I was recently asked to join Dr. Shawn Klein (The Sports Ethicist) on his show. It aired on Monday of this week and is available to stream or download here. Last month, Dr. Klein and I presented our papers (back-to-back) … Continue reading
We as rational beings must construct instruments through which metaphysical truths can be viewed. There is much in the universe that we can not explain through objective measures. Some mysteries have been solved by our advancement in technology but there still remains many uncertainties about our lives here on Earth and beyond. Wherever exists a lacuna in the science of the day, you will find a theory, religion, dogma, prescription drug, weight-loss method, diet and exercise plan or snake-oil on the market. We must realize that all of these methods are but lenses of varying clarity to absolute truth.
Just as there is no flawless lens, there is no flawless method of achieving fitness and health. The health industry is saturated with those who are more interested in profit rather than health. I am not just talking about commercials you see on late-night TV. The entire health industry from the FDA, AMA, HMO to thigh-master, ab-circle, George Foreman grill, etc. are corrupted with those who purposefully direct science and ignore inconvenient outcomes so that they can go to the public with a claim that will make them money. Just think of all the prescription medication that makes it to the market and then is re-called because it actually does more harm than good. The reason modern medicine is constantly changing is two-fold. First of all, the subjects in the experiment (we the people) are not a true control group. Our food sources and environment has changed more in the last 50 years than it has in the last 10,000. The second reason is that our current system of research is so tainted, either by private money or governmental grants, that laboratory results simply do not pan out in real life.
For these reasons, I approach everything I encounter in health and wellness with a grain of salt. (of the Celtic Sea variety that is) We can not become fanatics about anything. My experience thus far in the health industry has been in the western medicine setting. I have had conversations with doctors and pharmacists who are convinced that there simply is no other way to be healthy than to take pills and cut fat from your diet. When I try to present a different point of view, their defenses go up not because what i say makes no sense; it’s because what I am saying threatens everything they have spent unimaginable hours studying for. I don’t charge them with malicious ignorance. I just think that it is easy for us to get so entrenched in our life’s work that we stop learning once we’ve been convinced to follow one methodology or another. The same goes for academics. So much of a persons worth and legacy goes in to the research they will conduct and the studies they will produce. The pursuit of novelty can be very dangerous because then you are not so much concerned with whether you produce truth that will work in the real world. The main concern is if it has been done before. Of course ingenuity has saved many lives but as we continue to try to outsmart God and nature, we can become drunk with notoriety and sacrifice the cosmic intelligence inborn in our food, ourselves and our planet.
Our physical bodies are the housing of our mind and soul. It is the outward expression of every emotion we feel, every disease we encounter and every triumphant victory we accomplish. Doctors, healers, shaman, and therapists are all specialists who have studied the subtle communication between our mind and bodies. When we get sick, it’s our body telling us that there is a bacterial growth, viral attach, nerve impingement, chemical imbalance, or synthetic toxin somewhere in our tissues. Most of us have abdicated our responsibility to listen to our bodies when they speak to us. Many of us know we feel unwell but have no diagnosable pathology. We may not express any detectable symptoms but we know we are not at optimal health. It’s sad to realize once you have attained true health for the first time in your life, that for all the years that were, you were not living to the fullest. I was lucky enough to experience this vitality in my early 20’s. Now, anytime I feel myself slipping, I know exactly what to do for the remedy. Everybody is as different on the inside as they are on the outside. We know that we all require different ratios of macro nutrients in our diets. Exercise is no different however, it is not as varied from person to person as diet may be. We all need to move. That is what Moving For Wellness is about. You can be a hiker, biker, swimmer or climber but you need to move your body doing what you enjoy. The only time exercise becomes exercise is when it is so structured that it becomes “work”. Our jobs give us enough stress; we don’t need our work-outs to give us more. If you have trouble sticking to an exercise routine, it is probably because you are not moving how your body wants you to. Too much in the fitness industry is centered around rep counts, time intervals, rest periods and weights that we figure that if are not doing exactly the right thing, we shouldn’t even bother at all. All the science you hear from fitness professionals is mostly for athletes. The only scientific conclusion you should concern yourself with is that 2.5 hours/week of moderate exercise is related to increased measures of health in humans. If you find yourself unmotivated to exercise, I would say quit asking others (fitness authorities) for an exercise plan. Get outside and try different things. Take some time to get to know your body and how it likes to move. You have to be honest with yourself and not just try to avoid hard work. Once you have an idea, then go consult with a trainer or coach to learn how not to injure yourself. There are but a few simple rules of bio-mechanics that our bodies sometimes ignore to take the path of least resistance. The ultimate truth however is that nobody knows your body better than you can. Feel it and experience it’s greatness through exercise and you may be able to attain vitality and absolute health.
