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Michael McMahon

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Michael McMahon last won the day on October 4 2020

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  1. “Isometric exercise is a type of low-impact exercise that involves straining your muscles without moving or bending your joints. A prime example is holding your body in a plank position – you stay at the top of a push up without bending your elbows. Isometric exercises are good for maintaining your strength and stability. For instance, if you train by doing a plank pose, it can help you hold a plank position for an extended period of time, but won't necessarily help you do more pushups. Isometric exercise is often recommended for people who arerecovering from an injury, or who suffer from joint pain like arthritis. Evidence is growing that isometric exercise may help lower blood pressure as well.” https://www.google.ie/amp/s/www.insider.com/what-is-the-difference-between-isometric-isotonic-and-isokinetic-exercises%3famp Exercise is healthy for us even though the exertion can get strenuous or tiring. So it’s counterintuitive that something good for us in the long-term can be painful in the short-term. But the self-sustaining biological body would innately know this concept as it’s designed from evolution to protect us. So I think it’s logically possible for the body to involuntarily self-induce pain of this kind in order to recover from or prevent an injury and to better withstand the ageing process. The body itself could consciously simulate the intense pain of exercise without the external stimuli. “Some bodyweight exercises have been shown to benefit not just the young, but the elderly as well. Older people undertaking bodyweight exercises benefit through increased muscle mass, increased mobility, increased bone density, decreased depression and improved sleep habits.” - Wikipedia
  2. I think muscle strength is inherently related to maximum heart rate. For example, if someone injured or weakened their legs then they won’t ever be able to exert themselves to the same extent. But if they can’t exert themselves as much, then their maximum heart rate has been effectively reduced because they won’t be able to run as hard in the future. So this relationship is of an indirect nature. The runner vs sprinter comment is an analogy for how the body might be inadvertently weak in one area but strong in another. The difference is that running is voluntary pain that stops as soon as the race is over while chronic pain is involuntary and more prolonged. “To best sustain endurance activity, two systems must be effectively coordinated: ventilation and locomotion. Evidence has long suggested that these two mammalian rhythms are linked, yet determinants and implications of locomotor–respiratory coupling (LRC) continue to be investigated.” https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40362-014-0020-4 It’s quite a long article but it demonstrates a connection between breathing patterns and walking speed.
  3. “The lumbar spine, or low back, is a remarkably well-engineered structure of interconnecting bones, joints, nerves, ligaments, and muscles all working together to provide support, strength, and flexibility. However, this complex structure also leaves the low back susceptible to injury and pain... The low back supports the weight of the upper body and provides mobility for everyday motions such as bending and twisting... Chronic back pain. Usually defined as lower back pain that lasts over 3 months, this type of pain is usually severe, does not respond to initial treatments, and requires a thorough medical workup to determine the exact source of the pain.” https://www.spine-health.com/conditions/lower-back-pain/lower-back-pain-symptoms-diagnosis-and-treatment A lot of our body weight is held upright by unconscious muscles in the back and hip region. We don’t feel how much energy they exert compared to our legs. So when we walk and run, we aren’t fully aware of the extra power that’s supplied by these concealed muscles to keep us erect. So when these muscles get weaker with age, people will have to exert themselves relatively harder to compensate for their increased effective upper body weight. Athletics may seem to be different than the weakness of ageing but ultimately all physical pain has as its source the basic need to move the body and maintain all of its systems against the various stresses and demands.
  4. “To become a sprinter or a long distance runner, different muscle groups need to be trained in the body and there is a clear distinction between their physical appearances. A sprinter’s body is built for speed and power while the marathoner is built for long and slow endurance.” https://finishermag.com/running/can-a-sprinter-run-a-marathon/ Both sprinters and marathon athletes are great at running. Both have the requisite psychological endurance. But even if a marathon runner had the mental resilience to run a short intense record-breaking sprint, they still wouldn’t be able to do that because the two disciplines require contradictory physical attributes. The human body can’t efficiently adapt to the opposing demands. Maybe by actively reducing and weakening the contradictory muscular attribute, the body could passively and effortlessly improve a separate physical feature.
