Maintain Positive Reactions – Forces of Action and Reaction


Physicist Albert Einstein once remarked “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is.” Without a doubt Albert Einstein was one of the most insightful scientists of the twentieth century. His Theory of Relativity expanded our perception of the universe. The concept of all things being relative with respect to the observer (each of us) parallels our ego-based point of view toward our perceptions of ‘all there is’. In other words, we perceive and experience everything from our individual point of reference, or point of view.

Another of Einstein’s theories states that ‘every action has an equal and opposite reaction’. This too, applies to everything in the entire universe. It is a basic law in Physics. Simple logic tells us that if that theory is true, then it must apply to all of us. Not only that, but it applies to our body, our mind and our spiritual link to God, as well. We can see that this principle is applicable in our perception of the physical world around us, our state of mental awareness and our inter-relationship with what we call the spirit self, God, or however we perceive a higher power.


Another way of saying the same thing is “you don’t get something for nothing”, or “what goes around, comes around”, or my personal favorite “there is no such thing as a free lunch.” Simply put, action and reaction are two forces found in nature that work hand in hand. One cannot happen without the other. In every given moment, the reaction generated by an action will create movement and change.

For example, if I desire to build some muscle on my upper arms, one of the best exercises to perform is the standing barbell curl. The actual lifting of the barbell is the ‘action’ movement. The related stress placed upon the muscle fibers of the bicep is the ‘reaction.’ It is the tiny micro tears in the muscle fiber that, when allowed to rest and repair, will grow back a bit stronger and larger than it was previously. This is similar to the repair process of a small cut in the skin. When the repair is completed, the scar tissue is stronger and a littler larger than the original skin.

Furthermore, there are additional reactions within the body brought about by the barbell curl. Stored glycogen in the body is burned to provide fuel for the movement and as time goes by, there will be an increase in appetite to take in more fuel to keep up with the energy requirements necessary for this type of exercise program. Also, as with any exercise program, there will be increased oxygen consumption, increased heart rate to supply the oxygen to the muscle tissues, as well as endorphins, a variety of hormones and the process of elimination of toxins from within the body through sweat glands, just to name a few.

maintain-positive-reactionsThis scenario, provides an example of how the reaction cannot happen without the action, and is particularly useful when striving to achieve and maintain a state of health and fitness. Remember, it is the reaction we are looking for in our quest for a happy, healthy and fit lifestyle. The action movement is only a tool. Of course, like any other tool, proper understanding of its use is the key. How many times have you seen someone at the gym trying to lift a weight that is obviously much too heavy for that person to handle safely and with good form? Perhaps you know someone who gets on the treadmill or Stairmaster and attempts to prove that by going faster and longer than they are capable of, will result in more body fat loss in a shorter period of time. These two examples show how misusing a fitness tool can invite accident or injury, two words that are not part of the ‘intended reaction’ we are looking for. Knowledge and understanding of proper exercise techniques and equipment use must be considered at all times.

Another tool to which we have access is our mind. All actions begin with a single thought. Think about that for a moment. Everything we do, or create, or build begins with a thought. It begins with introspection of the self to encourage change from the ‘inside’ and manifest those thought patterns on the body. In other words, it is the incarnation of our thoughts. In the example of the barbell curl, the action, relative to our mindset, is the thought, and the reaction is the performance of the movement. Whereas, the action, relative to our physical body, is the movement, and the reaction is hypertrophy (muscular growth).

On the grand or divine scale, the interplay between actions and reactions are occurring every moment. Ebbing, flowing, causing, affecting, shifting and changing in an exquisite endless energy flow. It is the Great Cosmic Mystery, where ‘change’ is the only ‘constant’. For us to feel the need for a change is natural. It’s okay, trust me. Let the changes occur but with an honest look from inside as to the nature of your reasons. Ask yourself what ‘reaction’ you want from the ‘action’ of starting a regular exercise program.

If you answer that you will feel better, have more energy, sleep better, help manage your weight, increase your libido, look better and live longer, then you are on solid ground and your odds of successfully achieving your goals are high. If, on the other hand, your answer is more like “I just want to look good at the clubs and I really don’t care about the health part of it”, or “my husband, lover, or friends will like me better if I am more in shape,” then perhaps you need to rethink your motivation. Approaching a lifestyle or physical change from that angle, either doesn’t work or you never seem to be happy or satisfied. Possibly you might be trying to compensate for some other underlying reason, which needs to be taken care of before you begin your program.

Remember, for every action, there will be reaction. Consider what ‘reaction’ you want. Remember too, we can only change ourselves. We cannot change others, nor can others change us, unless we allow it to happen. Therefore, being very true to yourself in terms of your motivation, desires and realistic goals is the first step toward achieving and maintaining the happy, healthy and fit lifestyle you seek.

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About Author

Dennis Mason

Dennis Mason is a Palm Springs personal trainer specializing in Senior Fitness but works with all age groups. Dennis has over 25 years of experience in teaching fitness to others and owned a gym for 10 years. Dennis trains at a local gym and at his home where he conducts one-on-one boot camp and free weight workouts. See my profile page for more information!

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