ADL’s (activities of daily living) vary greatly from person to person. Some of us can do most of them with one arm tied behind our back. For others, they may be getting more challenging with each new day. As our baby boomer population reaches retirement age, ADL’s will become more and more difficult given the current average waist size in America. Our ability to perform the sweeping, dusting, washing and waste disposal can be called our ADL fitness. For some, just reading these simple tasks initiated a raise in blood pressure and a bead of sweat on the forehead. There are many barriers to performing ADL’s. The ADL fitness program will address all levels of ability and all parameters involed. Cardiorespiratory fitness, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, range of motion, and phychological wellness are some of the main focal points of ADL fitness.
It is an inevibility to age. We can do nothing to stop it. All we can do is slow it’s effects. When examining the deleterious effects of having birthdays, it is easy to see a negative correlation. Our physical bodies are finite and begin deteriorating once we reach our 30’s. Do not despair at this grimm notion. A wise man once told me that the only reason to despair is if you are powerless. This program will give you many tools to not only slow the effects of aging but make worthy gains as well. This will not only better your helath but inevitably lead to a state of physical and mental wellness.
We as humans are capable of great things. We have built temples, pyramids, aqueducts, amphitheaters within many great civilizations. The evolution of homo sapien 250,000 years ago brought about an unprecedentedly sophisticated organism with the ability to reason and imagine. Since then, man’s mind has dreamt and his body has built.
This apparent dual nature of man is one of the defining differences between western and eastern thought. Zarathushtra, Plato, Aristotle and Descartes all contemplated the idea of an immaterial mind within an extended body. The relationship defined was not necesarily dicotomous however the mind was thought to be the essence of the being. This ideology, while true in my opinion, has led us to our current culture of corpreal neglect. Our Western civilization has seemingly tilted more and more towards elevation of the mind and devolution of the body. Despite our overly materialistic culture, we have trivialized the value of our own external beauty. We look at Hollywood with both awe and contempt for it’s emphasis on the esthetic. I argue that this is a major reason todays Hollywood stars go to such lengths to promote and participate in philanthropic causes. It is a compensatory instinct to show themselves and the world that their exquisite physique is not an indication of a self-indulged character. A healthy body is seen as a selfish persuit.
We are trying to deny our natural affinity to beauty. Whether motivated by religious conservatism or an altruistic attempt at non-prejudice, we try to ignore the fact that the beauty that is a physically fit human body is something we are drawn to. Behaviorists have proven that if we look good, we will feel good. Studies have also shown that those who are more attractive are often more successful. A persons success, provided that it is acheived by honest means, can be an indicator of their level of self respect and happieness. Dennis Prager, author of Happieness is a Serious Problem, argues that happieness is a moral obligation. When a person is unhappy, it spreads to and offends others just like bad breath or body odor. Physical fitness can also spread and positively affect both the self and others. A fit and visually pleasing body is a catalyst in the feed-back loop that is self improvement and for a lucky few, self actualization.
One of the biggest fears of the aging individual is the loss of independance in any capacity. The assumption is that we will all someday become the grandparents we remember pushing in their wheelchair, feeding lunch to, or maybe even bathing. The body deteriorates not by a fixed timeline but by a decending curve affected by the imposed demands of day to day living. It is easy to label ourselves weak and feeble however we must realize that doing so is a life sentance to a steady loss of independance. After a certain age in early adulthood, we are all in decline. The beauty of it is, that with the right habits and knowledge of human kinetics, we get to determine from which height we will begin our decline. The more excuses we make for ourselves, the more time we will spend relying on others to perform our activities of daily living. Let us all embark on the mission to improve our ADL fitness!