The Importance of Being Comfortably Uncomfortable

Technology is Making You Weak And Sick

I don’t know if you’ve ever broken anything and been in a cast, but it’s not a fun time.  It’s itchy, if it’s on your dominant arm you dread everything about bathroom experiences, and the skin begins to spell oddly like a foot even if it’s your arm.  Like mine.  Three separate times....

The crazy thing was I adapted so quickly!  Honestly, removing the cast was one of the more uncomfortable parts because reintroducing the skin and joints to my environment was a struggle.  Thankfully, after a couple of weeks, the body bounced back and now I have a normal right arm after being broken three times.

This is a great analogy for what is happening in our everyday life.  We like to call them conveniences, but they have hindered our natural movement to the point where they have become casts, both for our physiology and physical health.  I could mention many casts hindering our daily life, but let’s look at some of the most common ones.

Electronic Devices

Smart phones have completely changed the gait of many people. When you walk, there should some degree of arm swing and torso rotation, and when this rotation isn’t present, you lose the function of your obliques.  This is detrimental because, along with the lat, these muscles bridge forces being transferred from the hips to the shoulders.  Therefore, when we lose function of them, it destabilizes the entire spine, including the shoulders and hips.  Additionally, your eyes should be on the horizon instead of looking down at your feet.  For every inch your head is pushed forward over your shoulders, it essentially weighs an additional 10bs in respect to the force needed to hold it up by the neck.  And lastly, the hours a day we spend looking at a screen fixes our eyes in one position resulting in myopia (nearsightedness). 

Shoes and flat surfaces

With every other muscle of the body, if we want to improve the function or strength of it, we stress it via movement or exercise.  But in the case of feet, we throw in the towel and say, “Here is this support so you don’t have to do anything.  Good bye forever!”.  Then we wonder why we have tension in our calves, hamstrings and IT band.  True, if you run on pavement for miles and miles, you want some support, but this is similar to a powerlifter using a weight belt during his max lift.  Yet, if said powerlifter always wore that weight belt, he would never strengthen his core due to his reliance on an outside support, or cast.  Getting the feet out of shoes, on some natural surfaces, and waking up the muscles of the feet are more important for the 33 joints in the foot and ankle than the most comfy shoes and inserts.  Or, you know, you could always go for the Jake “The Berminator” Berman route if you want to play it safe.

"Don't you be talkin' about my momma!" 

"Don't you be talkin' about my momma!" 

Temperature Control

Controlling temperature is a pretty complex reality in the body.  Considering thyroid function, cardiac function, and heat shock proteins are just a part of the thermoregulation system of the body, let’s keep this simple.  Keeping your comfort zone between 68 – 72 degrees year around makes you very vulnerable to illness when you get outside that environment.  Your body and mind need the fluctuating temperatures so it can adapt and become resilient with these changes. For a more in depth talk about this check out my other blog on cold thermogenesis.

The body is an amazing adaptive organism.  As I’ve seen with my broken arm, the body can also get really good at doing nothing, being comfortable, and moving poorly.  Unfortunately, no one will be getting a gold medal for sitting anytime soon, so let’s make a commitment right now to change something about our day that gets us a little uncomfortable, and remove these casts from your life one by one. Your body will thank you for it!

For more information on treatment or online coaching for sustainable exercise and pain relief, visit www.ChiroStrength.com or call the office 931-321-1414 to schedule your FREE consultation with Dr. Dunaway.

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