Measuring parameters vs embodied exercise

Measuring parameters vs embodied exercise

Sports are dominated by all kinds of machinery that measure body parameters to improve and control performance. More and more devices are construed to give more and more detailed information about our body’s condition. Nevertheless body sense is a term that in the end always comes into the game if parameters are not conclusive, and in many ways they are not.
I found an article in the Psychology Today Blog that underlines the importance of the body sense and the ability to assess the condition of well-being. It goes very much along with an article I myself wrote about this topic, and may encourage you to a less structured training program that takes the body sense more into consideration.

One of the sentences that athletes and coaches love to say is: “The most important thing you can do to recover quickly is to listen to your body. If you are feeling tired, sore or notice decreased performance you may need more recovery time or a break from training altogether. If you are feeling strong the day after a hard workout, you don’t have to force yourself to go slow. If you pay attention, in most cases, your body will let you know what it needs, when it needs it.”

The problem for many of us is that we don’t listen to the warnings of overreaching or over-training as there are general malaise, fatigue, mood instability, lack of motivation, loss of appetite, fragmented sleep, delayed muscle soreness, disturbed body temperature regulation etc… or that we are misinterpreting body signs.

The good thing about this post is that it brings body sense into the loop of understanding exercise physiology. Body sense herewith is accepted as a biological and not only psychological phenomenon. We know a lot about metabolism and muscle during and after exercise but less focus is placed on how exercise feels in our bodies. Learning to feel the body during any type of activity enhances the body’s ability to most effectively marshal its resources to enhance health and well being.

This is because the neural circuits for awareness of the body’s sensations and emotions are directly linked into the regulatory-executive zones of the prefrontal cortex, to limbic and paralimbic emotional areas, to the hypothalamus (autonomic nervous system, hormone, immune function) and the brain stem regulatory centers which finally link into body systems that energize, repair, regulate and rejuvenate body tissues. Your body can do some of this on its own, without your paying attention. If you are also aware of your body as it does these things, it supports and amplifies the ability of these regulatory networks to promote health and well-being.

Recently, studies have been published that give evidence that short breaks of recovery in between cycles of exercise may improve training effects. Athletes know this training as interval training. I know that this kind of training is not generally accepted as a benefit for increasing endurance performance. Some even avoid and dislike interval training.

One study compared different groups of healthy male adults, each of which ran 5.9km on a treadmill 3 times per week for 8 weeks. One group had a normal continuous workout period, another did interval training of 4 minutes of activity and 4 minutes of rest, and another interval group did 15 seconds of activity followed by 15 seconds of rest. At the end of 8 weeks, the 4 X 4 minute group was performing at double the endurance of the other two groups. The 4 X 4 group also had better oxygen consumption, more cardiac output, were 10 percent stronger and 5 percent faster. The study offers very little physiological explanation except to say that the 4 X 4 interval regimen increased oxygen uptake which is known to be the most important factor in building endurance. The reason why this is the case may be that sport and exercise science pay too little attention to the body sense and the regulatory networks behind this phenomenon. Too much emphasis is put on measuring single parameters without having an explanation for a changing pattern of parameters under certain conditions.

The neural networks for body sense awareness are linked directly to brain stem centers for the regulation of breathing and heart rate via the phrenic and vagus nerves, and hypothalamic centers that regulate body temperature, arousal and rest via the autonomic nervous system and hormones like cortisol and oxytocin, and tissue development via growth hormones. The same neurohormonal network provides feedback to the body sense – via limbic and prefrontal emotional centers –  to create feelings of lethargy or strength, depression or elation, that can accurately inform us about how much to exercise and when.

I took up this topic here because the reason why biestmilch supports our body during and after performance has got lots in common with the processes that underly our body sense. Biestmilch is not interfering with one parameter but interacting with the regulatory networks underneath the surface that makes a parameter emerge.

Source: Alan Fogel, Professor of Psychology at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City



Susann is the biest prototype and head of the team. She is Austrian, has studied medicine, meaning she is a medical doctor and the Biesters' alpha wolf. Susann continuously produces new ideas, is strong in making concepts and is practically always ON FIRE. Without her BIESTMILCH wouldn't be where and what it is today, and anyway - not possible.

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