People, just like you, use to struggle dawn until dusk just to get something barely resembling the quality of life we now enjoy. We have shelter, water, food, entertainment, plenty of time to learn new things, opportunity to travel, plenty of clothing choices…and the list goes on. The question is; why do we still struggle? Why do we still struggle to get what we want to the point that we race to retirement? Why do we still see everyone’s physical condition deteriorate from their mid 30’s on until the final 30 years becomes little more than an act of managing physical discomfort and the side effects of hoarding? No it isn’t an exaggeration – look back to your 20’s (or even your earlier years) and compare your physical condition, energy and ability to organize and take care of your ‘stuff’. Stop and smell the fresh air outside and consider what is truly the quality of success is nowadays.
With science and technology so vastly advanced why hasn’t exercise risen to the top of the field of medicine and provided all of us shelter from aging and the physical erosion of time? More drugs and more surgeries are proving to worsen the problem or at best extend low quality life by a few sad years. Fitness fads grow exponentially so where are the concrete results that if you exercise you actually stay physically fit? The strange answer is this – there has already been and answer but it has been lost in the storm of physical problems that came with the undertow of the technological revolution. Modern living has caused people to get out of shape so quickly that we have been in damage control mode in just a few generations.
In the scramble to deal with the overweight epidemic as well as the structural pain and weakness plague, exercise suffered a massive reversal of purpose. The wonder of exercise is its ability to maintain youth (strength, energy and agility). The problem is we have panicked after the fact and attempted to milk exercise for its qualities which might somewhat help reverse the effects of being sedentary and overeating. This has led directly to trying to ‘burn off’ body fat and rushing around like a flea in a fit trying to regain lost mobility through actions of crazy over the top mobility drills and physical fads.
It is a classic cart before the horse scenario, instead of pulling a load of foodstuffs then eating some later to replenish we just stood there and emptied the cart. Later maybe we try to trot off the added weight but to no avail. We have lost our strength and stamina from not pulling a heavy cart and have no substantial muscle power left to get back in shape with. You see lack of horsepower means you can’t move a heavy cart thus you cannot just start pulling again and burn off the fat and get back your endurance.
Weakness is what makes a lame horse and whipping it to move and starving it will not help yet that is precisely what modern exercises practices try to do (bootcamp cardio bashing, treadmill hamster wheeling etc). People push an empty cart around and can’t figure out why they don’t get fit. The key is to load the cart a little, pull it for a short while then replenish a little. Next add a bit more load than the first time pull again for a short stint then replenish again. In time if you are careful you will get strong again and be able to pull a good load and then replenish with a reasonable amount afterward.
It’s simple, using exercise to burn off a past mistake doesn’t work. You may feel like the empty cart is tough to push but that is because your horsepower is so low and anything feels tough. Sweating and breathing hard are not real measures of exercise effectiveness. Being able to pull a little farther with a little more load IS an actual measure you are getting back in shape. When you get your real horsepower back you will be able to gallop life’s hills and dales without issue. When your stamina is strong you don’t get that nagging inescapable fatigue of living with weakness and you don’t feel exaggerated continuous hunger trying to compensate for the side effects of low horsepower.
In the end quantity based exercise is a race to the bottom and quality exercise isn’t a race at all but living in the winners circle.
Andrew and Tierney