  5. “(Proverb) A chain is only as strong as its weakest link: An organization is only as strong or powerful as its weakest person.” If something further down the kinetic chain is injured or weakened, then any muscle upwards from that location won’t be as efficient as it could be. A lot of our coordinated movements are dependent on a myriad of joints and muscle synergists. For instance it might be physically possible to play through an injury during a sports match. But if you use your upper leg muscles to run faster with an impaired ankle, you’d run the risk of more severely injuring that ankle. So maybe some types of chronic pain could be there in order to prevent overexerting an injured body part. https://www.google.ie/amp/s/www.sbnation.com/platform/amp/soccer/2014/11/12/7188643/why-do-athletes-play-through-injury “Shin splints are one of the most common running injuries. They are the result of tired or inflexible calf muscles putting too much stress on tendons, which become strained and torn.” https://www.runnersworld.com/uk/health/injury/a760234/shinsplints-how-to-beat-them/ It’s informative how an injury to the comparatively small calf and anterior tibialis anterior lower leg muscles can have such a large effect on the whole leg’s overall stride length and running footspeed. One way of visualising the spinal engine would be to walk at a slower pace with a smaller stride length. It’s almost possible to walk without an active foreswing. You could actively push back on the backswing leg and use the hips and arm swing to redirect and rotate that momentum to passively move the opposite leg forward.
  6. “You can calculate your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. For example, if you're 45 years old, subtract 45 from 220 to get a maximum heart rate of 175. This is the average maximum number of times your heart should beat per minute during exercise. Once you know your maximum heart rate, you can calculate your desired target heart rate zone — the level at which your heart is being exercised and conditioned but not overworked.” https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise-intensity/art-20046887 Maximum heart rate depends on intense exercise which is intrinsically initiated by the subjective mind. How hard you run alters the rate your heart beats. So aspects of heart rate are related to conscious psychological factors. Might chronic pain be able to affect the breathing muscles to reduce the degree to which you can exert yourself? This would therefore lower your maximum heart rate. Although this feature of the heart can only be indirectly gauged and it’s invisible to some extent. “Experiencing shortness of breath (dyspnea) or other breathing difficulties can feel scary. But it’s not an uncommon symptom of anxiety. Many people worry that a symptom affecting their breathing must come from a physical issue. In fact, your mental health affects your physical health in a number of ways.” https://www.healthline.com/health/shortness-of-breath-anxiety
  7. “Hip strain itself might also prevent two-leggers from taking up galloping as a workout; treadmill gallopers reported that the gait was challenging and uncomfortable for hips and thighs, and several stopped galloping before the 4 minutes were up.” https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2013/01/video-why-humans-dont-gallop We have a poor stride width compared to a galloping animal. They often have a large width relative to their height and their legs go straight vertically down. We can increase our stride breadth but the legs would then be out at an awkward angle. A tightening of the hip flexor muscles would subtly alter stride width and might be a hidden reason for the decreased speed in injuries like shin splints. “Stride width is formally defined as the distance between your heels when each heel is at its lowest point during the stride (i.e. when your foot is on the ground). In practice, you can think of it as the lateral separation between your left and right footprints on the ground when you run... Again, a wider stride was associated with less stress on the tibia, whereas a narrower stride created more stress on the tibia.” https://runnersconnect.net/stride-width-injuries/ “One possible cause for shin pain is weakness of the hip muscles, specifically the gluteus medius. This muscle is located in the lateral him and abducts and rotates the hip joint. When the gluteus medius muscle becomes weak, it results in a collapsing kinetic chain. This collapsing kinetic chain allows your thigh to rotate and pull inwards abnormally.” https://www.agnesian.com/blog/shin-pain-may-mean-hip-weakness
  8. “A positive feedback loop occurs in nature when the product of a reaction leads to an increase in that reaction. If we look at a system in homeostasis, a positive feedback loop moves a system further away from the target of equilibrium. It does this by amplifying the effects of a product or event and occurs when something needs to happen quickly.” - albert blog Our first-person thoughts and subconscious emotions are intricately connected. So if we are feeling down, our emotions could get worse and in turn make us feel yet more sad. This painful downward spiral could be attributed to positive feedback. Some bouts of mental illness might potentially be the subconscious bringing hidden, latent fears into focus so as to confront the problem head-on. This relates to the expression of getting it out of your system. Overall, mental illness could sometimes be a combination of both conscious, volitional thoughts and involuntary, subconscious emotions.
