Positioning & Movement

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Questions This Answers


Body Positioning Needs

Current Scientific Literature





Observations

As someone that uses laptops and phones a lot, I used to hold my neck in a lot of positions that weren’t so good for me. The earliest body positioning instructions that I understood were those that directed me to change my posture to prevent my back or neck from getting sore. My desk has my monitors up high now, so I don’t have to angle my head down at my screens.

My body directs me to change positions often. In seating positions, it frequently wants me to pull my legs up to sit with them crossed. The crossing isn’t the important part. The level of my feet in relation to my torso is the important part, as this seems to be related to circulation and blood pressure. If I ignore needs like this, often an errection will be triggered to partially compensate for the problem body repositioning is attempting to address, as discussed in Section 4.8 – Non-Sexual Erections.

Getting instructions from my body also improved my walking posture. When following instructions from my body on which muscles to relax and how to move while walking on a treadmill, I measured a 0.3mph increase in speed while maintaining the same effort. This did not require any practice.

Finally, it is easy for me to get physically comfortable in any situation now. I can run through all positions mentally before even moving, identify my body’s current ideal position, switch to that position, and be immediately comfortable. This works in any sitting, reclining, or laying down situation. I have not, however, tested this ability on beds or chairs that are designed to be uncomfortable.

Mitigating Back Pain

Current Scientific Literature





Observations

In my early 20’s, I hurt my back when trying to lift something inproperly. This resulted in minor chronic back pain. My body, however, has instructions that appear to fix the problem.

NOTE: Every back pain situation is unique. This worked for my particular situation, but it may not work for yours. The following are my observations related to body communication. None of it has been tested in a lab setting yet. None of it has been tested on a large enough population to determine how often it would work for others. This is not medical advice. If you test it yourself and find that it works for you or doesn’t work for you, please share that information.

The two sets of instructions that appear to work together to fix this problem are body positioning instructions and dietary instructions. I lost my back pain issues when I started following my body’s general instructions for how to postion myself and how to move. This reduced the strain I was putting on the area that was frequently in pain.

I eventually realized that diet played a part as well. I was already following my body’s instructions for diet. It was telling me exactly what to eat and when. However, occasionally something will be going on in my body and my dietary instructions will change from a balanced diet to some other less nutrient-filled diet. If that meal plan goes on long enough, I will suddenly feel my lower back go weak. In that state, it is very easy for me to hurt it again.

There are no specific lessons here. Follow your body’s movement, positioning, and dietary instructions and the problem may take care of itself. However, this is an active fix for the problem. The problem is not permanently eliminated. It’s actively kept at bay. If your body fixes your back pain problem the way that it fixed mine, your body will constantly be maintaining the fix for this back problem from then on. Long-term interruptions or changes can result in problems returning until you return to your body’s preferred behavioral and dietary norm.

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

Current Scientific Literature





Observations

Back when I first discovered body communication, I hadn’t really exercised much since my late teens. I did walk a lot, but that was about it for me. A couple years after I discovering the basics of body communication, I got curious about how body communication would work with exercise. It was changing several other aspects of how I functioned as a person. How would it affect my workouts? Would I get increased gains over a reduced amount of time? Would there be no difference? I was curious.

I developed a workout routine at home consisting of squats, pushups, pullups, and bridges. To prevent adaptation effects caused by getting used to a single movement, I did increasingly difficult variations of these workouts. For example, pushup difficulty was increased by increasing the elevation of my feet, from regular pushups all the way up to handstand pushups. While I was performing similar activities, muscles were being worked in different ways. This kept my muscles from adapting to any one specific motion.

I didn’t notice any extreme differences in gains from exercise. I was making gains quickly compared to what I used to experience, but it appeared to be at a relatively normal rate compared to other people. However, I did notice a difference in the amount of soreness I was experiencing after exercise.

