Thursday, July 22, 2010

What matters?

I am all for getting down to the details of things in human performance and physiology, but what this often leads me to is just more questions. A couple specifics, the "inner" and "outer" core and breathing:

1. The "inner unit" vs. "outer unit". I know what this is, but my question is how?

-How does a very thorough warm-up change activity in this? How does general athletic movement change this? Can we really tease out the two? Does any of the direct exercises for the two "seperate" units really carry over to game play? Really?!

-How does this change for an athlete who goes from de-conditioned to conditioned with no direct work on "inner unit" exercises?

-How does 'cleaning up' one's diet effect this?

-How does going from 'hating life' (tired, stressed out, relationship problems) to 'loving life' change this?

2. Again, diaphragmatic breathing.

-How does a good warm-up change this? Increase body temp, changing biochemistry, changed perception from getting active, decreased parasympathetic control... how do all these changes effect diaphragmatic breathing?

-Does a few drills done in a therapy room with conscious focus carry over to entirely different activities with faster speeds, and completely different afferent inputs?

-How does this change for an athlete who goes from de-conditioned to conditioned with no conscious focus on breathing mechanics?

-How does 'cleaning up' one's diet effect breathing?

-How does going from "hating life" (tired, stressed out, relationship problems) to "loving life" change breathing mechanics?

-With both these, "inner and outer" unit and the diaphragmatic breathing, how does a day of chores change this? How does a day at the computer change this? It's summer time and I go from changing my daily routine of sitting in class during the day and studying at night (if I was a student) to spending 70-80% of my waking hours physically active; how does this change things?

-Or how about this one? A person 'spills' there thoughts and feelings to a friend about what's been bothering them; you can instantaneously see a change in their breathing.

I know these questions open any and every can of worms, and takes us into realms outside our scopes of practice, but they are things I think about. I am not some psychiatrist who looks for people to lay on my couch and tell me their life... it's just questions I have and wonder if "picking fly shit out of pepper" is a good route to take? Are we barking up the mechanic's tree, when it should be someone else's tree? Should we be looking for different solutions, other than trying to Lego piece things together? Solutions that are more 'broad and sweeping'?

I don't doubt this is knowledge that may be important, or techniques that may have some application, but time, focus, and energy are fleeting; what should and what needs to be done?

Another thought: We might ask, "how is it connected?" with regards to the human body, or everything in life for that matter, but I think a possibly better question is, "HOW IS IT NOT CONNECTED?". What you find is that everything is connected. I say an instruction to my daughter and she cleans up the mess she made... meaning had an effect on matter; or either it's all meaning or it's all matter (but I am leary of absolutes...). It's just comes down to, "to what degree?"




Anonymous said...

Ironically those that talk most about breathing have no spirometry to prove what they are talking about works. Is their an inverse relationship between talking about breathing and bad 300y shuttle times?

Without evidence of change it's just doing stuff instead of making people better.


magn6494 said...

aaron - good questions and thoughts. I tend to agree that the mechanistic view is limited in the scope of improvements or progress towards actual physical potential that it can produce. we look at elite athletes and try to identify pieces of their lives that we think are the reason for their prowess/success and emulate these - but i'd argue that this process is flawed. Certainly you can make some gains this way, and so it's not a worthless pursuit - but the reasoning is flawed. I remember as a 16 year old pouring over the muscle mags and spending 6 days a week lifting for 2 hours following routines of the 'pros' (who of course were using steroids). Crazy.

I also think there's this tendency for the conventional wisdom of fitness to pretty much be influenced more by 'tradition' than anything else. Still not sure why as a highschool swimmer who was swimming 100 yd races i was training 5000 yds a day at much less than 'race pace' intensity levels. In fact, i don't remember ever even approaching race pace intensity during training.

The integration of body and mind is almost completely a mystery and there is ample evidence that the mental aspects of our beings have at least some kind of supervenience over the physical - and yet there's still this focus (largely) on the latter. I suppose the researchers have got to research something and that the limitations in their capabilities drive the process to some extent.



Aaron Schwenzfeier said...

Great points Andy. I totally agree.