Monday, April 08, 2024

The Holy Grail of Health

 The question is not whether exercise works and is good for you, but what does one prioritize in a world of limited time, energy and resources?

We see that in older people, what breaks down are the critical faculties at the head, hands and feet — or cognitive function, grip strength, and foot strength (balance), as the major markers of decline — or good health. Those are neuromuscular functions — or voluntary — rather than cardiovascular — which is autonomic. That means that what one can make the most significant difference, is what one can control — rather than what is automatic. The neuromuscular effects the cardiovascular system automatically, while simply increasing the heart rate, does not indicate or improve athletic performance. That is to say that lifting a weight will increase the heart rate, but simply increasing the heart rate, will not necessarily lift a weight.

And in fact, what is usually called cardio exercise, is usually done with very little movement of the upper body, as well as foot articulation. It is the full range articulation at that axis that causes the muscle to be fully contracted or fully relaxed. Just shuffling one’s feet with little of that change of muscular states precludes that flow to the extremities — while the core may continue to function for years. And that is the problem of the unexcercised body — the willful voluntary muscles hardly move again. That movement causes blood and fluids to circulate to those areas — and without it, the circuit is circumscribed.

The heart may be working harder — but none of the other muscles of the body are — and they contribute greatly to the circulatory effect. It is that circulation that produces muscle growth and optimal functioning of all the organs. So if the brain, hands and feet are cut off from that enhancement, effective and efficient circulation will not occur no matter how hard and fast the heart alone works. It is a one pound organ providing for the hundredful mass and musculature — rather than recruiting all the other muscles of the body to optimize that circulatory effect. That would be the intelligent thing to do — and the most productive exercise to do.

That is what is overlooked in exercise expressly for health in longevity. A person who is vital and animated is particularly so by the expressions and movements (articulations) at the head, hands and feet. Those are the organs of human expression. The rest of the body plays a supportive role. When the functioning (health) of the head, hands and feet cease, then that individual loses their uniqueness and identity — and become our worst nightmare — requiring constant care by others to do all the things most people can do for themselves.

But if a person retains and increases their functioning and proficiency at the head, hands and feet, they are functioning at their highest level. But even young and presumably fit people don’t achieve that — because their time, energy and resources are misplaced to what is much less important — including competitive athletics, which presumably is to prepare them for the greater challenges of life ahead. That may be lifting a heavy weight, or running great distances — leaving no time for developing the head, hands and feet.

The best example would be maintaining and enhancing one’s ability to turn one’s head 360 degrees — because that movement, requires the activation and engagement of all the muscles of the body! — and not just the heart alone. The exercise of that movement, would be indicative of a person firing on all cylinders — and not just the one — whether that be the heart, biceps, glutes, abdominals, etc. The atrophied turkey/pencil neck is not inevitable in every aging person — but indicative of poor circulation to the head (brain) — with predictably disastrous consequences. The head must actually move to provide that circulation; playing “mental” games doesn’t produce that very “physical” effect. That is the integration of mind and body long sought as the Holy Grail of Health. It’s not the mind or the body; it requires one to be firing on all cylinders to make the “unprecedented” life possible. That is what we are all here for.

Obviously we just can’t keep on doing the same things that hasn’t worked before — hoping for a different result. We have to do something differently — something that makes perfectly good sense — so we don’t have to force ourselves to do what doesn’t make perfectly good sense and produces those results immediately as self-evident truth.

Monday, March 25, 2024

Risks and Rewards

 The most significant contribution of Arthur Jones in developing the Nautilus principles and machines was not variable resistance through the full range of movement around one axis — but actually determining in what position that muscle had to be in to be fully contracted and fully relaxed — because it is the alternation between those muscular states — that determines the blood flow (circulation), and that is what produces health, growth, and optimal functioning. To him, that was incidental to developing machines that would be “foolproof” in ensuring that a person did precisely the right movement — and ensuring the results he “guaranteed.”

However, he did not account for trainees to actually subvert the intended functioning of his equipment — usually by lifting more weight than could be maintained by the proper performance. The machines were not designed to enable one to lift the most weights, but actually to exhaust the muscles using the least amount of resistance. All that got lost in training and selling machines to those who believed that using the most weight (resistance) was what produced optimal results — rather than by achieving the greatest difference in the state of muscular contraction and relaxation — just as the heart is effective in pumping blood out towards the extremities by that same action.

