Monday, October 01, 2007

Born to Run

Several years of inhabiting a body that never quite seems to be able to hold itself together properly has made me acutely aware of one fact: I have no idea how the damn thing is supposed to work. The more I learn about how our bodies really move themselves around, or even hold themselves in one place for that matter, the less I understand. Nothing is at it seems when it comes to the human machine, and there is certainly nothing even remotely like it to be found in the technological world. At least in my experience, I think it is especially easy to lose sight of the beautiful complexity of our anatomical design when most of our time is split between walking around on rock-hard artificial surfaces in running shoes and slouching in our chairs while hunched over a computer keyboard.

Anyway one revelation to me was learning the extent to which the evolution of the human body has been driven by selection for the ability to run long distances. Reading this excellent Nature review a few years back, it was hard not to come to the conclusion that our bodies are in fact designed to function best while running barefoot across natural terrain, and rather unhappy when forced to walk, sit or stand. The need to run is why, amongst many other things, we have such big butt muscles. So there's the link for anyone who's interested in reading more, and for me when I get time to come back and think about this some more.


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