• Richard Portugal

An Entity Onto Oneself


We are a singular organism, special and unique. Every human being is an entity onto his or herself. We have evolved to survive on this planet we call home. Through ice ages, volcanos, meteorites, hurricanes and plate tectonics, we have survived because our body and mind have adapted. We made our initial living as hunters in small clans and from there created towns, cities, governments and empires. Through communication and language came writing, mathematics, history and science. Our world has changed dramatically since we chased antelope over the African savanna some eons ago.

And yet our bodies have not appreciatively changed over the last 200,000 years. Bodies that were primed to follow prey over a number of days and then end the hunt were also prepared to run and flee if we became suddenly the hunted. If we were not successful on the plains, mountains and oceans of our early environment, then we would not be the dominant species today.

We are a species expressly created to live, procreate, and die. Yet we humans have taken that organic blueprint and expanded its very essence. We not onlylive, but we create, build and transform; we not only procreate, but we manage, sow, and harvest; we not only die, but leave a legacy so our species will endure. We are also emotional, argue, kill and destroy. We are simultaneously architects of our world and demolishers of our world. We are oh so complicated—and it all

starts with our body!

So let’s examine this wonderful body so favorably bequeathed to us. It demonstrates a magnificent synergy of body mechanics, brain intelligence, immune systems, organ systems, bone assembly and muscle structure. Each body is its own community. It is made of systems that work together to keep us healthy and wise. Our largest organ, our skin, envelops us in protective layers which enable us to confront wind, rain, heat, cold and a sundry of other assaults from our environment. It permits us to perspire so our bodies can regulate our temperature during various activities. It protects us from the sun and keeps us snug at night. Our other organs create and keep our blood clean and deliver oxygen, hormones, proteins and nutrients throughout the body. They help us fight infections, digest and absorb food, and rid us of waste and carbon dioxide. We have mechanisms to chew and taste; to see and hear; to touch and feel; to smell and lick our lips at an apple pie freshly baked. Our brain balances all these systems and enables us to create and appreciate. Our brain is the arbitrator of most internal disputes and decides who needs what and when. It sends nerve impulses along neural pathways permitting us to think, write, walk, talk, sing and run. It manages our central and peripheral nervous systems and controls our behavior. Our skeleton system holds us together giving the entire structure form and body. And our muscles allow that entire structure to move, shift and reposition with strength and agility.

Taken as a whole, our body is a wonderful structure that is fully engaged with the environment it inhabits. It is also vulnerable to insults from that environment and susceptible to injury and damage from sources both outside and inside. Our body is a survivor, but it is not immune to environmental extremes, attacks from its own species and just pure serendipity and accidents. It is also vulnerable to attacks from other life forms as microbes, bacterium and viruses. It organizes vigorous responses to these attacks and is a stalwart defender and protector of itself and its systems. We also have created medicines and medical techniques to aid our bodies’ defenses and enable it to heal and prosper after severe insults. Yet, as wondrous as is our body, it has a difficult time responding to neglect.

When we neglect our health, our bodies’ systems suffer. And there are three major ways in which we insult our bodies: overeating; smoking; and lack of exercise. There are a myriad of self-inflicted offenses, but these three are critical and correctable. Obesity is a recognized disease, but with proper nutritional guidance and exercise can be successfully treated and curtailed. Smoking is an addition difficult to break, but with proper therapy and exercise its effects can be minimized. Notice how proper exercise is a crucial part of successful treatment for both of these human predilections.

Our bodies were made to be hunters. Our lifestyle has changed since running and tackling game was necessary for our survival. But our need to use our muscles has not abated. Muscles unused will atrophy causing the body to wilt: posture is truncated, balance suffers, walking compromised, rising and sitting impaired. Muscles react positively to stress. They grow, become stronger and make activities of daily living easier. Strong muscles breed confidence, slow osteoporosis, encourage skeleton bone growth and bone density, permit proper walking and sitting, and allow getting onto and off the floor, reduce depression, increase good cholesterol, lessen the swelling and discomfort of lymphedema after breast cancer and help lower the risk of diabetes. Your coordination develops and balance improves. And exercise encourages blood flow to the brain causing an increase in cognitive function, memory and recall. A lack of exercise is an easy fix; neglecting your muscles is a shameful waste. Don’t be shamed and don’t waste. Make use of what has been bequeathed to you. Every human being is an entity—keep it healthy!

Copyright © 2018 Richard J. Portugal All rights reserved.

Submitted by Richard Portugal, Fitness Senior Style, LLC, 201-937-4722

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