The human body is a phenomenal machine. It can be trained, developed and taught to perform wondrous feats. For the most part, hard work and effort can allow just about anyone to become better, stronger and faster than they were before. Training and muscle memory are wondrous tools.
For example, I remember reading about monks in China called the Leaping Kung who trained tirelessly for hours everyday at jumping. That’s it, just jumping. They would train and develop their jumping and leaping abilities to the point where they could jump to exaggerated heights from a standing start.
Another good example would include athletes who train to swim for long periods of time in water that would be at temperatures considered unhealthy and dangerous for the human body. Although one would never stay in water of these temperatures for periods of more than fifteen minutes (usually accompanied by a beer and sitting still, mind you), these athletes train and condition themselves not only to withstand the increased temperature, but the rigors of physical activity within said increased temperatures.
Although these feats sounds amazing and many people watching would easily wish for the ability to do the same, conditioning ourselves to endure more is not always a good thing. Sometimes we can push in the wrong way and the results can be detrimental.
When I was a child, I would suffer multiple symptoms from having low blood sugar. My vision would blur, my muscles would weaken and my tongue would go numb, of all things. Over the years, some symptoms have changed to include loss of coordination and fine motor skills, mood swings and anger to passing out. It was annoying and frustrating, especially if I were out with friends or trying to train at karate.
Over the years, I pushed myself to keep going, even when my blood glucose levels would drop. The end result is that some symptoms were reduced and some disappeared altogether. I have been a Type 1 Diabetic for 37 years, and I can honestly say that when my blood sugar drops I get a mild feeling of discomfort and test my blood to find it quite low.
Anything below 3.9 mmol/L is considered low and dangerous. Anything below 3.0 mmol/L can cause loss of consciousness. I’ve often remained fully functional well into the low 2.0 mmol/L. Although one would think that this is a good thing, it really isn’t. Extreme lows can cause damage to the body that we rarely consider. Even now, I’ve felt a low and tested only to have my glucometer read “LO”. This means that my blood glucose levels are too low to register on the machine.
Conditioning ourselves to handle more can be an exceptional advantage in the martial arts, fitness and even with Diabetes. But if you train yourself TOO well, you can reach a dangerous level. Be mindful of what goals you set but more than that, be mindful of what the results may be once you reach those goals. Your health may depend on it. ☯