When you engage in any form of exercise you want your body to be as balanced as possible. When your body is in balance it can move evenly and symmetrically. Symmetrical movement ensures that your weight is distributed evenly and makes it less likely that you’ll become injured or plagued by pain. Balanced movement also makes you more efficient when you walk, meaning your energy is used optimally to get you from point A to point B, and you’ll reap the most physical benefits from your efforts.
While you may think your body is already in balance, the truth is that anyone who spends most of their time sitting at a desk or in a car is going to have some physical imbalances. This 15-minute warm-up is designed to put your body in a neutral position by targeting common areas of weakness and tightness that lead to asymmetrical movement. Spending just a few minutes creating openness and mobility in key areas such as the ankles, feet, and hips will allow you to make the most of your walk and enjoy yourself even more while you’re out there.
QUESTION: What's your favorite way to warm up before your walk?
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Apparently walking has become extremely difficult. And, come to find out, we humans aren't designed to do it.
At least, that's what Purdue University is telling us.
In one of the most ridiculous studies ever released, researchers at Purdue have come to the conclusion that we're clumsy and shouldn't be walking on two feet.
And, just so we're clear, this isn't an early April fool's joke.
Actually, quite the opposite. Instead, "science" (I'm using that term very loosely here) has proven that today's younger generation can't, in fact, walk and chew gum at the same time. Essentially, they have morphed into a bunch of stumbling, bumbling newborn colts who can't stand on their own legs, and as fellow humans you and I are getting grouped in with them.
For the study, Purdue followed 94 undergraduate students and asked them to track and report each and every time they tripped, stumbled, and fell. Not surprisingly, 52% of participants fell at some point over the course of the four-week study, with each student averaging one slip or trip per week.
I'm honestly not surprised at the study's numbers. I have zero doubt that these students tripped, slipped, fell, etc. However, what I have a problem with is that Purdue (somehow) came to the conclusion that humans aren't designed to walk.
According to the study, "These findings also highlight that walking on two legs is a challenging task that is mechanically unstable, even for young, healthy adults."
You're telling me that for thousands of years, we've been struggling to stay vertical? You're telling me that when our hunter-and-gatherer ancestors were running after their dinner, they weren't supposed to be doing that? You're telling me that springing into action when my son runs into the street "is a challenging task" that I wasn't designed to do?
Purdue...Purdue...you're embarrassing yourself. Let's all just go home and pretend this study never happened.
Because, I mean, you can't be serious...
After all of your research, you aren't a little curious why only one in three older adults fall each year, yet one in two younger adults falls each week? You chalk the older adults' stability up to them being more cautious, but I have to disagree. I believe it's because they're exponentially more functional than today's youth. I've worked with 88-year-olds who can fold themselves in half to touch their toes. I've also worked with 20-year-olds who could barely touch their thighs. That, Purdue, is a problem. Actually, that's the problem you overlooked when conducting your study. The older generation actually had physical activity throughout their lives. They ran, jumped, climbed, skipped, and crawled. The younger generation? Not so much.
And, about those young adults being "healthy." Don't you realize they're actually the most unhealthy of all generations? Haven't you heard that sitting is the new smoking? Our 20-somethings are in serious trouble. If they aren't currently experiencing pain, disease, and sickness, they will. Their lack of motion isn't just making them clumsy (remember, Purdue, the body is a use-it-or-lose-it mechanism), it's shutting down their metabolic system, which in turn is compromising their immune system, adrenal system, lymphatic system, etc. The higher the metabolic rate, the healthier the individual. The slower the metabolic rate, the more unhealthy the individual. I honestly believe Purdue contradicted themselves by using "mechanically unstable" and "healthy adults" in the same sentence. I don't believe those two things can actually coexist. If you're mechanically unstable, you're unhealthy.
Yes, these kids are being labeled "clumsy," but the situation is much more grave than that. If you'll forgive my bluntness, these kids are dying right before our eyes. Forget being clumsy, this group of kids aren't going to live as long as their parents. That's a scary, scary thought.
