The muscles are under the control of the mind. They act as a physical representation of our inner strength. Without our muscles, we are without power. The muscles represent the work that must be done and the assignments that must be finished in order to progress. Muscles stand for strength and progress. When we are unable to act, the body takes this as a sign of futility and starts to degenerate. We age more quickly when we are purposeless, and even when we do have a purpose, if our muscles are not in good shape, we won’t be motivated to carry it out.
A Person’s Mental Condition is Seen in Their Muscles.
All of our experiences and related emotions are imprinted on the muscles. Our physical state completely mirrors our emotional state, whether it be calm, agitated, or relaxed. The ideas and attitudes we express will shape the muscles that form our entire body. Depression, pessimism, or concerns will create tension and rigidity. In contrast, if we are joyful and hopeful, our muscles will be firm and flexible.
Two-Way Interaction of Muscles and Mind
Our thoughts and feelings, as well as less obvious subconscious programs operating in the background, have an impact on our muscles.
However, the process is bidirectional. That’s what encourages us to practice muscle maintenance as part of our everyday routine. Over time, taking care of the muscles will enable us to think and feel better. We simply become stronger and more balanced mentally.
A “Total” Work-Out
Every muscle is essential for anti-aging. The Ki Train Method for Anti-Aging is not solely about the looks, but to ensure a perfect functionality of all muscles.
Our own categorization is mentioned below:
ACTIVE – Muscles that are actively employed when performing direct tasks like walking, lifting, pushing, or pulling
PASSIVE – The articulations, joints, and bones are surrounded by and supported by them.
OTHER – such as those in the internal organs, face, mouth, and eyes.
We should embrace the idea that exercise is something we can do at any age. There is a workout for each of us. Some people enjoy running, hiking, bodybuilding at a gym, participating in team sports or enjoying sports alone.
The question remains: Is being physically active enough to get totally fit?
When we intend to slow down aging, exercising must to be done wisely, taking into consideration ALL MUSCLES, as often as possible, but at least weekly. It is not only about exercising the muscles through physical movements, but adding a proper nutrition and working on muscle groups or body areas that sustain each other. For example, strengthening one’s knees should follow a combined strategy of kidney detox, kidney strengthening qi gong exercises and using tonic herbs such as Rei Shi, Eucommia and others to energize the kidneys.
As a second example, if we want to strengthen the eyes muscles, we should also work on the liver and gallbladder, organs which are directly connected to the send of vision.
Dealing with Injuries without Having to Stop Exercising?
Being a sports lover, I suffered numerous injuries in my life. It was not before I started practicing Tai Chi and Qi Gong until I understood the concept of healing through movement. Before that, I was choosing immobilization of the affected area, waiting for the area to heal. I am not suggesting that this is not an option to consider, but from my recent experience, the self-healing process involving joints and muscle tissues is much faster when we use very slow movements (finding stillness into movement).
This concept exists only within Tai Chi practices, but we do not have to learn Tai Chi to apply it. We just have to follow the principles of slow-movement while moving the affected area. Keep in mind that when we practice in slow-motion, we must avoid pain at all times. If the movements cause more pain, it is probably damaging instead of healing.
“No Pain No Gain” doesn’t Apply to Anti-Aging
There is a thin line between pain and discomfort. It is true that going out of one’s comfort zone may cause muscles to grow. This is ok, as long as we don’t push it too hard to cause injuries or trauma, even though they are not lasting injuries. Ki Train Method is a concept of energy efficiency. Being in a habit of constantly hurting ourselves through the “No Pain No Gain” formula, will deplete our energy resources to heal from it.
We follow the principle of moderation. Nevertheless, resistance training is something we are in favor as part of our routine training. Building stamina through holding stances for long time or even working with light weights in slow motion may add a slight discomfort for a good cause. Definitely, we aim to live “injury-free”.
A Few Ancient Secrets of Maintaining Amazing Muscles
Maintain a Good Condition of your Spleen
As per TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), the spleen system organ (which includes also the pancreas) is responsible for nourishing the muscles.
The spleen is responsible for the distribution of the chemical, fluid, and energetic constituents of food to all appropriate body parts. Therefore, it can be said that the spleen is like the Earth, which nourishes everything. The spleen is thus classified as being the Earth element. It is called the center, and being at the center is said to have a balancing and harmonizing effect on the body.
The quality and quantity of muscle and flesh are governed by the spleen. If the spleen is functioning well, the muscle will be full, well-toned, and strong. If the spleen energy is deficient, as a result of poor production of energy and blood by the spleen, there will be a tendency to become physically (muscularly) weak and fatigued. And because muscle mass tends to diminish, people with severe spleen energy deficiency tend to become very thin and emaciated. The spleen must be strengthened in all wasting diseases.
Those who wish to build muscle need strong Spleen energy, achievable through the practice of Qi Gong as well as by using tonic herbs such as Ginseng, Astragalus root and Gynostema, famous for strengthening the spleen and as a result, creating an appropriate internal environment for building healthy muscle.
For this reason, people who develop condition of diarrhea, a symptom of weak spleen, become extremely fatigued within days and begin to lose weight if the condition is not remedied quickly. Chronic digestive weakness will likewise result in chronic fatigue.
Balanced Diet, Protein-Rich
Every human being can benefit from the Ki Train Method. In terms of dieting, we think that each person is different and has different demands at various points in their lives.
Only eat when you are truly hungry. This makes it possible for the body to voice. Our body’s cravings will let us realize what it needs.
In addition to regular exercise, animal proteins are necessary for maintaining muscles. Our diets should include eggs, meat and dairy items as frequently as possible.
