The Definitive Guide to Walking
Mark’s Daily Apple
by Mark Sisson: How
to Take Care of Your Teeth (Hint: There’s More to It Than Brushing)
At first glance,
this title probably threw you off. I mean, a guide to walking? Are
we moderns really that dysfunctional that we can't even walk correctly?
C'mon, Sisson – you must be out of ideas.
Bear with me,
It may seem
silly to need a definitive guide to walking, but I think we do.
First off, walking is no longer necessary for basic everyday survival.
There are exceptions, of course, but for the most part, the average
person reading this blog can get by just fine without walking more
than a couple hundred yards each day. Whether via buses, trains,
cars, bikes, or delivery services, you're not going to starve or
die of thirst just because you don't or can't walk. I'll argue that
walking is an essential human activity that we ignore to our ultimate
detriment, but millions of people do exactly that and think nothing
of it. Progress? In a wider societal sense, sure. But on an individual
level, people still need to walk.
walking is no longer "necessary," we – the general, inclusive "we,"
not necessarily the Vibram-clad
elite – have forgotten how, when, where, and why to walk. Our
technique is shot, we lack proper scope (a mile sounds daunting),
we don't even think to make time for regular walking for walking's
sake, and walking is seen as the last resort to be employed only
when the tire's busted, the train isn't running, or the bus is late.
Kids don't walk home from school anymore (what, with all the lurking
pedophiles?), people hop in the car to run down to the corner market.
I don't always
like to pull the "Grok
logic" card, because it doesn't always apply to our current
situation. Here, though? Yeah. It makes sense, so pull it I shall.
Walking is our birthright. The weird way we humans do it – obligatorily
upright, hands free to wield tools and weapons, harsh sunlight coming
at us from an angle instead of head on, relatively generous glutes
making the whole production go – gives us a survival advantage.
Well, it gave us enough of one to help us blanket the globe with
funny shaped footprints. And our feet aren't exclusive to homo sapiens:
million-years old homo ergaster footprint preserved in Kenyan
mud reveals that hominids have been using essentially the same feet
and the same stride for hundreds of thousands of years. That means
that before our big complex brains hit the scene, the same feet
you enjoy today were stomping mud and carrying our distant ancestors
around. These feet are millions of years in the making. I'd say
that's a pretty good track record, and I think it'd be a shame if
you didn't utilize them.
walked a lot. Heck, he walked everywhere. Riding animals didn't
appear until after the agricultural revolution, so unless you buy
into the ancient aliens theory, you accept that our paleolithic
ancestors relied on self-ambulation to get around. It seems pretty
plausible to suggest that we're probably well-adapted to walking
on a regular basis. I'd even go so far as to posit that walking
might even be highly beneficial to our health and well-being. Given
our extensive history with the activity, you might even say our
"expect" us to walk.
What does the
evidence show? Surprise, surprise: walking is good for you and enacts
multiple beneficial changes in our bodies. To name a few:
I could go
on but I won't. Suffice it to say, walking is overall a healthy
activity. I don't think there's any disputing that. Besides, droning
on about the physiological benefits of walking detracts from the
real reason I want you to walk so much: it's an enjoyable way to
get out, move, be active, and experience the world.
being our birthright and really healthy and all that jazz, many
of us would be well served with some walking technique tips. Note
that I don't condone the usage of bulky, heel-centric shoes, so
all technique tips given assume that you are barefoot
or in minimalist
shoes with minimal to zero heel drop. Sorry, but that's just
how I roll.
the rest of the article
June 10, 2011
© 2011 Mark's Daily Apple
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