The human body may seem like a fragile mechanism than could collapse like a house of cards if we removed a single part of it.
Yet, world records are toppled each year, and we have witnessed some outstanding human achievements that make us think twice before defining the limits of what is possible. It is in human nature to always grow stronger, run faster, think smarter and climb higher. The sky is the limit for those who dare.
Quick note: Did you know a human can survive without food for a maximum of 382 days, go without sleep for 11 days, and climb 29,000 feet without extra oxygen?
It is often these extreme situations that show us the frontier of our capabilities. Sadly enough, we forgo this notion in our daily life, and we succumb to doing things with the least effort. It is only when we have our backs pressed against the wall that we begin to realize that we are superheroes rather than incompetent weaklings. Assuming the former role does require responsibility, commitment and hard work is why many people decide to renounce it.
What is more, these superpowers are hidden deep within the labyrinth of our brain. Embarking on a quest to reclaim this buried treasure is no walk in the park.
The Human Body and Super Strength
Science has cast some light on this matter. For example, it is argued that the most weight a human is able to lift is around 1,000 pounds. But, what about an individual who manages to accomplish something that is inexplicable solely by scientific knowledge?
Take the example of a mother lifting a car with her bare hands to save her son trapped beneath it. Only a few inches were enough to accomplish this feat, but the vehicle in question weights 3,340 pounds. Although this would be almost unimaginable under normal circumstances, when we or our loved ones are endangered, it seems that a superhuman strength has the ability to overcomes us. It almost defies the laws of physics and eludes what we know about our bodies.
Science, however, has proven that our muscle fibers are physically able to accomplish such incredible exploits. The only problem is that they cannot endure those hardships for prolonged periods of time and that some other bodily functions are shut down in the process. Therefore, summoning super strength does not work at will nor lasts longer than a few minutes.
Of course, you can always decide to become fit as a fiddle. Sometimes we simply need a push from our environment or somebody to hold us accountable. Well, there is no better way to ensure this than to hire a personal trainer. I got off on the wrong foot with mine, but after a while, we managed to find common ground and achieve great things together.
How Others Have Stepped Up Their Game
Decisions like this help you explore your own limits and dwell beyond them into unknown territory. We are bound by natural laws, yet our ambition pays little heed to them. On the other hand, when your brain hits the wall, you can persuade your muscles to lead the way. It is estimated that the fastest we can run is 10.5 meters per second, the hardest we can punch is 4,74 Newton, the tallest we can grow is 8 feet, and that the keenest ears can hear noise at 10,000 Hertz.
However, it is not uncommon for athletes and daredevils to prove us wrong. How about Lyndi Harding, who survived an 8,500 feet fall in a skydiving accident and lived to give it another try?
Another example involves English cyclists, who were told to go as fast as they can. They gave it their best and achieved great speed. However, when they raced against a superior, computerized opponent, they went an extra mile and increased their performance.
That is why people should train with someone better than them. From the effort of competing with others, a true sportsman is born. There are some other things that help us enhance physical performance: a healthy lifestyle, maximal oxygen consumption, proper nutrition, and hydration. Alas, a sedentary lifestyle often impedes our ability to stay at our full potential, and hinders attempts to maximize fitness results.
If There is No Pain, There’s No Gain
To our utmost dismay, pain is an integral part of human life. This is a lesson we all learn the hard way. When I broke my arm the first time, I was in a state of shock, for more than one reason. For what seemed like a few minutes, I could hardly feel any physical pain. Interestingly enough, a similar thing happened when my son broke his leg. It took him some time to start crying, and it was only after he had seen the fracture.
In these situations of trauma, our brain switches of the sense of pain. There are examples of people walking for hours with multiple fractured bones, delaying the overwhelming feeling of pain to the moment they find help or arrive at the hospital.
There is a similar case called “runner’s high”. It refers to the sense of painless calm that comes in moments when an athlete’s body should be normally begging for mercy. This is all thanks to the ultimate feel-good substance produced in our body, endorphin.
We usually sense this miraculous chemical working during exercise or in moments of pure excitement. Its power makes the pain either dulled or completely eliminated.
Triggering The Brain With Memory
The brain is a curious organ. For some time, I thought I was the only person who remembers the bizarre peculiarities about my childhood. For example, I can still feel the exact taste of an apple ice cream I ate two decades ago. This phenomenon is not that rare, though.
In theory, our brain can effectively store every tiny bit of information we experience during a lifetime. Think of it as a computer with a fast processor and a storage space of roughly one million gigabytes. In fact, there is a condition called hyperthymesia which gives a nearly perfect autobiographical memory to people.
Jill Price is a woman who can remember everything she did on each day of her life and describe events no one else remembers. Even without this disorder, it is possible to take your memory to the next level. With only a little training, one is able to move from the average of memorizing 7 digits to strings of 80 digits. Still, the brain stores memories by relevance (using the principle of emotional engagement) and forges links between them, based on their similarity. This imperfect filling system is responsible for the memory failures we all experience. The good news is that this is also necessary for the prioritization of the stuff ahead of us.
The Wonderful Sound of Silence
Staying in tune with all our senses is an imposing task in a world where we are constantly bombarded by a myriad of stimuli and distractions. Most often, we rely on visual guidance as a compass for navigating our surroundings, while neglecting the potency of other tools. A human eye can see 1 million colors, and it is no wonder that this vivid spectacle spellbinds us. Furthermore, our brain is one lazy bastard, to say the least. If it can find an easy way out, it will not hesitate to do it. People who are deprived of any sense, however, can more easily discover the portal to a whole new amazing world.
There are blind mountain bikers and skateboarders who can find their way around numerous obstacles. They use echolocation, the ability to paint a mental picture of the world with the help of sounds. Yet, the superhero origin story of losing one’s sight is not even a necessary perquisite for this skill. Tests were carried out proving that blindfolded people are able to gauge distances based on the echo of their footsteps. Not only that, some of them managed to perceive the shape and texture of objects around them. We are exposed to the subtleties of echo our entire life, they were just going under our radar most of the time.
Standing Ten Feet Tall
To live is to be on a constant journey of self-realization and improvement. The essence of human spirit knows no restraints, even those set by our body. People have survived the impossible, outdone themselves a million times, and baffled scientists for ages. After all, we are yet to fully understand the human DNA, and something we discarded as junk might still prove to be an essential piece of the puzzle. So, awaken the dormant monster within you, and know that this is more a matter of training than inborn talent.
Just consider how many times have you surprised, even shocked yourself with the response to a challenge?
Well, do not wait to end up in the dark to embrace the benefits of all your senses. There is no need to wait for disaster to happen to realize how strong you are. Our mysterious existence on this blue rock in outer space is an extraordinary thing, so take a moment, and stand in awe.
Nothing is impossible as far as we humans are concerned. Nature might not have intended for us to get this far, but, here we are, standing taller than ever.
Mathews McGarry is passionate about many forms of strength training, and spent years lifting, dragging and flipping all manner of heavy objects. After graduating from the Faculty of Health Sciences, he started writing about his experiences, and sharing tips for better life. Follow him on Twitter