The main reason that I stopped working out regularly when I was young was because of how sore I used to get. After a workout, I would have to deal with a lot of pain and an extreme difficulty moving for an entire week after the workout. This made it difficult to create a routine, but I still tried regularly until I finally gave up on it because it was interfering with my schoolwork. Over the years, I would very rarely work out again, with the same extreme soreness problem.

An estimate of my original amount of soreness after exercise, back before I discovered body communication. Also shown are the average number of meals I was eating during each period of time, and the amount that I was using body communication to work with my body. As I hadn’t discovered it yet, I wasn’t using it at all.


This was a particularly bad version of delayed onset muscle soreness, otherwise known as DOMS. I didn’t expect any difference in my amount of soreness, so at first I wasn’t even keeping track of anything about my muscle soreness. I immediately noticed a change. My new normal soreness after anaerobic exercise lasted three days instead of seven. I appreciated that, but still wasn’t recording it. I assumed that I had just grown out of the extreme soreness problem.

My amount of soreness after anaerobic exercise, over time, after I discovered body communication. Soreness is compared with the amount that I was following my body's instructions at any given time and the average number of meals that I was eating at the time.


I did, however, start to notice something weird about my soreness. Normally I’m sore the next morning after an anaerobic workout. It has always worked that way for me. I would wake up sore and push through that soreness for several days as the soreness slowly reduced. I started to notice that occasionally I wouldn’t be sore the next day. Initially I thought I was just getting used to the workouts, but then I noticed that I would be sore on the second recovery day instead. I would also be sore on the third recovery day. After that, I would be fully recovered by day four. It was as if my muscle soreness was skipping the first day.

After experiencing this strange delay a few times, I noticed a pattern. On the workout and recovery days in which I was performing better at following my body’s requests for food, this strange soreness delay would occur. To test this hypothesis, I tried to reproduce and prevent the delay on purpose. I worked extra hard to make sure I ate exactly what my body wanted me to eat, exactly when it wanted me to eat it. That successfully produced the delay. I then tried being lax about following my body’s dietary requirements. That successfully prevented the delay. I did several iterations of these tests, just to be sure. I was successfully delaying my muscle soreness by an entire day.

The pattern didn’t make sense though. Muscle soreness is caused by microtears in muscle fibers. If diet was positively affecting that, wouldn’t it make the soreness end faster instead of delaying the onset of the soreness?

I continued testing this method of increasing the delay in delayed onset muscle soreness. Eventually, I came up with a hypothesis. I was asking the wrong question. It didn’t matter why the soreness delay was increasing. Looked at carefully, something related to diet was preventing the soreness. Eventually, that soreness prevention failed. I had to deal with the soreness. Why was following my body’s diet failing to continue to prevent the soreness? I had no idea, until I stayed up later than I usually did and noticed that, unusually, my body was still requesting food after my bedtime.

I was in a stable routine at the time. My body shut off all requests for food at night, so I thought that I was giving my body all the food that it wanted. I was wrong. I wasn’t eating all the food that my body was requesting, and that was likely the cause of my body’s failure to continue preventing my muscle soreness. To test this hypothesis, after my workout, I set up alarms to wake me up between REM cycles, which are about 90 minutes each, plus time to eat and get back to sleep. It was difficult. I never used an alarm clock to wake up, and I hated interrupting my sleep. I went through with it anyway.

During the day, I was eating an average of a little less than every hour and a half during muscle recovery, so I hoped that waking up between REM cycles would work well enough. It did. I woke up to my body requesting food between every REM cycle the night after my workout and the night of my first muscle recovery day. After that, I woke up to my body requesting food every two REM cycles for the remaining two days of muscle recovery. It worked. If I did this perfectly, muscle soreness was completely prevented from occurring. I tested this several times, with the same effects. It was, however, very sensitive to missing meals.

My amount of soreness after anaerobic exercise, over time, when attempting to prevent muscle soreness completely by following my body’s dietary instructions, day and night. Soreness is compared with the amount that I was following my body's instructions in each period of time.