  9. “Overdetermination occurs when a single-observed effect is determined by multiple causes, any one of which alone would be sufficient to account for ("determine") the effect. That is, there are more causes present than are necessary to cause the effect.” - Wikipedia We never consciously choose to get physically weaker with old age. There are many theories on ageing. Might some aspects of muscle ageing be unconsciously or even neurologically initiated? To be pessimistic, everyone’s heart could be termed a ticking time bomb since when it eventually stops beating we may die of a heart attack. Maybe the body compensates by deliberately slowing itself down to conserve energy. Though there might also be other factors for the decline in strength. Exercise is indeed always good but we don’t want to overexert ourselves too much when we get older. “Technically, there is really no reason that the human body should "wear out," as long as it can repair and renew itself. Therefore, something other than time must be at play to cause the inevitable effects of aging. The programmed theory of aging asserts that aging and death are necessary parts of evolution, not of biology.” https://www.verywellhealth.com/programmed-theories-of-aging-2224226
  10. “A devil’s advocate is a person who takes the contrary view only for the purpose of debate, one who tests the strength of an argument through lively opposition. A person who plays the devil’s advocatedoes so in order to expose weak points in a philosophy and therefore examine a matter more thoroughly. A devil’s advocate is not trying to “win” an argument, he is attempting to examine a problem from all sides.” - grammarist web page The psychological intensity of pain can sometimes have a greater deterrence effect than the motivating reward of happiness. So maybe the subconscious mind could play the role of devil’s advocate in certain mental illnesses. Involuntary pain can cause uncertainty in the sense that it’s subjectively unclear how long it will last for. There isn’t a definitive timeline as to when it will end. Being able to withstand an irrational fear of the pain being permanent may indirectly give you the resilience to overcome pain of intermediate duration. The feeling of pain isn’t always connected to the actual source of the pain: “Referred pain, also called reflective pain, is pain perceived at a location other than the site of the painful stimulus. An example is the case of angina pectoris brought on by a myocardial infarction (heart attack), where pain is often felt in the neck, shoulders, and back rather than in the thorax (chest), the site of the injury.” - Wikipedia So maybe the nihilistic despair in an illness like depression could be the subconscious mind’s way of emotionally stress testing your conscious mind’s beliefs and values. “Catastrophic thinking can be defined as ruminating about irrational, worst-case outcomes. Needless to say, it can increase anxiety and prevent people from taking action in a situation where action is required. This can be especially true in a crisis situation... Catastrophic thinking needs to be managed, not discounted. There is often much to be learned from these persistent negative thoughts that may relate to old beliefs and core values that may drive emotional reactions and generate fear. These "icebergs," as Seligman refers to them, need to be examined to determine how meaningful, accurate, and useful they are to the individual in the present situation they are confronting. Flexibility in being able to question and change these beliefs and values is often the key to managing catastrophic thinking.” - Psychology Today
  11. “It's not that complicated. We hate them because they're threatening and ugly.” - drumbo But then why don’t people find sharp objects creepy? Jagged rocks could trip you over and blades can be used as weapons. They’d be far more threatening in an evolutionary sense. Yet spiders can somehow have a slightly frightening effect. We don’t find smaller insects like flies creepy as they can be easily dismissed as automata. But the larger the spider, the scarier it can be for a few people. I don’t think anyone would be afraid of a lifelike robot spider. So I imagine the fear of spiders comes from misplaced sense of empathy with animals and pets. It goes awry when we apply it to more peculiar species. https://www.google.ie/amp/s/www.psychologytoday.com/ie/blog/tech-support/201501/3-things-being-cat-person-or-dog-person-reveals-about-you%3famp “The phrase pathetic fallacy is a literary term for the attribution of human emotion and conduct to things found in nature that are not human. It is a kind of personification that occurs in poetic descriptions, when, for example, clouds seem sullen, when leaves dance, or when rocks seem indifferent.” “Some scientists believe that the belief in creator gods is an evolutionary by-product of agent detection. A spandral is a non-adaptive trait formed as a side effect of an adaptive trait. The psychological trait in question is "if you hear a twig snap in the forest, some sentient force is probably behind it". This trait helps to prevent the primate from being murdered or eaten as food. However this hypothetical trait could remain in modern humans: thus some evolutionary psychologists theorize that "even if the snapping was caused by the wind, modern humans are still inclined to attribute the sound to a sentient agent; they call this person a god". - Wikipedia “All of their answers had one underlying theme, one unifying factor that made the person or situation creepy: the presence of an ambiguous threat. Not something frightening or strange, mind you. A killer on the loose is frightening -- there's no ambiguity in the potential danger there. And your nerdy, socially awkward cousin may be strange, but he's harmless, and therefore not creepy. Creepiness is a function of uncertainty. In a paper he wrote with undergraduate psychology student Sara Koehnke, McAndrews explains, "It is our belief that creepiness is anxiety aroused by the ambiguity of whether there is something to fear or not, and/or by the ambiguity of the precise nature of the threat (e.g., sexual, physical violence, contamination, etc)." - KQED
