Sixth Street Massage Therapy Clinic

Treating back, neck, limb and headache pain

Some Musings On Walking Vs Sitting

What is our natural physical lifestyle?  It’s my contention that if we figure that out, then it’s one of the keys to our health.

One of the pieces of the puzzle to me is walking.  I was taught in anthropology classes I college that we are originally semi-nomadic hunter-gatherers (or gatherer-hunters, as it was actually the women who obtained the most food, compared to the often unsuccessful male hunters!).  Modern-day humans with Paleolithic bodies.  And to me, that means a lot of medium to long-range walking.

Recently, some scientists are even positing that we are built for running!  Not just lions, wolves, and cheetahs, but humans too.

In my therapy training, it was made clear that walking is a whole body experience, from the swing of the legs and arms, the pronation/supination rolling of the feet, the total rotation of the spine, the ribcage – all in a nice, balanced rhythm that is hard-wired to make all parts of our bodies work as a highly integrated team.

It affects our breathing, our cardiovascular systems, and musculature.  Even the lymphatic and immune systems, as it is common knowledge that those who are bedridden are more prone to pneumonia!

In short, all that movement even just from walking is really good for you.

But I digress, as in our therapy, one of the leading contributions to back pain that we see is from sitting too much.  People will sit at the breakfast table, then sit in their cars or the bus to go to work, sit at work all day, sit again on the commute home, and sit at dinner and while watching television or on the Internet before bed!  If this is you, then consider the following:

As I often mention during therapy sessions, captured soldiers according to the Geneva Convention are all allowed an amount of exercise time per day.  Even prisoners in maximum security in regular jails are usually allowed an hour of exercise per day.  My ironic question is, “How many of us treat ourselves in that respect compared to those prisoners?

For further reading, here are some links with information about the effects of sitting on our bodies:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/6187080.stm which tells about the new optimum angle for proper sitting.

http://www.sixwise.com/Newsletters/2009/May/20/Is-Sitting-Bad-for-Your-Health-and-Waistline.htm another article about the effects of sitting

http://www.drmirkin.com/public/ezine050309.html if this doesn’t get you up, nothing will!

So just remember, we are present-day humans with Paleolithic bodies; we still have physical needs, even if we tend to have non-physical lives, and treat yourself at least as well as we treat prisoners!

Ken

PS My family and I actually took a “New Year’s Resolution” walk tonight.  About half an hour all in all, but at least it’s a start!

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This entry was posted on January 5, 2010 by in Articles & Patient Reference and tagged , , , , , , .

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