Specialization and Bias (Cont'd)
Serious life science researchers and the medical sciences tend to ignore the significance of exercise. If it is mentioned in connection with articles on aging or chronic diseases, it is almost invariably connected to diet. For example, one frequently reads statements to the effect that lifestyle changes, such as improvements in “diet and exercise,” can have a positive effect on health. It’s easy to overlook exercise if you’re just looking at modern humans. Physical activity is not something that seems to come naturally to adults, especially the type of intense exercise that is necessary to raise lactate levels and activate the Growth Process.
One obvious example of the reluctance of medical science to address the importance of exercise generally, and intense exercise specifically, is in the literature relating to the stress reaction. The stress reaction occurs when the body, perceiving a need to move, radically changes its internal chemistry. Since many of the chemicals that are released can be damaging if not metabolized quickly, stress has been recognized as having a deleterious effect on health generally, and a risk factor for a number of chronic degenerative diseases. It is universally recognized that the body generates those chemicals in order to facilitate movement; it’s typically labeled the “fight or flight” response.
In fact, the stress response is most likely the body preparing for the Growth Process. Humans can move quickly and powerfully without the assistance of all of the chemicals that are released as part of the stress response. Why would the body flood itself with dangerous chemicals that aren't really necessary for flight or fight? But those substances are fully metabolized if one does engage in intense exercise and activate the Growth Process. Whether or not one is aware of the Growth Process, unless one assumes that evolution is crazy, it is obvious that the body would have a mechanism for metabolizing those harmful chemicals. But one would be hard-pressed to find an academician or health professional who would suggest that the obvious remedy for stress buildup would be to engage in the exercise that those chemicals are preparing the body for. Standard recommendations are to remove the stressor, take drugs or get therapy.
The Institute takes a less short-sighted view of exercise. The ability to move is what differentiates animals from plants. All other systems and organs in the animal body developed to support the skeletal muscle system. Throughout evolutionary history, movement tended to be sudden and intense. Children will instinctively move in this manner. The process of moving moderately, without changing body chemistry, is a very recent development from an evolutionary perspective. Thus, examining what happens when a person engages in intense exercise and dramatically changes blood chemistry, which was the norm throughout evolutionary history, seemed a natural path for the Institute.
In the absence of a significant body of life sciences research into the effects of intense exercise, the Institute was compelled to seek out other resources. Fortunately, in recent years there has been a great deal of interest in studying intense exercise as it relates to elite athletes. Many of the authorities cited by the Institute result from those studies. Interestingly, just as medical science appears to be reluctant to address exercise in any serious manner, those studying elite athletes appear to be reluctant to be associated in any way with chronic degenerative diseases. The Institute embraces all potential sources of knowledge.