We avoid canned ingredients because we prefer fresh food without additional preservatives. Our objective is to have a well-functioning body without following any particular diet. We like avoiding food that contain any type of toxins. In this respect, we choose to spend 99% of our shopping time in the supermarket’s raw food aisles. Frozen food should also be avoided because the low temperatures destroy the nutrients.
Don’t Take Shortcuts (NO supplements)
Unless you are participating in a body building contest, we recommend to stay away from unnatural food (including any type of supplements, proteins powders and other products that promise a fast result). When you choose to use supplements, you might get faster to the desired “looks”, but your liver won’t be your friend anymore. The hierarchy of needs for an individual should always rank their health as the top priority.
The Practice of Internal Martial Arts
Combined with classical Chinese medicine, martial arts have evolved into a new direction, to promote health and longevity. This is what is referred to as ‘internal’ or ‘energy’ martial arts, used mainly for self-healing. As I like to say in my classes, martial arts were originally created for killing, but somewhere along the way, they became initiated towards a higher purpose, on the path of self-healing.
Internal martial arts are mainly practiced for health improvement but this doesn’t mean they cannot be used in combat. All martial artists tend to be healthier than non-practitioners, whether their practice is internal or external. They have better stamina, more body flexibility and higher energy levels overall. Internal martial arts have the advantage of minimal injuries caused by training, as their main purpose is building internal strength rather than enhancing external feats.
Internal martial artists believe that the body is a container which is traversed by waves of energy. With an analogy to the science of electricity, this vital energy is polarized into plus and minus, or positive and negative lines. This is what we refer to as Yin and Yang. In the Chinese language, they are always expressed together as Yin-Yang, unlike the English language where they are referred to as separate entities, Yin and Yang. The Chinese language preserves their fundamental nature in that they always co-exist together; they cannot exist without each other.
The holding of stances is a practice specific to internal martial arts. It is little understood, even by some long-term practitioners. It is a deeply meditative practice that also involves the physical body. At a surface level, it can be seen as a form of building patience while placing the body in a state of stillness.
Holding certain stances (in a correct manner) is very beneficial for building stamina and increasing the energy capacity of our meridians. Similar to the electrical wiring in our dwellings, the diameter of the meridians can be thicker or thinner according to the amount of current flowing through.
When training in internal martial arts, one aim of the long-term practitioner is to constantly upgrade the size and capacity of their body’s meridians. Increasing the energetical network of our body will enhance our self-healing capacity. Holding a correct stance for increasingly longer time periods while using proper breathing and positive mental attitude will push the flow of energy through the meridians, adapting them by augmenting their capabilities every time we practice.
Holding postures significantly increases the power of your structural muscles, which directly affects your bones and joints. Your internal organs will all function more effectively.
‘Cloudy Hands’ Exercise using Light Weights
‘Cloudy Hands’ are a set of Tai Chi movements that energize your entire aura by activating all important points and meridians. If practiced correctly, the entire body gets involved in the work out, becoming more supple and flexible.
The effect of Cloudy Hands on the brain is significantly supportive because you are repeatedly working both the left and right sides of your body. Your attention switches between left and right, activating both sides of the brain simultaneously.
Any type of stiff ness in your body can be relieved through the Cloudy Hands technique, especially when done at the slowest pace possible. All your internal body fluids get pumped from one side of your body to the other, which creates a pleasant feeling during or by the end of practice.
Your spine has to be held straight at all times during practice, allowing the spine to only rotate left and right which, added to the accompanying hand movements, opens and closes your spine on a vertical direction which creates smooth flexibility between the vertebrae.
The Cloudy Hands exercise can be used as a full-body workout by adding wrist weights.
Note: You must always warm up your entire body before practicing.
Cloudy hands with weights. – video also
Body Density vs. Ideal Weight
A basic mathematical formula that tells us whether or not we are overweight has been widely accepted by the general public.
The typical recommended weight for a man 180 cm tall is about 80 kg. (180-100=80)
Long-time practitioners of internal martial arts are not eligible for using this formula.
The body (muscles and bones) tend to become denser over years of repetition of holding positions and slow-motion workouts. This is extremely exciting, especially for women, who are more likely to develop osteoporosis after a certain age.
We tend to be significantly heavier than non-practitioners, based on personal experience and observations of long-life practitioners. Although I weigh 95 kg and am 184 cm, I am not overweight.
The very same pattern has been observed among Chinese Tai Chi practitioners.
In the end, weight is simply a number, and as our bodies get denser, they also get stronger and healthier.
In 1989, Irwin Rosenberg assigned the name of Sarcopenia to a condition that generally manifests after the age of 50. Sarcopenia comes from combining two Greek words: sarx (flesh) and penia (poverty). The decrease of muscle mass, especially skeletal muscle, is described by this condition.
The body will become a weak mechanism, prone to injury and mishaps, when muscles are lost. Reduced quality of life, falls, fractures, and incapacity are all risks associated with sarcopenia.
Starting to take care of one’s muscles will prevent developing sarcopenia. It cannot be treated with a pill or surgery. We cannot do surgery or take a medicine to treat this. It is a condition that can only be treated by transforming one’s lifestyle.
How Do I Look vs How Do I Feel?
Maintaining a healthy body weight and muscle shape and appearance are the primary goals of the fitness industry. Looking attractive is by all means necessary to boost our confidence and self-esteem.
The health of our muscles, though, is of considerably greater significance. Really strong physical fitness usually translates into confidence in oneself, a positive mental attitude, and a feel-good state.
Your age can actually be determined by how you feel each day. Start practicing today!