The principles presented here are fundamental to understanding
the exercises, movements, massages, and advanced topics on this site.


Basics Of Gliding

You Breathe, Therefore Thou Art Aerobic

In the context of fitness, cardio refers to cardiovascular fitness, cardiovascular endurance, and cardio-respiratory fitness. Commonly, “cardio” refers to exercise that elevates the heart rate, over a period of time, for the purposes of burning calories and working the cardiovascular system (the heart and blood vessels). Both aerobic and anaerobic exercise affect cardiovascular fitness. All of the terms are subject to interpretation and misuse (either deliberate or unintended) by promoters attempting to define the benefits of various exercise programs, methods, and equipment.

The more I studied the relationships among aerobic, anaerobic, and cardio, the more I realized that the information available may not be reliably accurate. I am not medically qualified and so I offer my own observations of my own body. I leave you to draw your own conclusions and have your own experiences. A widely used chart (attributed to Dr. William Haskell and Dr. Samuel Fox but not claimed to be original) correlates heart rate (in beats per minute) and levels of activity from moderate to maximum (passing through fat-burning, aerobic-cardio endurance, and anaerobic hardcore along the way). Cardio training is most often associated with an aerobic level of activity.

Fitness, weight control, and fat burning accompany a heart rate that is approximately 60% of your maximum heart rate. Aerobic activity accompanies a heart rate approximately 70% of “maximum” (your maximum heart rate) and can be sustained for long periods (measured in hours). Anaerobic activity (hardcore training) accompanies a heart rate at 80% of maximum, cannot be sustained for more than a few seconds (occasionally up to 2 minutes). Effort can take your body alternately through aerobic and anaerobic “zones”.

According to fitness evangelist Greer Childers, when athletes connected to (Kirlian) photosensitive measuring equipment worked out vigorously on stationary bicycles, aerobic activity was detected only after they were sitting down and recuperating, after the physical effort had subsided, while their breath was returning to normal and they were inadvertently Ocean Breathing. Steady, even Ocean Breathing enhances even such mundane tasks as raking and sweeping. Years ago, while merely putting on my socks and shoes, I noticed, and wondered why, my heart rate had elevated to the same level as during an aerobics class!

I used to find myself breathless (huffing, puffing, and sporting cardiac face—a blotchy red-purple coloring), after climbing a hill or a long flight of stairs, and believed that the cause was that I was out of shape and overweight. But as soon as I dropped my shoulders, peeled my feet, and began Ocean Breathing, I became able to climb hills with ease. I now arrive exhilarated and in control of my breathing.

Slow, deliberate movements increase the intensity of the effort, and therefore its effect. This minus-impact effort replaces the over-exertion and mindless repetition that we have been led to believe are necessary if we want to become fit. To peel your feet (Velcro action) and to feel the peeling, you need to be moving slowly. Aeration does not happen as a result of jumping around at a red light, but as a result of breathing in a deliberate manner.

Be Wary Of Sudden Exercise

In addition to eliminating the jarring impact from our aerobic workouts, we need to warm up, work up gradually to a higher heart rate. As Glenn Cunningham explained to me, even a seasoned athlete responds badly to sudden exercise. The example he used was running for a bus: anyone, amateur or athlete, responds in the same way to sudden, intense effort—we arrive out of breath. The body does not respond immediately to a demand for effort. Whatever form of exercise you use, you need to build up slowly to an aerobic level of activity. If you start out for a brisk walk, start out slowly, and gradually increase your pace. When I asked Anita Kennedy (my friend the squash coach) how long it takes her to feel ready to start charging around the squash court, she replied that this takes about an hour.

A Major Distraction While Exercising – This May Surprise You

You may have heard that you are in your target fat-burning heart-rate zone if you can talk while exercising. This may be okay as a “test”, but if you are talking while exercising, there is no way you can be breathing and in your body, listening to it and developing the form that it is trying to communicate to you. If you do talk while Gliding, keep the conversation limited, and keep it centered on Gliding technique and body-language experiments. Even listening to music can be somewhat distracting, despite its motivating effect, because you cannot respond to your body’s needs while your concentration is elsewhere.



DEER Factor Increases Effectiveness

Moving with ease does not mean that there is no effort required on the path to ease of movement. To reduce the number of repetitions (reps), and at the same time increase the effectiveness of exercise, I came up with what I call the DEER factor (Difficulty, Effortlessness, Efficiency, and Results): a way of introducing a degree of difficulty, which decreases the effort, increases the efficiency, and gives you greater results in fewer reps.

Anything that accomplishes this is a DEER factor (for example, assuming the position, physical visualization, going slowly downhill, active feet). Specific DEER factors for specific exercises are indicated, where appropriate, notably in “Floor Exercises“.

Once you implement DEER, you will understand more about the notion of good pain and the Achybody concept of bringing pain to the surface and dealing with it. The pain tells you where you need to work as it guides you through structural reversal and repair.



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Basics of Gliding
Article Name
Basics of Gliding
The principles presented here are fundamental to understanding the exercises, movements, massages, and advanced topics in the rest of the book.