Tuesday, December 06, 2011

All is Better Than One

The flaw in the popular conventional thinking on exercise, is the belief that if one works only the heart, it will develop all the other muscles of the body -- rather than the much more logical thinking that if one develops all the other muscles, the heart will take care of itself -- which is really the design and function of the human musculature. That's why the heart is an autonomic function; it does what it has to do without conscious effort to do it. It automatically adjusts to the demands made on it by the other muscles -- and not vice-versa.

One of the great mistakes is thinking that the effect is the cause -- rather than the proper relationship of the cause to effect. With that kind of thinking, one is led to believe that simply raising the heart rate to target levels, automatically makes one jump higher, lift more and run faster -- rather than the mastery of a specific coordination of the voluntary muscles -- acting in confidence that the heart will take care of the rest of the body, so the mind is free to focus its concentration to that which requires its complete attention.

Random energy expenditure, is not the same as extremely focused concentration of energy -- which is what a person is deliberately attempting to do, rather than just randomly burn as many calories as possible -- even when the objective is weight control, and body shaping -- the latter which is seldom discussed, even when the subject is "Getting into shape." The muscles will get into the shape, one expresses it to do so -- just as the muscles can produce a frown (disapproval) or grimace (denial), rather than a smile and affirmation -- until that is the permanent expression (shape) the face takes on -- and one could not suspect it could appear any other.

All expressions of the human body, are effected by the musculature similarly, if not consciously -- but it is more than a matter of just elevating the heart rate deliberately and specifically -- to cause those effects. It is the very deliberate and intentional expressions that alters the underlying support systems -- to be healthy, because that is what one can effect and affect through voluntary actions (movements). A muscle that has never been expressed, has no idea what is the shape it can take. It requires some bit of experimentation and then practice, to achieve the effects it desires -- but wishful thinking alone, makes little difference in those outcomes. One has to actually express them -- which is the muscle, altering its shape (and appearance) -- in contracting or lengthening, which is all it does -- but 600-800 muscles throughout the body, produces a complexity of expression and usefulness unduplicated and unmatched by any other species -- particularly at the extremities of the head, hands and feet that individuate people.

Other species are much more specialized, and therefore limited, in the expressions and uses it can have -- such as a horse's hoof to give it speed, a tiger's claw, or even an monkey's grasp -- have all not achieved the versatility of the human hand for manipulating tools, the human face for expressions (communication), and the feet to run, jump, push, pull, lift, or dance. And because of these expressions, people take on different appearances to embody what they do -- specifically, which is why gymnasts as a group, look strikingly different from marathon runners -- which is the ideal chosen as the general rule of what it means to be fit -- even though such a highly self-selected gene pool, has very little relationship to how most humans look -- even as an ideal, for doing anything other than running the marathon.

But is running a marathon, or operating a treadmill for extended periods of time, the best and most useful expression of the human capacity? Undoubtedly, fat people just want to get as skinny as possible, and skinny people want to get as massive as possible, but beyond those gross generalizations, what truly is the human ideal? Those whose specific objectives come closest to defining that, are probably the competitive bodybuilders, but as many others realize, that is not the ideal for everyone also -- to be as intimidatingly massive as possible -- in a very stereotypical fashion unique to that competition.

For most others, but probably less dedicated to such singlemindedness of purpose and conformity to that ideal, infinite other variations are also possible -- not that they would necessarily win any other contest. But what matters is that they are in the shape they want and require to be in -- which is the best they believe they manifest and embody at any time -- and not just to peak for one contest, which is very damaging for the overall health of individuals -- as many are familiar with in virtually collapsing in exhaustion from the effort and deprivation required to achieve that optimal "look" even for that one targeted moment. That's not a prescription for a healthy lifestyle most would want every day -- because "balance" is the key concept in developing a healthy and happy life.

Acknowledging that, would one be better to work the one muscle more that already has to contract over 100,000 times each day unfailingly, or spend that time, actuating (activating) all the other muscles, that may not work at all, every day, even for a moment? What would make the bigger difference?

Fortunately, one doesn't have to do 600-800 specialized movements to activate each muscle in isolation -- if one knows how to activate all the muscles as though it is just one.


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