PHYSICAL IMPROVEMENT OVERVIEW
When the concept of physical improvement is vague and imprecise, so is the process. Physical health is the functional efficiency of an organism to live for a long duration. Physical improvement, therefore, must not only increase the expected life expectancy, but also the health span (the proportion of our life expectancy that is healthy).
Physical improvement is not about looking the part; it is about performing the part. Imagine an actor auditioning for the role of Superman. Getting or not getting the part is the difference between looking like Superman or being Superman.
There is nothing less productive than increasing the margins that are already efficient. To improve your health, gaps must be filled where you are the weakest. Physical improvement then should not break you down. In fact, it should make you feel better because it fills in the gaps that were holding you back. It builds you up. From suboptimal to optimal, the difference is noticeable.
5 Scientifically-Proven Ways to Increase Life Expectancy and Health Span
Your body's main priority is to breathe. You can last for a while without water or food, but you cannot last for any amount of time without oxygen. (Even if you are without air, there is reserve oxygen in your system.) Oxygen is the essential component to life. The vital capacity is the amount of air you can expel after maximum inhalation. It is literally your vitality. Regular air is less than 21% oxygen, and it is of cellular importance that you maximize that amount.
The maximum rate of oxygen consumption. Your VO2 max reflects your aerobic physical fitness and endurance capacity. If your life is to be long, you must have the physical capacity to endure.
The percentage of muscular tissue in your body. It is where the majority of your body's water and blood is stored. It is your body's cellular powerhouse, housing most of your mitochondria. It also creates ATP, your body's intracellular chemical energy transporter. ATP is your body's molecular unit of currency. Muscle is popularly valued for its aesthetics and strength capacity, which makes its importance seem trivial to the intellectual. But if money measured your life expectancy, your muscle mass would be equivalent to your wealth. In fact, a lack of muscle adversely also affects your brain health. Then what kind of intellectual would discount muscle?
The pliability and elasticity of your soft tissue. It is also the range of motion your joints can move between flexed and extended position. Life expectancy is a calculation to determine your probability of survival. Along with coordination, flexibility is not only important to your quality of life, but it is also an accurate predictor of survivorship against any life event. The more robust you are, the more likely you are to survive. Not only events like car accidents or illnesses, but also the treatments themselves (e.g., chemotherapy and surgery). We cannot always control our life events, but we can actively increase our survivorship.
The combination of body movements that result in intended actions. Not only essential for nervous system health but integral to brain health and longevity. Along with flexibility, coordination increases the quality of your life as well as life expectancy. Coordination is also a key factor in mental health. It is not only your confidence, but it is also a vital part of your sense of freedom. It's your ability, or inability, to achieve physically intended goals. It is the integration of sensory data from your nerves, neural processes of your brain, in conjunction with your musculoskeletal system. It is the culmination of your body and brain's ability to chat. The difference between intent and action.
Both Clark Kent and Superman can walk down the street. How they feel while doing it is the difference.
We have learned to navigate life, getting things done. We are functioning but not functional. Functional does not mean getting from A to B, but rather, feeling good while getting from A to B. We think it's normal to do things while feeling run down, uncomfortable, and sometimes in pain. Health is accomplishing your daily tasks while still feeling good.
My clients often ask, "Are you normally supposed to feel this good throughout the day? Is this how I was supposed to feel?"
My answer is, "Yes. You are a human being. This is how it feels to be a free-range human."
Life is experiential, the point of improvement is to increase the length and the quality of that experience. Your body is instrumental, not ornamental. The difference is in how you feel and how you experience life—from looking the part to living the life.