To test its sensitivity, I started skipping meals here and there. I eventually determined that if I missed two meals that my body was requesting in a row, I would start to experience some soreness. If I went back to taking care of my body properly after that, the soreness would eventually reduce and go away again completely. Missing more than two meals, however, appeared to mess up my prevention of muscle soreness. If I missed more than two meals, the soreness did not drain away over time, and I would just have to deal with a little soreness until my muscles fully recovered on day four. For comparison, here is the pattern of soreness under each dietary method.

My amount of soreness after anaerobic exercise, over time, when testing the sensitivity of muscle soreness prevention by skipping meals during muscle recovery. Soreness is compared with the amount that I was following my body's instructions in each period of time.
Comparison of dietary methods for prevention of delayed onset muscle soreness after anaerobic exercise. Selected for display is one recovery week from each progression and one data point for each day, for simplicity.


After determining that I was successfully preventing delayed onset muscle soreness, at least in my own body, and taking complete control of the delay period, I got really excited. Here was a strong, evidencable effect directly related to body communication. It appeared that pursuing this research professionally was a viable option, so I immediately signed up for the next semester at a nearby college.

When I was comfortable with my course load and classes, I decided to sign up to work with a personal trainer at the college’s gym. Working with him helped me determine some additional factors. Unexpectedly, aerobic workouts did not greatly increase dietary needs, making soreness extremely easy to prevent. At the other end of the spectrum, however, anaerobic leg day turned out to be a problem. My diet could keep up with preventing muscle soreness in most situations, but it appeared that focusing on leg workouts or full body workouts caused too much damage to too large an area of muscle. My body was requesting more food than I could digest in a day. Meal cycles would end mid-cycle just from me being stuffed. They would resume as soon as my body had made any digestive room. On top of that, following my body’s dietary directions failed to prevent muscle soreness, since I was still missing meals that my body was requesting, since I couldn’t fit any more food in my body.

I eventually ended the exercise soreness tests, as I had other areas of body communication to explore. It didn’t help that the personal trainer I was working with used soreness to determine whether or not he was doing his job. Since the purpose of working with him was to determine what can affect the prevention of delayed onset muscle soreness, the trainer’s attitude towards a lack of soreness was counterproductive. I did eventually talk with an athlete that shared with me that more well-informed trainers do not use soreness as a metric for effort and gains from exercise. Apparently, athletes would appreciate anything that could improve their workout and recovery processes, unlike my personal trainer’s perspective. Hopefully using body communication to assist with workout recovery proves as effective for others as it has been for me.

Exercise Encouragement & Inhibitors

Current Scientific Literature





Observations

Many internal systems encourage exercise, however there are also many situations in which exercise is inhibited instead of encouraged. Exercise inhibition is complicated, to say the least. If complex changes are going on internally, exercise is likely to be inhibited. If your immune system is busy with something, exercise is likely to be inhibited. If your digestive system is dealing with something, exercise is likely to be inhibited. Pushing through the inhibition and working out anyway sometimes shows that exercise does not need to be inhibited, reducing the inhibition. Frequently, however, pushing against the exercise inhibition will increase the inhibition. That tends to make it more likely to burn out towards working out, decreasing the likelihood that you will work out. Basically, if muscular effort is not encouraged by your social circle or job, it can be difficult to receive positive encouragement towards exercise from your body. Combine this with the discouragement towards exercise caused by delayed onset muscle soreness and you can encounter a huge hurdle to overcome when trying to make exercise a regular part of your life. This is why, it appears, most people tend to hate exercise, even with the resulting endorphins that exercise tends to produce.

Internal stability and health do make room for positive encouragement to exercise. The body likes activity, as long as it has the resources to produce and recover from that activity, and the attention to give to that activity. Even without those no pain, no gain endorphins, body-encouraged exercise can produce very positive responses and pleasurable sensations, just like following through on any behavior that your body encourages.

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