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Take a Hike
The average American walks (according to a 1990 UCLA study) 1.4 miles
per week. That is a little less than 4 football fields per day! By
some estimates the typical New Yorker walks twice that, this is nothing
to be proud of. As humans we are engineered for adaptation and
movement. Without these two components we would surely die as a
According to my college anthropology book, our primal ancestors walked
8-10 miles per day (an educated guess); and to make things more
fascinating they primarily locomoted on diverse terrain. Believe it or
not, our symmetrical and smooth human built environment may be harder
to walk on (for our joints). Currently, most of us only use one gait
pattern, which induces slow insensitive and dumb movement patterns.
The modern homogeneous environments force our bodies to stress our
anatomical structures in exactly the same fashion with every step.
Over time these repetitive actions cause "pattern overload" which leads
to wear grooves within our joint structures and begins the injury
cycle. In contrast, walking on uneven imperfect terrain may be easier
on your anatomy because it gives these bodily structures a respite from
Our bodies and brains depend on movement for life. Once you stop
moving, your body starts to break down. Like the old adage says; "if
you don't use it, you will lose it." Over time a sedentary
individuals' joints freeze up, their soft tissue becomes tight, their
blood O2 level begin to drop, anatomical dysfunction sets in, and the
longer they go without moving the faster depression sets in. That's
right, depression is a correlate to lack of movement. Sixty years ago,
when the average man burned 500 more calories per day, we had half of
the depression we have today. Think about a situation where an
animals' movement is severely limited, like a caged monkey. Within a
day and sometimes hours, it will illustrate common signs of depression
and lethargy. The human animal responds the same way.
So what can you do? Start with walking more. Take a hike, walk on the
beach, climb a mountain, walk through the rambles (just not at night),
walk in the water etc. If you don't all ready have one, purchase a
pedometer. Studies show that people who wear a pedometer walk 30% more
than they did without one.
Listed below are the guidelines for walking (note: 2000 steps equal a
Pedometer-determined physical activity in healthy adults:
1) Under 5000 steps/day = sedentary/lazy
2) 5,000-7,499 steps/day = low active
3) 7,500-9,999 steps/day = somewhat active
4) 10,000 steps/day = active
5) 12,500 or more steps/day = highly active
Where are you?
On Sat, 25 Feb 2006 21:56:29 -0500, "Steve Freides"
and stop calling me
Yes, he prefers "Shirl with a whirl".
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