However, contrary to popular belief, the heart cannot force blood through the miles of capillaries, in which the purpose of that evolutionary design is to slow the blood down to where it can efficiently exchange gases with the resident tissue — at which point, contractions of the muscles at those extremities that contain the capillaries (at the head, hands, and feet), are effective at contracting (pumping) that blood back to towards the heart aided by the veins that allow blood to flow in only that direction back towards the heart (center of the body). It is two different set of blood vessels, and not just the heart providing the motive power for all the blood flow. That is the greatest misunderstanding of cardiovascular functioning and exercise effectiveness.

That is why exercise — or more specifically, contractions at those extremities, cause blood flow that ensures the elimination and removal of those accumulating and stagnant metabolic waste products (inflammation), and then allowing the new nutrients that ensure health, development and optimal functioning — as Nature intended. That process ensures the health and well-being of that individual — and not simply wanting it more than everybody else — as the jocks fancy it is.

So, far and away the most important thing, is to understand the science of this process — and not simply lifting the most weight possible. Thus the squat, deadlift, bench press are not the most effective exercises as often touted — but are simply those movements that allow one to use the most weight — regardless of whether they produce the desired results. As many have known and proven time and again, lifting the most weights possible, is a precursor for a career-ending injury, while a better objective for most, is to obtain the maximum benefits with the least amount of risk and injury. That is the wise strategy no matter what one is doing.

And hopefully by now, many more are entertaining how well they are functioning, or can function at all, when they are 75, rather than thinking that any price at 25, ensures their glory for the rest of their years. That has been the predictable failing in the traditional sports model as the template for lifelong fitness and health. It won’t matter how good one was at 25, when one is absolutely no good at 75 — and god forbid, even live another 25 years in that persistently declining condition.

After all, this is the 21st Century and the Space Age — and not just the continuation of the Cave man era — when life was assuredly, short, nasty and brutal. Then the future did not matter — and how one hoped to improve for it. It was just “one and done” — at every opportunity. And so life has persisted with that kind of attitude and outlook — rather than in thinking it is for a better tomorrow, and day after that… So yeah, excessive drinking, smoking, eating, driving recklessly and fast, has consequences and long term effects, and not taking the maximum risks just because one can.

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

The Future of Exercise

 In order of descending importance, the organs which one would most want to improve, are the head, hands and feet — which conventional exercises pay very little attention to and frequently regard as nothing more than stumps, but which will always make the greatest difference in one’s health, development and functioning. This is also the reason that conventional exercises don’t seem to work as one gets older and really needs them to work — because it increasingly becomes a matter of life and death. When one is young, it seems that everything can work — even if they are uncertain what does work from all their frenetic activity. Thus we .typically see the legendary bodybuilder or athlete, who is dumbstruck in their later years, that what they thought worked, doesn’t now, when it matters the most.

One doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist, brain surgeon, or god forbid, a PE teacher to notice that the familiar pattern of deterioration and aging at the neck, hands and feet where circulation is poorest, and the simple value of exercise, is that it enhances the circulation specifically to those areas actually moved at those joints, or axis of rotation. There is movement around those joints because the muscles providing that movement either shorten (contract) or lengthen (relax), and that alternation of the contraction with a relaxation, produces the pumping effect — just as the heart does in pumping the blood out towards the extremities.

However, once they get out to the capillaries, the heart which weighs less than a pound, cannot push the blood through the miles of capillaries, but are reliant on the skeletal muscles to contract and push the blood back towards the heart as its motive force, and upon relaxation, has cleared space for the new blood and nutrients to easily enter. That understanding greatly reduces the work of the heart while enhancing the circulatory effect.

Many scientists, researchers and exercisers have come to realize that the source of all disease and deterioration in the human body is due to inflammation —or the lack of this efficient and effective circulation. And so the fluids merely pool in the tissues — in the familiar forms of fluid retention (edema, lymphedema, lipedema, obesity, neuropathy, arthritis, etc). Properly thought out muscle contractions alternated with relaxations, optimizes the flow that keeps the body healthy, growing, and functioning (moving). The moving is also the lubrication for such movements.