Yet, we can't forget that their clumsiness and their higher mortality rate both have the same cause: They've stopped moving.
As I stated earlier, our body is a use-it-or-lose-it mechanism. It's a stimulus-response mechanism. I believe today's youth has stopped placing positive stimuli on their bodies, and their bodies are responding accordingly.
QUESTION: What are your thoughts on the Purdue study?
Anyone who's a music fan is familiar with the old Waylon Jennings song, Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys. It's a classic and one that, whether you're a country music fan or not, you can at least hum along to even if you don't know the lyrics. If you're unfamiliar with Waylon's song, it talks of the hazards of the cowboy life. Moms who are reading this right now, take heed: cowboys "never stay home, and they're always alone. Even with someone they love." They like "smokey old pool rooms" and "girls of the night." Why encourage your boys to adapt that lifestyle? Instead, the song suggests that you make your young boys "be doctors and lawyers, and such." We'd all be much happier if they chose those occupations, and so would your sons, and so would you.
And, for the record, I'm glad that song is stuck in your head now!
Nothing like a little country music to make your day better!
Today I want to give warning to that same group of mothers, many of them first-time moms, who are ecstatic that their little "cowboy" is starting to pull up on the furniture and cruise down the front of the couch. Forget the fact that Junior is only eight months old and hasn't crawled much (or, at all). You applaud him, you video him, and you Skype in Grandma and Grandpa to witness this historic event, reinforcing to little Junior that what he's doing is a great thing!
Except, in my opinion, it's not a great thing at all. It's actually one of the worst things you can let him do. Yet, in all of your new-parent excitement, you can't contain yourself. It's natural to get excited about Junior's first steps. After all, this whole parenting thing is new. It's exciting. But, you need to let Mother Nature do her job. There's a very important, dare I say vital, sequence of events that needs to take place.
You see, when your child starts to transition into the crawling stage, amazing things happen. They begin to develop proper hip function, proper abdominal engagement, and proper shoulder stability. They also begin to learn the incredibly important cross-crawling pattern, one that will benefit them greatly when it's actually time to start walking. As they move into the horizontal load-bearing phase of development, their entire spine is engaged! That's why it's crucial that you do not bypass this stage! By allowing them to crawl, you're giving their body a chance to get the functional stimuli it so desperately needs.
When all three of my boys were in the crawling stage, I made sure they didn't walk too soon. In fact, every time they would try to pull up on something I would place my hand on their back and gently redirect them to the floor! My wife thought it was odd when I first did it, but once I explained that I was actually doing it for their long-term benefit, she was all-in. I knew that if they walked too soon, they might suffer down the road.
So, I have a suggestion: For those of you who have little ones past the crawling stage, or if your little one is dead-set on walking early, get down and crawl with them! It will either get them crawling again, or it will encourage them to continue crawling! After all, their desire to walk comes from seeing you walking. To combat it, get down on their level and make a game out of it! Crawl down the hall, under the dining room table, bear crawl upstairs. Let your imagination take control. You just might find that your function improves and your pain starts to disappear!
In addition, you can also help take your baby through the following e-cises:
Sets - 2
Reps - 10
- Lie your baby on his back with both legs stretched out and arms resting beside his body.
- Simultaneously, raise one arm over his head and bring the opposite leg toward his chest, bending it at the knee as you lift.
- Return the arm and leg to the floor.
- Switch sides, and do 10 reps on each side.
Sets - 2
Reps - 5
- Lie your baby on his stomach with his arms outstretched.
- Place one of your arms under his arms and the other arm under his legs.
- Simultaneously lift your baby's arms/hands and legs/feet up about four inches off the floor.
- Hole for five seconds before returning his arms and legs to the floor.
So, mamas...please don't let your babies walk too soon. Keep them crawling for as long as possible! And, while you're at it, don't let them grow up to be cowboys, either.
If you have questions about your child, don't hesitate to contact us now!
QUESTION: How long did your child crawl before they started walking?
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