Re: i do not understand: exercise

From: Phil Osborn (
Date: Mon Nov 20 2000 - 13:03:17 MST

Max More said:

"I would say that 45 minutes of strongly aerobic exercise five times a week is excessive. I think you can get virtually the same health benefit from
around 25 minutes four times a week, with far less free radical formation."

There are an incredible number of supplements that claim to reduce the negative side effects of hard exercise. Are there any that you can specifically recommend, or any sources of really good info?

"Weight-training/bodybuilding when done sensibly improves glucose metabolism and insulin response, lowers blood sugar (=less glycosylation) and reduces
risk of diseases (including diabetes), maintains or restores bone mass (very important as you age, *especially* for women reaching menopause), and
improves the sense of well-being (more than aerobic exercise)."

I do maximum output nautilus instead of weights - partially because I have a literal host of old joint injuries in virtually every part of my body, with accompanying osteoarthritus. Nautilus allows me to better control exactly how I'm exerting myself.

On the other hand, your better aerobics classes force you to learn new systems of coordination and motion patterns, which have the effect of telling your body that it needs to grow to match demand in those areas. I had a doctor tell me in the late '60's that I should switch from swimming to basketball because swimming didn't stress or shock my joints enough to induce growth of cartilege, ect.

That kind of stress placed on the body - shocks to joints, for example - can be either negative or positive, or both. Again, the body responds to stress by growth when possible. As the body ages, however, it becomes a fine line between matching stress-induced growth against damage, immediate or cumulative. I've managed to create several long-term skeletal/musculature problems through overstraining. Also, I've noticed that I can fairly quickly build up tremendous strength in a particular muscle set, reach a peak, and then plateau, and finally I will start losing strength. So I try to switch around every few months.

"Improved physical strength may save your life in some circumstances and is useful in many more situations. Given that caloric restriction with good nutrition is life-extending, muscle building has the extremely important benefit of giving you tissue to burn in an emergency if you don't have the fat. I've seen friends lose 30-50 lbs very quickly in hospital. If you're
calorically restricted and have neither body fat nor muscle tissue, a medical emergency could just kill you."

I recently watched a friend who appeared to be the picture of good middle-aged health, muscular, active, energetic, a real bear of a man, who had been taking all the supplements, etc., age 20 years in a couple of weeks when the high-dose aspirin he had been taking to deal with chronic pain from a serious accident (he was run over) ate a massive hole in his stomache. (He is a professional chemist, BTW, who could quote from the literature as to the exact chemical pathways involved with various supplements, so it was not a matter of ignorance, but perceived necessity that got him in trouble.)

I believe he had to have the equivalent of a couple of total transfusions just to deal with blood loss. If you saw him before and after, you would have assumed that at least 20 years had intervened. It was really scary. Fortunately, he did have the extra 40 pounds or so of mass to draw upon, or I really doubt he could have survived.

"(Mine are 30-40 minutes, including plenty of rest between sets. But when I do a set, I'm working at
peak capacity.)"

I switch to either stretching, yoga, or my own version of dancercize between sets of sets. I use various objects, currently a couple of bean bags and a soft rubber ball, and practice coordination, speed and flexibility exercises as my warmup or between-sets break. I can now throw three objects into the air and fairly reliably catch all three with one hand - with my eyes closed the whole time.

It's taken me about three years to get to that point, but as I've worked out these kind of exercises I notice that I don't drop things very often any more, and when something falls, I tend to snatch it out of the air, whereas before I would just let it fall, as I knew from sad experience that if I tried to catch it, I would probably just knock two other things down.

This illustrates one of the real weaknesses in the state of exercise as practiced in the typical health spas. The spa personnel tend to look at me like I'm crazy as I'm dancing around with my eyes shut, snatching multiple objects out of mid air, but they don't have a single class that really develops coordination on that level.

Worse yet, they don't have ANY interactive exercises that require development of reflexes. I know that my exercises, as demanding of my coordination as they are, are still a deterministic system. I'm learning how to predict trajectories at best, but since I'm doing the throwing, it comes down to really learning cues from my own muscles more than really dealing with the actual trajectories of the flying objects. If I had a partner to throw stuff back and forth, then I could go to another level, but everyone else seems locked into their own solipsistic world with their weights or machine.

On the other hand, people are always looking for the next thing in exercise, and several very successful local spas have become hot by introducing new fads (all of which I orginally suggested a decade or two ago) such as dancercise, Indian dancercise, "kick-boxing" (but non-interactive, and often taught by people who are actually clueless about real martial arts), water exercises, or internet exercise bikes. If anyone out there is interested, I would love to be involved in setting up and/or managing a spa that went beyond the hype and actually provided an optimized physical training experience. I think it could make a lot of money as well.

One other thing that I've really noticed is that if I get into a positive interaction with a female while I'm exercising (and if it doesn't seg into an endless talk session), then my energy level goes up immediatly by about 100%. I'm curious if that also applies to women? Do they also get a hormonal rush, and a boost to their routine? If so, how could that be worked into a spa experience in a non-threatening manner?

I.e., how to get around the fact that women almost universally treat any interaction with them as a special privilege which should be paid for? Sometimes I wish that I lived in one the more natural cultures, like I've occasionally run into in rural Mexico, where women didn't craftilly measure every gram of emotion they allowed a man to see.

Our neo-puritanical, ultra-competitive culture with its amazing corollary commodification of sex has its costs, I suspect, in the general health and well-being of all the participants. Both men and women are built with hormonal feedback loops that are largely blocked or channeled into rigid and stultifying paths by our culture.

That alone might work, if packaged properly, to sell a new health-spa idea. After all, there has been recent research showing a positive link between sex and longevity. Dr. Phil's Sex Spa and Nautilus Experience.... ?


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