I recently listened to the this episode of ‘The Paleo Solution’, a fine show taking me into the geeky topics about health that I enjoy. Topics like proper posture and understanding the different processes around us that culturally we’ve allowed ourselves to be distant from, like toilet squatting or paleo eating. Nutrition has become a hobby of mine, accelerated now, having gone paleo back in December 2013.
The guest was Katy Bowman (her blog), I’ve never heard of her before, but will start following her online and grab a copy of her book when it's released. She’s a biomechanist, somebody ‘… who studies Newtonian physics like pressures and gravities and stuff like that as applied to biological systems’.
In practical terms, a biomechanist will assess a person’s form and posture in order to correct a bodily imbalance or to improve performance in a particular athletic exercise.
With that said, Robb and Katy covered a number of topics together, the hour flew by (it usually does when you listen on x1.5 speed, but that's beside the point) where they touched on:
- Using our bodies to our advantage. Moving properly, maximising our bodies abilities and therefore potential, when most of us don’t in any way, this later impacts our life because our bodies adapt to how we live. Illustrating the processes that occur with say sitting down all day, how the body adapts to sitting down and also how it’s wrong to assume our bodies will be okay once we walk around in a normal manner, I guess to stretch. The 8 hours of sitting at work out weigh the 2 hours of standing, most of which is spent in a densely populated setting like commuting.
Here is a great quote from the show:
Well yeah it [making reference to muscle tissue] actually goes through a process called sarcomere lysis where there’s no point in maintaining muscle mass that’s used to achieve a range of motion that you never go through. So you lose it. So now your metabolism is lower, your joint range of motion is slower. You have adapted and I think the fallacy is that we keep using the term adaptation to imply improvement. But you’ve – but adaptation is really adjusting the tissues in your body so that what you do most frequently is easier on you in the short term. It doesn’t really imply that you’ve become better in the long term.
- The recent court case with Vibrum where they were in a class action lawsuit because the claims they made weren’t true. The Vibram links to the previous discussion about posture and proper movement and how Vibrams have offered something that can be misleading if not oversimplified when it comes to advertising their shoes.
The podcast then switches into what Katy calls ‘Free time things’. Things we can do without it impacting on on that great limiter we call time.
- Affective footwear as they make a massive difference. (I love the suggestion of eliminating heels. They are fucking nasty things for women to wear and yet sadly it’s kind of enforced in the form of peer pressure and want to override the fact they will fuck up one’s feet for life).
- Sitting on the floor. I have been thinking of ditching the sofa.
While a lot of these concepts come across as different and to use their words, ‘counter culture’, (it is) there is a lot to take from this podcast about how there are many mechanisms in life we still don’t know about and if we can partake in as many of them as we can (the ones we do know about), we can live better, healthier lives.
The issue of squatting is without humour brought up again and I’m glad, so many people don’t realise the benefits of just pooping in a different way simply because they use what they already have grown up with.
One aspect of the discussion that interested me was how we don’t age at the same rate, I don’t mean you vs me, I mean me vs me or you vs you. Our bodies age at different rates depending on how we utilise those body parts. Fascinating and slightly worrying at the same time.
Anyway, you have to check it out, it never gets over-the-top sciencey, they keep it all in layman's terms for everybodies benefit. Download it now here.
NOTE - This is an edited and updated version of a blog post from my old wordpress website.