Do intellectual and cultural evolution contribute to physical devolution?
As technology moves forward, the physical health of the populace moves backward. Watch the end of the animated movie Wall-E or Google the phrase “text neck” for further elaboration.
As our way of life becomes more domesticated, so does our physique. No longer do we hunt for our food and rely on our physical capacity for survival. Over the past 10,000 years we have become domesticated, and in the last 200 years this process has accelerated dramatically. We sit for hours during work, entertainment, and transportation; we fixate on objects immediately in front of us and less on our general surroundings. This began with the prevalence of the printed word and has leapt forward with every technological advance. Though on the surface there has been adaptation to this lifestyle, the biologically-mediated evolution of our bodies isn’t able to match the pace of environmental changes perpetuated by our cultural evolution.
When seated at a desk, or leaning forward over a phone, the spine is placed in a position that is unnatural. Repeated excessively, this behavior will, in the long term, make permanent changes in your skeleton. The results are hunched backs,chronic pain and diagnosis such as herniated disks, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, thoracic outlet syndrome, Raynaud’s Disease and in some extreme cases, acute injury or serious joint degradation that require surgical replacement. Recent research also shows that prolonged sitting is related to early mortality even in “fit” populations.
Through awareness and intentional effort, it is possible to adopt strategies that will counter this domesticating influence. An awareness of accurate movement and strategies for posture maintenance can preserve function and increase comfort. We refer to this maintenance as kinetic hygiene.
Like oral hygiene, kinetic hygiene consists of daily habits that counter negative influences. Brushing your teeth removes deposits that create plaque, Flossing disrupts bacterial colonies and stimulates callous in the tissues; in the long run it prevents cavities, tooth loss, and gum disease. Performing the F5 will reduce daily strain on muscles and joints. In the long run, this will decrease wear and tear, reduce chronic pain, and lower the instance of surgery.
The Adult Dental Health Survey revealed that in 1968, 79% of people ages 65-74 had no natural teeth. By 1998 this number dropped to 36% as a result of modern oral hygiene practice becoming common knowledge. To draw a parallel to kinetic hygiene: In 2015, there are 7 million people living with an artificial knee or hip. According to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, there are 100 million Americans suffering from chronic pain. How many of these could be avoided via hygienic kinetic training?
Better kinetic hygiene can provide tremendous relief to those currently suffering, and reduce these numbers in upcoming generations. It could greatly reduce these surgeries and the suffering caused by elusive musculo-skeletal “syndromes” that are the scourge of our time.
Let’s revisit that number. 100 million people are affected by chronic pain. That number is greater than the combined amount of people who suffer from diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
Read more on why this is an epidemic:
It is important to highlight the aesthetic benefits from maintaining kinetic hygiene; sparkly white teeth and fresh breath are main selling points of oral hygiene. Consider how posture effects your first impression of someone. The best way to maintain kinetic hygiene is through form-focused, accurate movements done daily to counteract the constant impact of modern environmental factors. Even for those that lie in bed all day and avoid the world all together, kinetic hygiene is necessary. Even prolonged inactivity will have a very real effect your skeleton.
Dynamic Balance has designed five therapeutic movements to address this need for kinetic hygiene. There is a progression within the system with simple versions of each movement, and following advancements depending on a person’s physical capacity. For the majority of the population, the Foundation Five is the perfect starting point.
Only time will tell the answers to the evolutionary question, but the reality is that we can improve the quality of people’s lives in the here-and-now, and for generations to come, with proper societal adoption of kinetic hygiene.