Hormesis – Growing Stronger

I’ve talked a few times about Dynamic Equilibrium, our bodies’ ability to adjust and re-balance after it notices changes in environment or its own status. It’s a constant balancing act.

I recently learned a new word. I read a book called Antifragile, which equates the opposite of being fragile with hormesis. The opposite of fragile isn’t just unbreakable. The opposite of fragile is strengthening with each blow, breakdown or fall.

Hormesis (from Greek hórmēsis “rapid motion, eagerness,” from ancient Greek hormáein “to set in motion, impel, urge on”) is the term for generally favorable biological responses to low exposures to toxins and other stressors. A pollutant or toxin showing hormesis thus has the opposite effect in small doses as in large doses. A related concept is Mithridatism, which refers to the willful exposure to toxins in an attempt to develop immunity against them. Hormetics is the term proposed for the study and science of hormesis. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hormesis

In the book, Nassim Nicholas Taleb mentions how he observed a bodybuilder to learn from him the best way of building muscle. The body builder lifted weights to the extreme, but didn’t do it every day. He would push himself beyond tired, beyond his normal limits, because he knew that his body would rebuild. His body would become stronger than it was before.

This is how our brain learns new patterns. It’s also how our bones become stronger. Our bodies harden and strengthen from use. We have to use it or lose it as the old saying goes. So today, I’m going to go just a little longer on the run. Give myself a challenge that I probably can’t handle and even if I don’t reach the goal, I still will have gone farther than normal.

Check out Antifragile,Things That Gain From Disorder, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. It’s an interesting read.

Here’s an inspiring story.

Give The Dog Her Bone

“Grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked any way,The good fortune to run into the ones I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference” – Author Unknown

If my brother Steve ruled the world, dogs would be allowed on the couch and people would be treated more humanely.

I had a dog for a little while. She was one of those crazy impulse finds. Cute kid with a box of squirming puppies, who can resist? Usually I can. For lack a better name, I called her Poochie…I know it’s a stupid name. I’m not good with naming. It’s a good thing for my kids that there are books with thousands of baby names. Anyway, I digress.

Dogs are no different than people. They know a good find when they find one. When you are in a store, if there is a good deal, you’ll snatch it up, regardless of who is in the way. Poochie, my 3 month old puppy did that very same thing.

Her usual walk is a stop to sniff at this bush and a stop to sniff at that tree, then finished off with a roll in the clover. She was a puppy and acted every bit of it too. I took her in the back of the apartment complex and you never know what you’ll find; cans, bottles, toys even old bones. She found it. A bone- no, HER bone. Poochie grabbed that bone, put her ears back and with head down she ran-leash attached to my arm-yanking me along behind. I did not realize the greed that was in my sweet puppy’s nature, nor did I realize how well she knew her way home. Until now. She made a quick headstrong way, weaving around this sidewalk, across the little bridge, around the tree and to the front of the apartments and straight to the stairs all the while carrying her find and dragging me quickly behind her.

Oh the wisdom of dogs.