Thursday, December 01, 2022

It Doesn't Take Much

 Because the biggest difference is between zero and one, the minimal regularity is once a week for at least an hour -- and if one can maintain that indefinitely and until the end of life, that is good enough.  Being able to do that one hour of exercise, is fitness -- and not some theoretical workload that one abandons as soon as possible.  

So when I see people exercise intermittently -- on any regularity, that is good enough -- because such people can ramp it up if they need to, or take a break -- and come back.  The people who are in real danger, are those who never come back.  It is just a matter of time, before they are gone entirely -- and expectedly.  One needs no excuses or reason for not doing anything obsessively and without fail, to believe they are doing "enough."  Compulsive and obsessive exercise and activity, conveys little survival benefit -- over the one who does what is absolutely necessary, when they absolutely have to.

All that seems to be lost in discussions on "fitness." What truly makes one fit, is being able to rise to the occasion, only as frequently as one needs to -- and then go on and do other things in a well-balanced existence.  Lots of people can only do one thing -- and if they have to do any other thing, are completely lost -- and that is not fitness.  Fitness is means rising to the challenge of the present moment -- and not compulsively doing their one thing regardless of whether it is appropriate or not.  It may even in fact be entirely inappropriate and make the situation and their chances for survival much worse -- as it is for those who think their fitness is manifested in taking ever-greater risks, until one day, they tempt fate too far.

Fitness is ultimately about survival -- and not simply dying doing what one loved, and did excessively.  So finding out what that right level is for optimizing one's health and survival is the bigger picture beyond rolling the dice and dying prematurely at a young age by taking risks that more intelligent people would not dare to take.  Such people perish prematurely -- or worse, live out the remainder of their days as paraplegics -- or some variation on that theme.  At any rate, it is not a full and well-developed life.

As such, many should question whether benching, squatting, or deadlifting to their breaking point is a wise thing to do -- because then it nullifies their original intent of becoming as able as possible, rather than disabled prematurely.  That is the fine line that everybody walks throughout life -- and is the difference between living and dying -- and exercise is dying a little, so one might live a greater life -- and not extinguishing oneself entirely. 

Thus what one is doing in exercise, is fully learning all the movements the body is designed and capable of -- and maintaining those movements and capabilities at least minimally -- rather than losing them by never feeling the need to express and articulate them.  The obvious choice then, is to practice different and varying movements --rather than doing a singular one thing -- thinking that is enough to make one at least minimally competent at the many movements possible.  Not doing those other things, will cause one to atrophy in those capacities unexercised.  Often, it is because one is not even conscious or aware of them.

The most common and frequent of these is the lack of head movement in contemporary modern man -- because that is no longer required for information and awareness of their environment.  Instead, they stare motionless at a screen all day that does all the moving for them.  And without that movement, the circulation to the extremity of the head and those critically important organs -- especially the brain -- are not optimized to their maximal capacities, and so the atrophying, deterioration, and dysfunction of those organs, is to be expected, rather than unsuspected.  And further evidence of that atrophy, is the deterioration of the neck muscles as well as the lack of head movement relative to the torso.

The importance of movement, is that it increases the circulation to those areas exercised, and not simply that the heart will provide that circulation equally to those organs and areas exercised or not -- to achieve that effect.  That is accomplished by the alternation of the muscular state from fullest contraction to fullest relaxation -- just as the heart beats in providing that flow from the heart out to the extremities.  But that flow will tend to go in those areas in which the blood has been expelled by the vigorous contractions of the skeletal (voluntary) muscles, and is why those areas tend to be developed more than unmoved and unexercised muscles in that same way.

And so if I were to design an optimal exercise program, one would begin with the most critical parts of the human body to maintain -- at the head, hands and feet -- rather than the biceps and the abdominals.  Not to do so, is the reason those people are inordinately predisposed to deprivation of health in those areas.  That is obvious when one is young, but becomes increasingly important with age -- and its well known by now, deteriorative patterns. That is infamously the look of the "talking heads" -- with their atrophying neck muscles, while their faces are heavily made-up to give them life-like expressions.

And as one goes to these dependent care centers, one notices that pattern of non-movement of the head particularly, as well as at the hands and feet -- and the rest is incidental at best.  Because it is at those extremities, that manifest and articulate the liveliness of that person -- even more than their vital signs or memories. In fact, the importance of memory is less important in an age in which virtual memory devices are plentiful -- and even excessive.  This is the age and times in which we live, and those challenges and needs change -- which is what is deemed important.

So whether one has to lift 500 lbs. is less important and useful, than if they can simply turn their head 360 degrees and achieve the greatest awareness of where they are and what they are doing -- most appropriately.  Far too many misguided individuals think it is enough just to smash as many storefront windows as they can -- as an expression of their value and fitness to society as well as themselves.  Far more valued would be knowing how to better keep everything intact and well maintained.  These latter, are far more likely to be deemed "fit," -- over those destroying as much as they can as an exhibition of their power.  That says that if they can't have it, then nobody else can either -- whether that be people, places or things.  Such people can be very destructive -- and not people you want to be around when they completely lose control of all their senses and faculties.  At that point, they become unrecognizable as human beings -- and are more like alien beings of which one is at a loss as to how to comprehend and deal with them.  This is very real life for increasingly many.

So true fitness is increasingly about understanding this much larger picture of life -- and not merely one person in competition with all the others for scarce prizes.  In fact, the more fit person, is likely to be the one who can transform scarcity into abundance, ie., the productive individual.  Those people make the biggest difference in any culture and society.  To some extent, it is exhibited in one's physical presence and prowess, but even beyond that, is characterized by great balance in all that they are and do.  Even among the competitive bodybuilders, that egregious imbalance, is disturbing to see.  The ideal of all those ancient statuaries, was in capturing the balanced physique in sculpture and paintings.

That is the standard most appealing to the healthy and intelligent.  One marvels at that design -- and function.  That is what Nature intended -- that we grow to be our best selves.  Then with that proper orientation, we do not lose our way and become directionless the older we get.  That is the challenge in living in an age of affluence -- and no longer an age of scarcity.  The challenges are very different, and so should our abilities and fitness to meet them.  That is how fitness becomes meaningful, and not just mindlessly spinning our wheels because we cannot think of a better use for our time on earth.

So instead of doing everything in as hard and difficult a way as possible, the total fitness challenge should be to optimize a life of our most intelligent design.  That obviously, is the next level.  That is what I hope to see more in the future -- of people exercising their intelligence in coordination with mastery of their movements and muscles.  Only in that way will we overcome the ravages of incomplete and unbalanced development -- which eventually incapacitates the whole operation.  More often than not, that is how we fail and die now.  Few are lost early in life, but most are later in life -- and that is how life has always worked.  Only now, we make a specialty out of dying.

In this, everyone wants to be in-charge -- with who lives, and who dies.  That is what personal coaches seem to be about.  People who do the thinking for you -- and there are a few out there -- particularly in the manipulative sciences.  Their job is to convince us of what is not true.  That is their "talent."  In some places, it is highly valued -- but is very stressful to be around, especially constantly as many allow themselves to be.  Some would say, that is the role of the "smartphone."  It does most of our thinking for us -- including exercise instruction.  That leaves out the essential part of learning on our own -- the major benefit of doing anything.  

Instead, all of what we know, is what somebody else told us is the truth -- and so we never bother to find out for ourselves whether that is actually true of not.  We just never question it.  And so we end up mindlessly doing anything -- rather than thinking our way through to the very end -- and finding out for ourselves what is true in our own lives.  We know what the "averages" say, but not any particular specific.  That is a distortion of reality.  That is the individual, and most important thing to know.


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