Saturday, August 7, 2010

I Want a Loaner Body

I took a yoga class from a new teacher. At the end of class, the teacher asked if there was anything I’d like.  In retrospect, I think she meant – did I want to do standing exercises or hip openers, or inversions.  But my brain was in a different gear. I was sore from the stretches and feeling like a klutz for all the things I couldn’t do.  So, I said, “Yes, I’d like to borrow a loaner body for this class.”

You might say that if I did the work in a loaner body, that I wouldn’t get the benefits.


There’s plenty of evidence that exercise makes you smart.

which says in part: “ Physical exertion induces the cells in the brain to reinforce old connections between neurons and to forge new connections. This denser neuron network is better able to process and store information, essentially resulting in a smarter brain.

Best of all, exercisers may not need the endurance of an ironman—or even a John Lavery, for that matter—to benefit. For older people in particular, even a moderate program of exercise can boost brain health and cognition.

Much of this research focuses on a protein called BDNF, for "brain-derived neurotrophic factor." This chemical, which helps nerve cells grow and connect, is important for fetal development. But it turns out to be critical in the adult brain, as well.”


which says: “However, the positive effects on your brain are increased the more aerobic exercise you do. Studies show that higher activity levels trigger the release of metabolic 'clean-up crews' in your brain, says Dr Ratey. These produce proteins and enzymes that get rid of the brain-clogging waste products that cause sluggish thinking and generally stop your brain working at its peak. . 

Once you get fit enough to be able to occasionally put in a few sprints ( a fast lap in the pool or 30 seconds of furious cycling on a stationery bike), research shows that the pituitary gland in your brain unleashes human growth hormone ( HGH). T HIS, says Dr Ratey, is the body's master craftsman burning belly fat, layering on muscle fibre and pumping up brain volume. 

Normally HGH stays in the bloodstream for only a few minutes, but research shows that these few sprints can keep the level elevated for up to four hours. “

And here’s evidence that you don’t really have to do the exercise – you can just imagine it.

here’s a key part of the article:

“The control group, who didn’t do anything, saw no gains in strength. The exercise group, who trained three times a week, saw a 28% gain in strength. No big surprises there. But, the group who did not exercise, but rather thought about exercising experienced nearly the same gains in strength as the exercise group (24%). Yes, you read that right!
The group that visualized exercised got nearly the same benefit, in terms of strength-gains, as the group that actually worked-out.”

I enjoy exercise.  I like the concentration on coordinating my body. I like the sensations of stretching and strengthening.  I don’t like the pain that my injured body experiences when I try to do what used to be easy.  So, if I can get the benefits and pleasure of the exercise without pain – by using a loaner body – that would solve my problems.

I think it might solve problems for a lot of people for a lot of different reasons.  Your body can’t run a marathon, but you want to? Borrow a body that can.  Your body can’t drive because you broke your arm – borrow a body that can.  Your body can’t even get out of bed because you are sick or disabled – borrow a body that is heathy and moves.

I don’t see any downside.  How about a body swap.  The healthy person can take time to read while you exercise their body.  They get their body exercised while they do something else.  It seems like win-win to me.


  1. A self-healing "guru" once told me I should visualize exercises I could not perform. I took the advice half heartedly. Apparently you have good news about this technique. Even I can do this.

  2. With recent aches and pains, not sure I would give back a loaner body if I could keep my mind.