Zenman's Blog:
The Symphonic Art
Of Aerobic Fitness

small zendurance cycling logoThe Symphonic Art Of Aerobic Fitness

Do you enjoy some form of aerobic exercise?

OK, maybe you don’t enjoy the burn in your muscles, the gasp of your lungs, the thump of your heart. But, there is something that calls you back on a regular basis. Part of that “something” is the aerobic cocktail your body’s endocrine system serves up as a response to sustained, elevated physical activity.

That feel-good chemistry is a biological response to the stress of your exercise. Once you get over the hurdle of inertia, the pang for that “exercise high” is a strong motivator to make the stress of aerobic exercise part of your daily life.

Physics of Fitness

Newton’s First Law of Motion simplified: “A body at rest tends to stay at rest. A body in motion tends to stay in motion.”

Somewhere between sedentary couch potato and chronically-injured aerobic junkie, there is a healthy, sustainable balance. That balance between rest and activity requires orchestration - just like a fine symphony. To accomplish your fitness goals, you must be the “maestro-conductor” of your body’s chemical symphony. Every maestro-conductor listens attentively.

Pump Up the Volume?

“Mind Over Matter” That’s the “heroic” way to approach your quest for fitness. It feels great until the inevitable outcome: Injury. Headstrong drive does not allow for the listening required for brilliant orchestration. Your mind leads the charge, yelling out orders, but drowning out any feedback your body has to offer.

...Or Turn Down the Volume?

Have you ever considered “Mind IN Matter”? Turn down the mental volume. Listen attentively. Honor and trust the brilliant intelligence of your body. Make harmonious body-mind music, with powerful dynamics. Your endocrine symphony can play wonderful melodies, elevating your aliveness and well-being - physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

Intelligence Outside of the Brain? Consider this: The Hawaiian word for abdomen is “na’au”. The word for intelligence? “Na’auao”. Translation: “Daylight of the intestines”. Specifically, na’au refers to the Second Chakra, the Chi Center. That’s your Center of Movement.

Every neuro-transmitting chemical found in your brain is also present in your gut. Twenty times more signals are sent from your gut to your brain, than the other way around.

So... Where is the thinking really taking place?

The Symphony of Aerobic Fitness

Fitness has three phases - three “Movements” if you will:
  • 1) Stress
  • 2) Recovery
  • 3) Adaptation

Stress is the phase we most associate with aerobic fitness. That’s what happens during the actual exercise. However, play the “Stress Movement” of the symphony over and over, and we never orchestrate the complete Symphony of Aerobic Fitness. The result: Injury, illness, or burnout.

Recovery and Adaptation complete the Symphony of Aerobic Fitness. Without them, no improvement, no progress.

True Confession

I am an aerobic junkie. I love that feel-good cocktail my body serves up after I exercise. In the past, I abused it. In my mid-40’s, I performed the First Movement of my Aerobic Fitness Symphony over and over - disregarding the Second and Third. This resulted in Chronic Adrenal Fatigue. By disregarding Recovery and Adaptation, I damaged my endocrine system.

I want to enjoy the the aerobic cocktail of my body’s endocrine system... well into my 80’s! Now I am certain that I will. I abide by these three guidelines:

Play the Whole Symphony

Orchestrate the complete cycle of Stress, Recovery and Adaptation. You will enjoy your body’s aerobic cocktail sustainably.

Recovery includes more than passive rest. Gentle activities - easy runs, scenic bike rides, low-key technique-focused swim sessions - enhance recovery and accelerate rejuvenation. Think “low-intensity, brief and enjoyable” as you orchestrate this Second Movement of your Aerobic Symphony. The music is contemplative and soothing, with interludes of silence.

Adaptation is the “miracle phase”. Your body surpasses its previous capacity - morphing to a new level of fitness. With adequate recovery and nutrition you will witness the magic of adaptation, thanks to your endocrine system. This Third Movement of your Aerobic Symphony begins with subtle mysterious passages, and builds into a rich and vibrant finale.

Mind IN Matter

Honor the brilliant intelligence of your body. Relinquish your fixation with the “numbers” of training - especially the need to swim/bike/run a certain number of miles, or reach a specific speed. Intelligent training is more than math and science. It is intuitive art.

Your body is very adept at discerning the appropriate pace and distance. Quiet your mind and listen. Intuition!

First Law of Motion: Mastering The Transition

We humans are creatures of habit - including the extreme of either lethargy or over-activity. Make your habit one of fluid transition between activity and rest. Foresight and clear attainable goals do wonders!

See you at the finish line!

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