Pumping iron is not the only exercise
Pumping iron is not the only exercise.
Humans use energy in various ways, from physical use of muscles to silent prayer. We talk of physical energy, emotional energy, mental activity, and spiritual energy. All human activity uses energy of one sort or another, but are they really different sorts of energy? We take all the energy we get through our food, drink, and sunlight. So, if the source of input is the same whatever our output, are all these various energies actually just the burning up of calories?
People claim they get energized by listening to a particular piece of music, looking at art, or watching some sporting event; but these are stimulants that hasten the use of existing energy. They are not the inputting of fresh energy. To just stay alive, the human body needs energy. It needs the input of some form of energy. The beating of the heart, and the constant movement in the lungs, require the use of physical energy. So, is being slumped in a chair watching mindless drivel on TV going to burn up as much energy as paying rapt attention, and consciously following, a scientific explanation? The very fact that when we are having to concentrate mentally our heart rate, and often breathing speeds, usual increase a little, would suggest that intellectual stimulation causes a greater use of calories, than the unthinking trivia that is most TV entertainment. So, it follows that, to some small degree, following a thriller with a convoluted plot will use up more energy than some light romantic comedy.
It does seem that those able to focus and concentrate on anything—being in the “now,” as the new age devotes call it—become fitter all round, mentally, emotionally, and physically, than people who sit in front of TV without making any effort to follow or understand what is going on in the plot. Meditation, the empty mind state rather than focusing, on say, a candle flame, is a way of reducing energy consumption to a minimum. The automatic systems in the body continue, but all else shuts down. By doing this, we reboot the systems of the body, allow reserves of energy to surface, and allow a greater control over the energy used.
I have seen a press report that claims that scientists have found that chess players burn as many calories as those doing physical exercise. Not at the same speed, but since top-level chess competitions last longer than, say, a mile-long athletics race, the calorie use is comparable.
How about driving a car? The level of mental concentration needed to drive safely, especially if driving at about the speed limit, is considerable. So, what sort of calorific use is sustained by driving? It is a fact that drivers of Formula One racing cars often lose a considerable amount of weight during a race. Not only are they engaged in physical activity, but they must burn up a huge amount of both mental and emotional energy, while involved in such a complex and high-risk activity. Driving a car in close proximity to others, at 200 mph, certainly raises the heart rate in anyone, even if only slightly in the case of Mr. Hamilton and Co. It would be interesting to find out the difference in energy used per hour when driving an actual live race, compared to a single driver using a simulator to get accustomed to a particular race track.
This raises a similar notion, regarding what actually uses up energy in a human being. For example, is trying as important as succeeding? Is the mental energy used in an attempt at anything as important as the energy used when physically succeeding at a task? Is the emotional energy, of attempting and so risking failure, as important as the intellectual energy taken to succeed? Is the emotional collapse caused by failure, and the subsequent need to rebuild emotional confidence, a drain on the energy of any human? Do all these emotional, intellectual, and mental efforts, burn off the calories gained from eating? Can an under-nourished person reach the same sustained levels of mental and emotional energy as a well-fed person? If this is a reasonable observation, then an overweight person could reduce their physical size by greater mental effort and greater risk taking, while obviously if not increasing their usual calorie intake.
Special forces troops have to be capable of using very high levels of all the various types of energy, for sustained periods. When on active duty, they will be physically active, but also mentally, emotionally, and intellectually challenged, continuously, for very long periods of time. The need for high-energy foods is recognised, and together with their training, these exceptional humans cope with the energy usage. The pilots of hig-speed jet fighters face similar demands, maybe for shorter periods than special forces on “dark operations” behind enemy frontiers. The operators of drone aircrafts may not be exposed to the same risk factors as fighter pilots or special forces ground troops, but they will be focused and concentrating for long periods, and they know there is a risk of failure, if not of personal injury. They must also use up a lot of energy.
Exercise to improve wellbeing does not have to be only physical; experience suggests a degree of physical activity is beneficial, but all other forms of energy use can help improve the overall condition. Prayer, attempting mental puzzles, constructive or challenging conversations, reading, learning at any level, being in any way constructive, all consume energy, and this could help the elderly stay healthier. Fitness is not only down to muscle size.
About the Creator
Collections of "my" vocal essays with additions, are available as printed books ASIN 197680615 and 1980878536 also some fictional works and some e books available at Amazon;-
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