  At some point, the damage is irreversible and irrecoverable -- but one never knows when that point is.  Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing, and just little bit of a good thing, may be the proper dosage -- that doesn't make a poison, or produce irrecoverable and irreversible injury.

More is not always better -- unequivocally.  Nor is zero.  More than likely, the truth lies somewhere in between -- and finding that proper balance has always been the challenge.  Does one need to lift a personal best or run a marathon each day to optimize their health and well-being?  Most have tried this maximum overload principle only to find that it injures or impairs them prematurely -- resulting in permanent cessation of any further efforts and exercise.  The body in its infinite wisdom, tells them to stop.  That is true zero -- while those who leave a little in the tank, are ready to go again, and that is the preferable condition of readiness -- to do whatever one has to do in the daily activities of their lives -- and that is infinitely more important than simply setting a personal best in something not necessary to do.

Meanwhile, one never has the time and energy for doing what really matters in their lives because one has diverted those energies towards the unnecessary -- as though they really mattered.  Of course one could do both -- and that would already indicate a better balance than the one to the exclusion of every other -- particularly if that one thing to the exclusion of everything else, isn't working.  Yet most will not admit that what they are doing is not working -- to achieve the greater health objective because they are so narrowly focused on the one metric that tells them all they want to know.

But that one measure, may not be all there is to know -- or anything relevant to know -- especially if everything else in their lives is not working, and getting better.  Yet many accept that that is how it is supposed to be -- and not that it would be nice to solve the real problems in their lives.  Eventually it just adds up to a monumental fail -- and one surmises that that is the inevitable "aging" process -- which only a rare few do not succumb to as the unchallenged truth.  But is that a function of time or faulty lifestyle choices and practices?

What would be the outcome if one did everything right -- and not just presume so -- when everything turns out wrong, particularly aging badly?