None of this has to be traumatic or dramatic — but can be achieved just with the proper understanding of these cause and effects. It has very little to do with the common markers for such achievement — such as calories expended, sweat generated, weight lifted, miles moved, etc. The relevant and productive movement, is what occurs at the neck, wrist and ankles — and everything else is a lot less important — particularly for productive exercise as one ages, is disabled, or even hopeless. If one increases the flow to the brain, one has already made a quantum leap in improvement, and then next in importance, improved the flow to the hands, and then the feet — which is the usual progression of deterioration of the human body.

In the long evolution of the human being, these movements were necessary to insure one’s survival. If one was incapable of turning their head, they had no idea what dangers lurked behind them. And then when they recognized the dangers, the ability to throw a rock, or a spear, required the proper flick of the wrist to perfect that accuracy — just as one shoots a basketball, throws a ball, and hits with a racquet oor bat. It is the wrist movement that gives that effort meaning. Similarly, the full articulation of the foot movement acts as a lever against the earth (ground) — allowing them to maneuver into the most advantageous place or position. So merely shuffling one’s feet with no such leveraging effect, does very little to maintain that mobility and circulation. The hands and feet are not just stumps — but actually the marvel of human evolution — along with a large brain.

That advantageous equipment does not come without a high cost — and justifying the highest expenditure of resources to optimize. So once one has that critical understanding of the body, and how it was designed and evolved to work, then one can hone those faculties into finely tuned instruments — rather than the brute force one thinks works miracles. It’s like the cell phone. It works much better the more one understands how it is designed to work, rather than using it as a hammer on every occasion and opportunity.

On days when r I feel particularly lazy and lethargic, I know the best thing I can do to wake up is to increase the flow to my head — which means turning it as far to the left and then right — at least for a count of 50, or at least a minute of sustained movement. Any sustained effort, will raise the heart rate above the resting heart — which is automatically “cardio.” And the 50 repetitions ensures that it is also an aerobic exercise — done “with breathing” — as opposed to only one or two repetitions without breathing — which is very stressful and demanding on the heart. One will frequently note that exercisers of that sort, frequently have enlarged, weakened hearts because of the unfairly disproportionate demands placed on the heart with minimal contractions at the extremities — inn the condition known as congestive heart failure — which is so named in the belief that it is the fault of the heart for not working hard enough — while the organs at the extremities remain immobilized. And so the fluids continue to accumulate to what seems the bursting point of what the skin can contain. It’s not a pleasant sight — and in its extreme forms, those appendages are heavily wrapped and further immobilized.

All the more need to produce muscular contractions at those tissues — while reducing the work the heart has to do. That is a large part of the aging process — that the heart gets weaker, necessitating the need for the skeletal (voluntary) muscles should contribute more to that healthful circulation — as the most important work it can do. Far beyond any competitive activity or sport. The problem is that many people make a game of it, rather than realize it is seriously the best thing one can do — with their muscles — to ensure their health and fitness.

That is the future of exercise.

Monday, February 19, 2024

Manifesting Reality

 People are shocked to learn that with proper weight-training, they can see results immediately — but with improper weight-training, they might not see results ever — and so the key difference, is this “proper” weight-training — rather than time, or any other factor. In this case, “proper” is what causes this instant and immediate transformation. This is particularly true among the top bodybuilders/physique competitors — who all come in looking pretty athletic looking, but in pumping up, differentiate themselves. That is the unique gift of bodybuilders — but can be observed in the most untrained and out of condition people as well — once they know how to contract their muscles — to put themselves in the shape they want to be in.

The easiest illustration of this, is asking a person to turn their heads to the left as far as possible, and then back to the right as far as possible. With each extreme range of movement, the sternomastoid muscle on the side of the neck will pop out into prominence — usually best seen on the ballet dancers who invariably have their photos taken in that position — so they always look good. However, I’ve never seen it fail to manifest even in people in the worst condition — and is even more important for people who never move at all, and are perceived as ‘unresponsive.” Among such people, even the slightest movement would be encouraging — as a sign that they still are interacting with the world and those around them. Otherwise they sit like motionless statues all day, or lie in bed motionless and so have to even be turned over not to develop bed sores. And they can even live on for years in that manner.

