Friday, January 14, 2011

Take Your Genes For a Walk


More great news under the heading, “Healthy Activity Research.”

You can blame your body on your genes.  Or you can move beyond your genes… with physical activity.
British research published last week in PLoS Medicine tracked the physical activity of over 20,000 individuals, and also studied and scored each subject on a dozen genetic variants associated with a likelihood of obesity.  The researchers concluded activity can reduce the genetic risks toward obesity by 40%.

WOW!  Now imagine if you add the positive impact of clean eating to the physical activity… oh my, all power you have to do all this good for yourself!

The researchers also commented that a brisk 30 minute walk or bicycle ride is an appropriate level of daily activity to enjoy these benefits.  Notice the frequency there, it says DAILY.  So, as they say across the pond, get up off your bum and get your body moving to help avoid all the health risks associated with obesity.

Ready to get that good walk in?  Perhaps you’ve been fortunate enough to be able to walk for almost your whole entire life.  So this shouldn’t be a problem, right?  Well… you may need to re-learn a healthy way to walk.

Watching people walk around Forsyth Park and Daffin Park and along Tybee Beach does MY heart a ton of good, I tell you.  It just makes me smile.  Unless you are the person who is staring down at your toes the whole time, with your head dropped forward as if you’re about to fall asleep with your chin on you chest.  Let’s see some good posture out there, people!  My clients hear this directive all the time, “Head-Up-Chest-Up!”

Ever try to walk with a book balanced on top of your head?  You are supposed to balance your skull pretty directly on top of your neck.  When it’s hanging forward, the muscles along the back of your neck and the top of your back have to work really hard to keep your head from toppling clear off the front of your body.

That poor walking posture has serious consequences for your spinal health, from the top of your neck to the very bottom of your tailbone… and can have a negative ripple effect on the comfort and performance of your shoulders, hips, knees and feet.

Try this on your own… stand with your back to a wall, with your heels planted about six inches away from the wall.  Now lean your tailbone, shoulderblades, and back of your head against the wall, leaving your feet out where they started and your knees unlocked.  There should be a little space between the back of your waist and the wall, and also the back of your neck and the wall.  This is referred to as neutral spinal alignment.  If any part of your back, neck or shoulders hurt getting into that position, get to a physical therapist and learn how to stretch, stabilize, and strengthen the muscles supporting your spine to maintain your proper posture.  If it doesn’t hurt, practice walking around feeling as though you are standing with your back against a wall in this neutral alignment.

Stand tall, walk tall, walk well, feel well, and be better!

No comments:

Post a Comment