Wednesday, July 9, 2014

What's the Best Exercise?


This will be a post I will continually update.  Why?  There is no 'best' but there are certainly some principles which remain, some which die because they're just wrong, some which survive because they're wrong but popular and the biggest group, the stuff which we just don't know about yet.  I'll refer to us as organisms a lot because 'brain-body' is cumbersome and they work together.

Hang Your Hat

The HYH category are things which we understand quite well, things we understand quite well.

1. Humans evolved as movement based organisms (movement has been described as nutrition for your brain).  If you deprive them of movement, they weaken and become increasingly susceptible to injury even without even trying. The 'best' movement is walking because it's easy and we're made for it.  Walking (and movement generally) works best if it's done for at least 1/2 an hour or more each day and movement has all sorts of benefits - it improves posture, inhibits pain, clears your head, improves mood, slows brain shrink (doesn't make you smarter but keeps you less dumber) and makes you more attractive (true).

2. We love complex movement, novel movement.  Complex movement requires complex brain firing and brains love 'novel' things so every now and then vary your movement. It's also why we suspect that Tai Chi, Pilates and dancing are very useful for chronic pain and general well being because they challenge the brain.

3. Exercise is for your brain, less for your body.  The brain controls the body so although every problem combines an 'in' body or tissue problem the effect of disease or dysfunction is as much a brain issue as a body issue.  It's a chicken - egg paradox. In reality our entire body is quite seamless from a development point of view even though we can separate it into organ systems.

4. The organism is highly adaptable - bouts of High Intensity (HIT - high intensity training) force the organism to shift.  Athletes have been doing this for centuries.  It's simple, effective and allows you to eat more (yum!). Weights once or twice a week can do this but it has to be difficult.  Short, heavy, simple (one or a few exercises) workouts (which of course anyone can be trained for) do it.  It's not for everyone but if you like it, do it.

That's it for now.  Anyone is welcome to suggest alterations.  I'll keep 'eating' to another post.



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