That is the opposite end of the spectrum of movement and activities. But if you can get that person to turn their head all the way to the left, and all the way to the right, those resulting contractions are causing a flow into the head, and beyond seeing results from a workout, one is actually bringing one back to life — or in Biblical times, raising the dead. That is much more spectacular then losing weight and making a muscle.

Eventually, that is important for every one of us — but on the normal part of the life curve, muscles are the organs that produce change — from one state to another, and that alternation, is what produces blood and fluid flow — with the heart at the center, and the rest of the voluntary musculature at the extremities. While the heart is always likely to be working, it frequently is the case in contemporary life that one does not activate the muscles of the rest of the body — which is how the system was evolved to work, and provide for the health of that individual.

But the lack of movement, particularly at the axes (joints) of the neck, wrists, and ankles are the sites where the human body familarly breaks down first — as arthritis of the hands, feet, and brain (dementias) because of that poorest circulation there. That’s the simplest and most basic understanding of the body and movement. Movement enhances that flow — and so there is no movement at those critical axes, the body breaks down, or fails to develop properly and optimally. People who manifest “results,” are those who know how to effect those changes the best — including immediately in some action or transformation in appearance. This ability actually is observable in all animal species and forms.

More often than people suspect, just looking big and formidable might spare them the need to have to prove it in an actual fight — which saves a lot of wear and tear to fight only the battles that absolutely must be fought — and not as the juveniles do, by engaging in every push to establish their rank in the pecking order. That’s the connection we all still have to primal life. That is the survival of the fitness.

So that capacity to manifest instant results are part of the standard capabilities; unfortunately, most have never learned how to manifest these capabilities — rather than actually having lost it. That is one’s basic survival kit — and the importance of distinguishing proper (productive) exercise and improper (nonproductive — and even counterproductive) exercises and conditioning, That distinction makes a huge difference — manifesting instantly and immediately — as needed.

Being in shape is mainly a function of how well one can produce those changes — from as relaxed as possible, to as contracted as possible — to access the power to change. Many experts don’t manifest this ability — and so they claim it will require a few months to see any changes — when that is the whole nature of muscle — that it produces instant and immediate change. If it takes a year to see any change, probably nothing is happening — and is likely to remain that way for years to come. That is the plight of those who will never change — no matter what the results, or lack of them. Still, they will persist in believing they are doing everything “right” — despite not manifesting any difference, or change, and so predictably, they get discouraged — thinking exercise can’t work, although some have shown “results.” It should be obvious that they are not doing the same thing as that other person — although they may think they are.

Thus Arthur Jones created the Nautilus machines to ensure that all trainees were on the same page, “Foolproof,” he claimed. Those machines provided “variable resistance through the full range of movement around a single axis” — starting with his Pullover and then Hip and Back machine to focus movement at the hip and shoulder girdles. However, those movements only optimize the muscles up to those axes of rotation — but as age plays out, the atrophy and deterioration begins beyond those axes to the hands, feet, and head. You want to design movements for the axes of the extremities to benefit those vulnerabilities of the human body for a long, productive and healthy life.

Those changes are not a function of time — but a measure of doing the proper thing — like turning the head as far as one can. That immediately contracts the neck muscle — and the resistance at that point, is in increasing that range of possibility. The movement itself produces resistance — especially at the most important extremes — the beginning and the ending. That is what most people don’t do — preferring instead, a narrow midrange movement — even holding their breath to achieve it.

Some people have the ability to pump up to impressive size and appearance. That is a “result.” If there is a qualifier that it must be “permanent,” then no condition is. Life is always changing, and all we know is the present moment (now). Doing is manifesting reality.

Thursday, February 08, 2024

Understanding Flow

 There’s nothing magical about weights and equipment; the magic is in understanding how the body works — and not unceasingly more effort with the wrong understanding — in the thinking that brute force is what works. That is why things break — rather than work better.

So the critical understanding in why exercise works is that optimizing the circulation optimizes the health and functioning in every living being. In mammals that revolves around the constant pumping of the heart to effect the blow flow out to the extremities — but the problem then is that when the capillaries are already full (occupied), the heart cannot simply force the flow through. At that point, it requires the assistance of the muscles at the extremities to contract as the heart does — to effect the flow back towards the heart and central purifying/recycling organs of the body — and when it does that and then alternates a relaxation of those muscles, it has created space (vacuum) for the blood from the heart to enter with new nutrients for new growth. That is the reason muscles and their supporting systems grow, maintain, become healthier, and more proficient.

