Health is Wealth: Prevention, Fitness and Strength (August 1, 2012)
Today we start a multi-day series on improving health via prevention, fitness and strength.
Longtime readers know that I consider health (physical and mental) the key attribute of wealth and prosperity. Without health, then what good is your other "wealth"?
Readers also know that I consider "a healthy home-cooked meal a revolutionary act" because the Status Quo encourages chronic disease and ill-health. Why? 1) managing these conditions is immensely and enduringly profitable to the sickcare cartels and 2) weak, sickly, drugged-out citizens are easily manipulated politically and are too overwhelmed by their multiple chronic health issues to actively challenge the Status Quo.
I know that this sounds inflammatory to many of you, but for whatever reason oftwominds.com has attracted a very large readership of physicians, nurses and other caregivers, and the people who work in the trenches of the sickcare system are inevitably supportive of these "inflammatory" summations.
Sickcare is not sustainable financially, and so it will devolve and collapse, along with other unsustainable systems. I expect healthcare to slowly revert to cash-only if you want immediate care, with all other care becoming increasingly unavailable. Therefore prevention will be the key to well-being going forward, not hyper-expensive care that costs $100,000 for a few days of treatment.
In all my diverse reading about the science of human health, a few "obvious" things pop out.
1) Humans have a remarkable ability to prosper on a variety of real foods.
We cannot stave off all disease, of course, and many of us will need surgery or other major intervention regardless of our diet and fitness levels, but the point is that fitness and a common-sense diet of real, unprocessed foods make up about 2/3 of our "health metric" with genetics and the environment contributing perhaps a third.
The 80/20 rule may apply here (Pareto Distribution): achieving 20% of what's possible may reap 80% of the gain. For example, being able to jog 2 miles may reap 80% of the gain, while running 10 miles yields a diminishing health return and may even damage older runners.
This is of course inexact, but that's the rough proportions.
Increasing strength may provide an example of this: relatively infrequent short-duration intense exercise seems to increase strength and maintain it without daily workouts. In other words, it doesn't take much time to significantly improve one's strength.
Longtime correspondent Steve R. recently shared his own experiences with increasing muscular strength. Here is Steve's report:
This was very interesting to me on a number of fronts, and I replied thusly:
"Thank you for sharing your experience--it confirms my own intuitive sense of what works, as I tend to do pushups and sit-ups several times a week with biking and running interspersed throughout the week. I keep track and was surprised that a week between pushups did not really degrade the number I can do in one set (36).
Steve added these comments on the natural-selection context:
"I think you're dead-on with your thoughts on natural selection. That seems to be the consensus among the top exercise people I listen to. Our ancestors probably didn't look like body builders, because like you said, excess muscle is too costly in terms of precious calories. This also dovetails with the emerging theory that traditional "cardio", especially too much, may actually be harmful. There are lots of people on the Amazon review/comment section for Body By Science that say something like, "Aerobics ruined my knees" or similar. It seems that short bursts of high-intensity exercise are the most effective. And I think for most people, distance running is very harmful - especially marathoners."
Thank you, Steve for sharing your experiences. I agree with Steve about "overdoing it." In typical American fashion (or is it human nature as well?), some people get obsessed with diet, fitness, etc. and go to extraordinary lengths, many of which end up being harmful simply because they are excessive.
The "middle path" may be the way to go in terms of fitness and prevention.
To give you a taste of what is possible in fitness as we age, here is a video clip of an 86-year woman performing a parallel-bars routine.
This entry was drawn from Musings Report #16. Subscribers and contributors of $50 or more receive the Musings Report each weekend. Subscription links can be found below.
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