Walking is almost as essential for human health as drinking water and eating food is. The human body is designed to walk and walking helps maintain our physical, mental, and emotional health. Every movement a baby makes from birth to 1-year-old is to help prepare for walking. Walking is essential to for brain development, immune response, digestion, and circulation.
Walking has been shown to lift our mood, boost creativity, increase metabolism, improve sleep, boost brain power, decrease pain, and decrease stress. Walking, like other exercise, can add up to seven years to our life and is considered a miracle drug because it helps prevent cancer, diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, and many other problems.
In this blog post I'm going to talk about the components of the successful exercise program. When I talk about successful, I'm not talking about helping you lose 15 pounds over a month or two, or helping you drop 2 dress sizes, or getting you in shape for your wedding.
Successful to me is a lot less about short term visual goals and a lot more about long term health and wellness. If you're overweight, losing 15 pounds is great, but if you don't keep the weight off for good, it had little to no real benefit to your life.
Successful exercise programs help you:
This month I am going to highlight the Bear Crawl. The Bear Crawl is an amazing e-cise that almost everyone can do, but many people do it incorrectly.
When done correctly, the Bear Crawl has many benefits and can improve movement, posture, and performance. When done incorrectly, the Bear Crawl can reinforce bad movement patterns, poor posture, and cause pain and injury.
Nature designed a beautiful and fool-proof way for newborn infants to develop into strong and capable children and then adults. A newborn human baby goes from completely helpless to walking in the first year of life because of this beautiful process. During the first year of life, this process involves 10 sequential yet overlapping phases of physical development which I discussed here. When this process happens as nature intended it, we get healthy, strong, and happy toddlers.
There are however 10 things that can hijack your baby's physical development which can mean your baby is not as healthy, happy, or strong as they could be. When this development is hijacked, your child might be more susceptible to injury, obesity, and chronic pain throughout life.
We've all heard the saying "move it or lose it" but what do you do with that information and why is it the key to lifelong health?
Many people think move it or lose it means exercise regularly to maintain fitness. And while that is true, our health would benefit if we look at it much more closely. Our body is very specific and particular in how it responds to our environment. The human body is a stimulus response organism. That means your body responds to each and every stimulus it is exposed to. If we want to maintain our health and function, we need to move each and every part of our body through different and varied stimulus on a regular basis in order to maintain that function or not lose it.
To maintain ankle function we might want to take our ankle through the many different motions and demands it is designed to do. This could look like:
Our feet are our connection to the earth and when they are not functioning well it has a negative impact throughout our body. I am going to explain how Supine Foot Circles and Point Flexes helps to restore normal foot function and links that together with normal knee and hip function.
The Downward Dog is one of the oldest, most known, and most practiced yoga poses and for good reason. The Downward Dog when done correctly has many positive effects on posture and function.
The Downward Dog addresses two of the most common imbalances people have: hip disparities and sitting induced chronic flexion.
Osteoarthritis is commonly believed, by doctors and the general population, to be a disease of aging and obesity. Knee osteoarthritis (OA) can be found in about 1/3 of all adults over 60 years old in the United States. The prevalence of osteoarthritis has doubled in just the last 50 years.
This is how most doctors have thought about OA up until today:
There have been studies however that are starting to disprove this theory. A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences throws the theories of aging and obesity causing knee OA out the window.
One very important key to health is variety. Variety of movement. Variety of activities. Variety of exercise. Variety of stimulus. It is often said, humans are creatures of habit. Why? Because doing many, if not most, of our daily activities unconsciously saves us time and mental energy. Evolutionarily this saving of time and energy allowed us to invent tools, control fire, and eventually invent cars, computers, the internet, and the new iPhone X.
Habit has great benefits, but also some downsides. Being creatures of habit means as we do the same things each day, we tend to move the same each day. We get out of bed the same way, brush our teeth the same way, our movements in the shower are the same every day, we park in the same place each day, walk the same route daily, do the same exercises at the gym, etc. This pattern of habit creates many imbalances in our body that can lead to injury and pain. Variety breaks this cycle and saves us from injury and pain.
About Matt Whitehead
I'm an Egoscue University certified Postural Alignment Specialist (PAS) and Advanced Exercise Therapist (AET), certified personal trainer, PatchFitness performer, FiveFingers wearer, trail runner, cyclist, dad, music lover, environmentalist, hiker, and wanna-be slam dunk champion. I will be providing you with the latest posture exercises to help you live, play, and be pain free.