Reduce muscle fatigue? Whoa!
My next few hours were taken up crawling on the ground between shrubbery and the house, banging on skirting that must be removed, pulling nails, prying with a hammer and crowbar … and a whole lot of getting up from the ground and going back down.
Monday afternoon, I started feeling it. It was difficult to grasp anything with my hand. Sitting and rising, my buttocks objected painfully. Arms, legs, back were just generally sore.
Tuesday morning, after sliding out of bed, I stumbled across an article in the New York Times, which said scientists at Columbia think they know why muscles get tired. We know that, don't we? Well, they're talking at a physiological level, something about calcium leaking from a muscle's cells.
OK, that's interesting, but the next part absolutely frightened me. They think they have found a way to block muscle fatigue. It has only been tested in mice, but they have been able to exercise longer before giving out.
A weekend warrior like me might see that and think, "Cool, I can do the work I need to do without suffering too much the next day."
Yes, but guys like me do not control the world.
Work till you drop
Our weekend bosses will see it as 20 percent more work they can get out of us before we collapse.
We guys will, predictably enough, begin to wear out about 15 minutes before the ball game comes on. We will slowly stretch our back and limbs, groan just loud enough to be heard and start gathering tools.
"What's the matter, dear? Are your muscles getting tired?"
Yes, we'll say, we'll have to pay for this with pain pills tomorrow.
"I have a better idea," will say the loves of our lives. "Let me give you a little injection of AcheBeGone and you should be good for another hour or two."
Ohhh, we will say, what a great idea.
Seriously, though, for less selfish reasons, something like this just cannot be good. Our maker could have built us so that we could run forever, but he didn't. I can't help but believe there is a good reason for it.
Feeling the pain of overexertion just might keep us from going overboard. If our muscles don't hurt, how do we know when to stop? We could quite literally work ourselves to death.
And, if you thought steroids were a problem in sports, wait until overly competitive athletes get a crack at a drug that keeps their muscles from getting tired.
In the name of full disclosure, I must inject here that this discovery came about while they were researching ways to strengthen heart muscles. There may yet prove to be some decidedly wonderful benefit there ... I hope so. However, I'm all for enduring sore muscles when I have pushed them too hard.
Steve Martaindale is a self-syndicated