“Not lost, but gone before.”
—Lucius Annaeus Seneca [4BCE—65 CE], Letter LXIII, line 16,
Epistulae Morales ad Lucilium (Moral Letters to Lucilius)
“Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done, and why. Then do it.”
―Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love (1973)
Push Ups: This remains one of the best training exercises to build upper body strength and endurance. One of the benefits is that it can be done at home; and, equally important, you can monitor your progress from week to week. It has been said that one of the chief differences between working out and training is that training is done with a purpose, with a goal in mind.
Photo Credit & Source: Men’s Fitness
That is, it is hard to precisely say how much effect genetics has and how much effect the environment has, which includes not only what we eat and drink but also how we care for our bodies. Science tends to view the body in a mechanistic fashion. This part needs fixing or replacing and let’s do and hope for the best and all that sort of thing. I am no medical scientist, but there seems something lacking in this view. Yet, without any other sort of believable and valid operating system, we tend to follow the dictums of medical science and its branches of inquiry.
Yet, the thing with experts is that they can’t always be right. The problem is that they don't know when they are wrong, when they are off the mark. That their expertise is limited. That they can’t even admit they often don’t know. Well, that’s enough metaphysics for today. Back to basics, the fundamentals of health.
Bodies age. Despite our best and most valiant efforts they always do. We can slow down or prolong the process, but it is inevitable that our bodies will (eventually) give up in some fashion or another. There are, when you consider it, as many ways to die as to live. Dying a slow and horrible death is less preferable than dying a “good death.” Or death with dignity. This is what the experts say.
This sounds so morbid, and it might well be. But these are the kind of thoughts that spin around the mind of someone like me. A disease like cancer does that; it forces you to encounter mortality and how not to meet it just yet. I am now more aware of my mortality and I don’t plan to allow the cold hand of death to touch my body, now or in the near future. (Not until my youngest is grown up, on his way and doesn’t need me anymore.) So, I am doing everything within my means and my power to return this aging body to the shape it once was when it was younger. Personal. Training.
Or at least the best shape it can be considering its age and what it has been through. Our desire is to have a healthy body. There are limitations, however; annoying but real limitations that get in the way of our goals.
I said above that my health has generally improved: I have more strength and endurance than a few years ago. I think and feel that I can improve more, that I can increase these physical attributes. Are my thoughts and feelings in harmony with my body? Getting closer. This is not suggesting, however, that I can now run a marathon. Some areas have not improved, remaining the same sore spots they were since their unwelcome arrival. I am living with these limitations, although I can’t say that it pleases me in any way. Something has been lost. Or should I accept this as not lost but as it—something intangible—has gone ahead for some yet unknown purpose?
Should I make peace with them, these limitations that make their presence felt? Or should I continue fighting to wring out any and every ounce of improvement? I think you know what my answer is, with all its human limits and limitations. Keep on training; keep on pushing my body. Train. My.Self.