In the early days of evolution, life required movements to sustain life itself — but now with modern conveniences, it is quite possible for many people not to have to move at all — and so the blood and fluids don’t have these contractions that push the fluids out of the tissues — and so we see the common occurrence of inflammation (retained toxic waste products) that remain in the tissues and that buildup, destroys the nerves — in the peculiar neuropathies notable particularly at the extremities of the hands, feet, and head.

That commonly used to be called arthritis of the hands and feet, but also is noticeable in the atrophying of the neck muscles indicative of a reduced flow to the most critical part of the human body (the brain) — which most people think nothing can be done about it but to succumb to the inevitable aging process. In fact, when I pointed out this lack of head movement in those with dementias, I was told that the head can’t move — which of course is a huge part of the problem, because the head, hands and feet are made for moving — with its fine bones and intricate muscularity. That is what we don’t move in contemporary life — and why people come down with inflammatory diseases.

But the human is designed also with the capability to maintain and improve its health — by design. Muscles contract when the insertion (distal) of a muscle moves towards the origin (proximal) of that muscle — and never vice-versa, so that any contraction by its very design, will push the fluids in that muscle towards the heart and not away from it. But if one is only effecting that contraction at the shoulder girdle or the hip girdle, no contraction (movement) will take place beyond that axis of rotation (movement). That is why “cardio” will only make the heart work harder and faster — while doing nothing for any other muscle, and it shows in those who only do that, in the pipestem arms and legs, and pencil necks — no matter how much they cardio. The problem is not (never) that the heart is not working sufficiently hard — but the rest of the skeletal (voluntary) muscles are doing nothing — most, if not all the time.

The circulation is automatic at least to a minimal (life-sustaining) extent, but intentional and deliberate exercise (movement) at the furthest axes of the wrists, ankles, and neck — will optimize the flow to the most important and critical organs of the human body — and naturally have to develop the rest of the body in its natural predispositions and proportions — because nothing else is possible. That is not true of exercise and movements that immobilize those movements — and focus only on the heart, biceps, and abdominals.

While that is not so problematical with people in good health, it is nonproductive and even aggravates the problems of poor health — particularly in the senior, disabled and terminal populations. Having taught exercise from world class athletes to terminal, one notes that what works for the terminal, will also work for the world class athlete, but not vice-versa — because those are the general principles of physics and physiology that must work for everybody — and not just the exceptional one. That is the mistake all my friends made in designing exercise programs for the exceptional — rather than for everyone — beginning with what is most important to develop in every human being. And then beginning with this universal basics, the exceptional will rise above the crowd and display exceptional aptitude. That’s how it happens.

One will note that the furthest range of movement at the wrists, ankles, and neck — will engage and activate all the supporting muscle structures back towards the center of the body — along those meridians ending at what the ancient Chinese health practitioners called the “dantian.” Increasing the range of movement at the ankles, wrists, and neck triggers the supporting muscles back towards this center next to the heart where all the muscles are anchored. Understanding this interrelationship of all the muscles and how it is possible to effect a contraction in all or most of the muscles at once, is essential to obtaining the maximum benefits of circulation (movement), and how it can be practiced in outer space and other extraordinary conditions — because the conditions that keep one alive internally, are still intact.

The resistance is the fluid in the body — and that is what has to be moved, or life will cease. If it is optimized, then life and health will flourish — beyond the metrics by which it is often discussed, because beyond the weight, reps, distance, that is the bigger picture — over an entire lifetime, and not just the one moment of glory. So that is all one needs to understand to formulate their own effective and productive health regimen — effecting maximum contraction alternating with maximum relaxation so that the entirety of the muscular system works like the heart — rather than against it.

