By Peter Appel
What’s the difference between your feet and a bicycle tire?
Obviously, quite many. But what’s interesting here is how they react to wear and tear.
When a bike tire is used, it gradually gets worn out, until it breaks and you have to buy a new one.
If you don’t use it, it stays fresh for many years.
Our feet function totally differently. If you don't use them, they get weaker.
But when you put them to use, they get stronger by the day. The skin grows thicker, the muscles and the ligaments strengthen and so on.
Quite fascinating, right?
This is also a good example of how our body reacts in general.
It adapts according to the circumstances.
When we use it, it usually gets stronger. If we don’t use it, it gets weaker.
But not only that. The body also adapts to the way we use it.
So if you, for example, sit a lot, the body “thinks”:
“Oh, this guy likes sitting. I’ll better make sitting easier for him”.
It’s like your body has its own artificial intelligence!
And so some of your muscles get shorter, others become longer, and you become good at sitting.
You become a sitter with a stiff and stable body adapted for chairs!
But this “specialization” restricts other types of postures and movements. Gradually, you might find it harder to stand or walk.
And after some years maybe your lower back starts hurting.
Let me give you another example:
If you have a work where you repeat the same movements day after day, your body reacts by making you good at these, specific movements.
But maybe not at other ones.
We use to say that repetition is the mother of all learning.
But we can also say repetition is the mother of pain.
Here’s how it works:
Repetitive movements make certain muscles stronger.
Repetition also teaches certain muscle groups to work well together.
But simultaneously, other muscles get weaker and other muscle groups don’t cooperate as well anymore.
They might even start to work against each other.
The result is an unbalance in your body.
Over time, your body gets slightly twisted, maybe without you even noticing it.
But there’s more:
Repeated movement patterns also wear and tear your joints and ligaments, and can create pain in your body.
The tricky thing here is this doesn't happen overnight. It’s a slow process that gradually develops over many years.
So it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your body and understand how its artificial, or biological, intelligence works.
Now, when moving or exercising, you can counter the imbalances and work to strengthen parts of your body that are lagging behind.
You can also avoid overly repeating certain movements to not wear and tear of parts of your body that are at risk.
Your reward will not be in heaven, but in your body for years to come.
So to wrap it up:
To keep your body at it’s best, you need to remember two things:
• Use your body regularly to make it stronger (or at least to keep up our strength).
• Use your body in a versatile way. When exercising, focus on restoring its functional movements and overall strength.
• This way you can keep up its ability to move in a balanced and effortless way for years to come.
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