  12. https://www.google.ie/amp/s/sports.yahoo.com/amphtml/blogs/olympics-fourth-place-medal/michael-johnson-says-slavery-descendants-run-faster-because-155858303--oly.html I think one slight limitation of this idea is that white people have also been enslaved in history: “The Mongol invasions and conquests in the 13th century added a new force in the slave trade. The Mongols enslaved skilled individuals, women and children and marched them to Karakorum or Sarai, whence they were sold throughout Eurasia.” - Wikipedia Yet this doesn’t seem to have conferred any sizeable athletic advantage in Eurasia. I’m not trying to be flippant but a lot of slave labour doesn’t seem to have been directly related to steady-state cardio exercise. So while the awful work would have been severely demanding and painful, I’m not sure if its interval or agricultural nature could be comparable in form to a race such as a marathon. The slaves would have been malnourished and sadly lived in very poor conditions. Perhaps having an awareness of past historic crimes might give individuals within the black community an extra psychological resilience that may indirectly contribute to athletic perseverance. “Dark-colored materials both absorb and emit energy more readily than light-colored materials.” - exploratorium page Putting on a white or black T-shirt mightn’t make a huge difference in body temperature on a warm day. But skin colour is permanent. So over many years can the heat radiation differences between white and black skin have a gradual effect? So if black skin were marginally better at emitting metabolic heat during an exercise, could this have an incremental beneficial impact on athletic performance over many years? “The nighttime temperatures in the Sahara Desert range from 60 F to 70 F during the height of the summer down to sub-freezing temperatures from December into February. The temperature difference in the Sahara Desert from the high point during the day to the low point at night is as great as 70 F during certain times of the year.” - “reference” website Maybe black skin would be more resistant to the large temperature range between night and day in certain parts of Africa.
  13. I don’t think openly allowing suicide would increase the current suicide rate. It would just have a palliative affect on those who have unfortunately lost hope and have decided that they can’t live any longer. Heavily relying on involuntary admissions could deter other people from trying to get help in case they too become confined to the hospital. The detainment can be well-intentioned, particularly when a patient might have low self-awareness. But we must be mindful not to excessively depend on it as the loss of freedom may adversely affect self-stigmatisation among patients. The toleration of suicide may counter-intuitively reduce the materialising of that event. This is because we often procrastinate. This is bad when it comes to homework. But in the context of suicidal ideation it would obviously be very good. It might give the patient peace of mind that they can end their life if the pain exceeds the threshold that they can tolerate. This may possibly prevent them from getting overwhelmed to the point that they actually try to die. So it could paradoxically give the patient more time and energy to battle their mental illness.
  14. “Their meanings were slightly different at the time Austen was writing. Pride or being proud was usually not a positive trait. Whereas today people tend to speak of being proud of hard work or some sort of accomplishment, in Austen’s time, being proud usually meant someone thought he or she was better than other people or was not open to interacting with different kinds of people. Prejudice tended to mean having a set idea about someone that was based on assumptions or preconceptions, rather than a person’s actual actions and characters. Today, prejudice may mean making judgments about someone based on, for example, their race or religion. But in Austen’s time, prejudice was usually more about basing judgments on reputation, gossip, or misunderstood actions.” -sparknotes Yes I agree that occasionally people can read too much into it. Pride and humility are very blunt and imprecise adjectives. An individual can be very proud about one accomplishment and extremely humble about another area in their life. So we shouldn’t divide the world’s population in terms of these traits.
  15. Pride and humility don’t have to contradict each other in the sense that one can also be proud of other people they meet in life. You don’t necessarily have to be proud of only yourself. There can sometimes perhaps be benefit in living vicariously. https://www.live-adventurously.com/why-live-vicariously/ There’s nothing wrong with being proud of your own country for instance. But a slight collective and general humility among its citizens could promote tolerance and appreciation for other cultures. https://medium.com/@wesodonnell/patriotism-vs-nationalism-whats-the-difference-5e23db662a3 Even if someone finds a particular person tiring they could still welcome them in small doses! There’s no limit on how many friends or acquaintances one can have.
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