Friday, January 19, 2024

Manifesting Results

 Back in the innocent days of weightraining in the 1950s and 1960s, the publishers of the leading magazines on these activities, Bob Hoffman (Strength & Health), and Perry Rader (Iron Man), both advocated 20 repetitions of the breathing squat alternated with 20 repetitions of the breathing pullover as the foundation for any bodybuilding program. The weight suggested was largely irrelevant, as the primary importance was on the proper and deep breathing rhythm — and so bodybuilders (weight trainers), were largely distinguished by this prodigious development of their ribcage — upon which they added everything else. Even the most prolific bench presser of that time, Pat Casey had a very pronounced barrel chest from doing pullovers — rather than the bench press — presumably because the pullovers were done with the primary attention to full range breathing in high repetition sets, while the bench press were usually done for much fewer repetitions — without the attention to breathing but actually holding their breath for the duration of their one rep maximum.

Thus weighlifting and weight training came to be regarded as an anaerobic activity — because it was not empowered by breathing — which makes any activity aerobic (with breathing). Many people who think they are training to muscular failure in this fashion are instead failing because of cardiovascular failure because the weight constricts their breathing — as they not only shorten the range of movement for each subsequent lift, but also shorten the range of their breathing — and the effectiveness of breathing, is dependent on the last half of it, rather than the first half of it — when the air is moving only in and out of the windpipe and upper half of the lungs. The air that remains in the lungs, is called residual air, and blocks the freshest air from reaching the bottom portion of the lungs where the critical exchange of gases occurs.

The important part of breathing, is thus the fullest exhalation of air from the lungs, and not as most people think, that they need to breathe in most deeply or forcefully. You cannot force more air into an already filled lung. The proper understanding and strategy, is to breathe out as thoroughly as possible — so that any air entering into the lungs, has a chance to reach that critical interface where fine lung tissue meets fine blood vessels for that valuable exchange. Faster, harder breathing does not overcome the problem because it merely moves the air in and out of the windpipe and upper lung, while the residual air in the lungs blocks the most efficient exchange.

That is why modern First Aid and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation came to realize that mouth to mouth breathing is redundant if one is doing chest compressions — because the chest compressions expel the residual air in the lungs — while blowing more air into an already half-filled lung, doesn’t do much additional good — because when the compression vacates the lungs, when the pressure is released alternatively, the atmospheric pressure of 15 lbs per square inch automatically fills the vacuum created by those compressions.

Unfortunately, that understanding and its resulting benefit, has been largely lost in today’s exercise/bodybuilding hype/jargon of the blind leading the blind — for $500 weekend certificates of expertise as exercise gurus — when all that it was originally intended to “certify,” was that one obtained the First Aid and CPR as a prerequisite to signing up for their exercise certification.

In most of the exercises that are taught, producing this breathlessness is taught as a desirable thing, rather than synchronizing the movement and activity to the breathing, to produce an even greater deficit — rather than increasing the aerobic capacity and ability to persist (endure). And so this kind of premature “failure” is produced, rather than the more productive emphasis on endurance and persistence which produce long term benefits over the short term performance. That former is likely to be much more productive over a lifetime than the one time thrill of going over the cliff — no matter how spectacular.

Unfortunately, that is the kind of orientation most young people have today — of being too eager to jump on the treadmill, and wind themselves as quickly as possible, or simply burning as many calories as possible — as though that was all there is to it. The more valuable questioned unanswered, is what can one be doing productively with that expenditure of time, energy and resources. We all note that the critically important vital activity of life is breathing and circulation — but not in the direction we think of it. It is the exhalation that determines the effectiveness — and not as it is thought, the inhalation, or taking a deep breath in — an already filled lung.

In the same way, we also mistake the overworking of the heart and lungs as the measure of the effectiveness of the other muscles we wish to develop — and their failure as indicators of actual muscle failure. That is the problem with most videos of people purportedly training to muscular failure — when because of excessive weights used, actually cause a constriction of their breathing — or no breathing at all. The proper course and proven remedy, is to do as those old tine bodybuilders did — in taking a light weight and placing primary importance on their breathing and muscle relaxation and contraction only possible with nominal weights over a sustained time. Instead, what we most often see in gyms and other venues, is low rep maximums, with liberal rest times that account for 90% of their gym time — while claiming they are training to muscular failure, while predictably reporting that they experience no muscle soreness in subsequent days.

And thus they have the time, energy and recovery ability to go to the gym five times a week — yet get no results, and wonder why? Obviously, one hasn’t done anything that would alter that fact — because even the grade school pupil will show how one “makes a muscle” — immediately and instantly — and not wait around for a year for the results to manifest.

