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Machine and man: heart, soul and brain against engine, design and transmission

In the art and history of cinema, very often we have toyed with the idea of associating the functioning of our body to that of a machine. From the expressionist Metropolis by Fritz Lang, to the postmodern Blade Runner and the pop Robocop, to the cartoons of the Transformers, the juxtaposition first, and then the comparison between machine and man has attracted the greatest creative minds of the past two centuries.
Nowadays, the desire to associate human and mechanical bodies has not failed, but rather has been strengthened by applying more and more technology to sport. If an athlete represents the pinnacle of physicality and possible human performance, supercars and their engine are their mechanical counterparts. Just as an athlete's body is often beautiful, athletic and sinuous, so supercars cosy up with design, aesthetics and sensuality of form.

Technology in sport and automobile mechanics

In the complex game of achieving maximum performance, when it comes to conquer that second or thousandth of a second there is an element that manages to perfectly assimilate the demands of sport and motoring, two worlds extremely close, albeit light years away.

Technology has in fact allowed athletes and cars alike to boost their performance enormously, maximising the ability to engage on the one hand and the sports on the other, without ever replacing the physical musculature of the athlete or the mechanical engine, but rather encouraging it, optimising it, analysing it to suggest how to improve it from time to time.

Let us take as an example from one of the latest originating from Sant'Agata Bolognese, the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ Roadster, the crown jewel of the Emilian car manufacturer. In this case, the design borrows from the agile and sharp lines of the aeronautical world and aerospace technology, which allow the Roadster to slit the air and keep the car firmly on the ground, maximising the performance of the engine. The car is also equipped with electronic systems managed in real time that guarantee the best aerodynamic configuration of the car in all driving conditions. In addition, if this Roadster has a great body, its heart, a magnificent V12 engine, is also to be admired.
In fact, the engine is the fulcrum around which aesthetics and performance revolve; the engine is responsible for that unparalleled emotional kaleidoscope, that inexhaustible thrust that, coupled with its unmistakable revving sound, makes the car so unique. The SVJ Roadster is the most powerful car ever produced by Lamborghini: its V12 engine is capable of releasing 770 horsepower and allows this car to reach a top speed of over 350 km/h, covering zero to one hundred km in less than three seconds.
If we wanted to make a comparison between the explosiveness of a Lamborghini engine and that of an athlete, we could not but mention the performance of a swimmer or a hundred metre racer. In their case, technology determines an increasingly targeted training to shape their bodies in the perfect sports car. Always technology helps them to create aerodynamic, fully customised sportswear that can help them, even in the case the athlete has a postural defect or an injury.

If the energy maker of the car is the engine, in the human body, on the other hand, the most biomechanical perfect machine in history, the real engine is the muscular apparatus, and physical activity is the best way to keep it constantly fit.

The importance of sport for the engine of human body

Today we all know the impact sports have on our health. Numerous studies have underlined the importance of daily physical exercise: in fact, inactivity contributes to increasing body weight, increasing the risk of circulatory and metabolic disorders, especially in the adult population. Also for this reason, for some years now, physical activity has been included in the food pyramid recommended by the World Health Organisation.

In recent decades, there has also been a trend that connects physical activity not only to the fight against obesity, but above all to the improvement of the health of our body and psychological well-being.

The result? Enrolments in gyms have increased significantly, with gyms being transformed from mere physical training spaces to wellness environments. In fact, an average gym now has many activities related to fitness, such as running, indoor cycling, indoor biking, cardio exercises, but also yoga and stretching, which allow us to keep our skeletal apparatus mobile and the muscles always elastic, thus having an engine always steady.

Today, sport is a fundamental component of our existence, a real driving force: the best fuel for the engine our body and our psyche, which allows us to go through all our lives in the name of well-being.

Physical exercise also has an impact on the hormonal level: several studies conducted on leptin, among the hormones involved in the regulation of ingestion and calorie expenditure, including appetite and metabolism, have shown that a constant workout over time can be effective both in containing hunger and in reducing snacks between meals. That is essential to keep the engine of our body always neat and efficient.

Numerous studies conducted on the cerebral effects of movement have also shown the usefulness of exercise in increasing blood flow in different areas of the brain. Aerobic activity, such as cycling or running, promotes an improvement in microcirculation within the grey matter, with a consequent increase in storage capacity and concentration. The beneficial effect on the neurological level would also extend to psychological well-being by counteracting some depressive symptoms.

Moreover, social interaction seems to be a determining factor for our psyche: the levels of anxiety and resistance to stress are just some of the factors taken into account in a large Australian study a few years ago, rich in neuro-psychological analysis carried out on the adult population practicing sport. The results have validated the positive role of physical activity in almost all individuals, both in fighting depressive disease and in preventing neuro-cognitive decay. Training, therefore, begins with the muscles - including the heart - and ends in our brain.

Heart, soul and brain equal engine, design and transmission.

Energy and mindfulness are essential to achieve considerable performance progress. However, most people miss that in addition to being the tools of victory, energy and mindfulness are the real rewards.

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