This year we were lucky enough to spend Thanksgiving in Yosemite. As I walked along the beautiful trails, I was struck by how different it is compared to walking on pavement. Walking on uneven ground entails using different types of muscles that go unused on completely flat ground. Add to this having a duck under branches or hop over logs and one finds that walking the same distance in the woods is quite a bit more labor-intensive than doing so in civilization.
Part of my understanding of the human body comes from considering how the body evolved over the past million years. Modern times are an evolutionary blink in the eye. So our bodies have adapted to a very different world than the one we currently inhabit. Our diet has changed radically. Our movement or lack thereof is very different.
We are now realizing the extent to which our lack of movement is affecting our health. Joints are happiest when they are moving. Health issues from arthritis to heart disease and diabetes have been linked to improper exercise and movement. The tricky part is that even if one works out vigorously several times a week, sitting at a desk for hours each day negates much of that benefit. To be sure, regular exercise is still extremely helpful. But it is important to incorporate movement throughout the day. This can be done surprisingly easily. Setting a timer at your computer so that you stand for a couple minutes every 15 minutes has tremendous benefits. Similarly, getting a standing desk or at least doing some work standing during the course of the day helps reduce some of the negative health effects of immobility.
As a chiropractor, so much of what I do is compensate for the negative effects of modern life. Part of that is keeping joints moving that have become restricted through inactivity. If I can get patients to move more in the course of their day after I have mobilized or loosened up their restricted joints. Their joints will continue to move better and stay healthier. In turn, this will result in less pain and disability as the years go by.