Tuesday, January 02, 2024

A New Paradigm for Exercise

 No amount of the wrong thing, will give the results of a proper amount of the right thing.  Many think that just doing anything, will give them the results they desire, when in fact, only the right things will produce the desired results, and if that is not the case, they're doing the wrong things -- and usually, don't realize that.  That explains why some people get results -- while many others make all the effort, but fail to achieve the results that should be forthcoming.  Yet in contemporary life, we blur those distinctions as an end in itself -- with predictably disastrous results -- while thinking we are doing all the right things.  The results speak for themselves.  That would be unfortunate in any sphere of activities and endeavors.

So first, one should devote some time to understand what they are doing -- that is not working, and in that process, arrive at a better understanding of what must work.  That's the way reality is.  It's very predictable as long as one observes certain rules, and not merely as one likes.  What makes things scientific is that predictability of results, and not just in thinking, that any result is as good as any other -- and that is the best we can hope for.

Those widely-divergent experiences and results, are unfortunately representative of the "average" experience -- and one hopes that in doing anything, one does not merely have an average result, but a decidedly exceptional one.  That is true for healthy outcomes as much as it is hoped for in financial ones.  To obtain that average result assumes that one should do nothing -- or continue doing what they have been doing -- even to no good effect.  But those who are not content with the present status quo, are looking to change that, because change makes the impossible possible.

That is inherent in change: the possibility of improvement, as well as getting worse -- but then one realizes that, and seeks to improve their chances for a favorable outcome.  Those who don't care, or who cannot tell the difference, will devolve to worse -- until they do care, or can tell the difference.  That is the process of "bottoming out" -- which is the ultimatum for turning things around -- for those who still can.  Those who continue to plunge further, are on their way out.  Those are the "facts of life" for all forms.  There is no wishing it will be otherwise.

So despite no guarantees of a successful outcome each and every time, we take our chances and do our best -- based upon what everything is telling us -- and not just wishing it were otherwise.  Those are the basic lessons we hope to learn in school -- and those who are the most successful at learning them, go on to improve their lot in life.  These are not closely-guarded secrets but obvious and visible to all.  However, there will always be those who would want to sell you their vision of what is happening over what one's own common senses are telling them -- and that has been a problem for ages, of the ages.

Usually, that is only a temporary lapse, and one eventually recovers to get back on the right track, and that is learning from life -- and not just the schools anymore.  The schools are not infallible -- but teach what is currently popular -- and are required to propagate as the truth.  That changes from year to year, time to time, and many note, that the experts change their minds frequently -- or more accurately, a different set of experts rise, and the old guard falls into disrepute.

Thus depending on the time and circumstances, they may advise abstaining from water, and also drinking as much of it as possible -- as the ultimate truth of the matter, and so one has to determine what is true for themselves -- and any divergence from that strict obedience, is usually well within our ability to handle.  Thus we won't starve to death if we're not force-feeding ourselves every hour, or become too muscular by exercising too much.

The greatest difference is between zero and one -- and not one with any other number.  So the greatest advice one can receive, is just to do a little -- while avoiding the extremes, or as the ancients advised, "Everything in moderation."  Then one proceeds from there -- to better or worse.  That is the process of learning from everything -- and not only what the self-designated and self-proclaimed experts tell us is the truth -- and get everybody to (mindlessly) repeat.  That's how the masses often go astray -- wondering who led them off the cliff.

The problem with exercise is making it hard and difficult so that it eventually eliminates everybody from further participation -- rather than making it so easy and simple, one can continue until their last breath -- as their last exercise.   Before then, one is well-advised to maintain the movement and functioning at the head (neck), hands (wrist), and feet (ankles) -- over the heart, biceps and abdominals as a better gauge for their own health and well-being -- as lifelong measures we largely take for granted -- although everybody notes the obvious and visible deterioration that we accept as normal aging we can do nothing about.  Those are the sites and organs that actually make the most difference.  The hardest thing to see is the obvious.

That is a better indicator of the overall health and well-being of that individual -- more than the biceps, abdominals, and even heart.  That is the easiest exercise one can do -- moving only at the head, hands and feet -- implying that the rest is working.  But not necessarily vice-versa -- obviously.