On Being Human

While having a free breakfast at an Albuquerque motel, mariner and his wife watched TV. David B. Agus was a guest on the Kelly Ripa Show. Dr. Agus was speaking to a number of healthy habits most of us don’t pursue. One that caught the mariner’s ear was the Doctor’s promotion of walking as a preventative or deterrent for many disorders and discomforts about which we lazy humans have become vulnerable.

His entire solution is we don’t walk enough – not 15 minutes; not a half hour or hour; maybe 2 hours without stopping may do some good. [Health note: don’t start with these times; start very slowly, building steadily but within capacity]

The Doctor’s most salient and undeniable premise is that Homo sapiens, over our species’ 100,000-year evolution beyond four-footed and tree-swinging cousins[1], emerged as an ape that could walk and trot continuously all day without stopping except for a bit of water and a few nuts, plants and berries! The mariner looked into this a bit; it seems the Doctor is main stream among physiologists.

Dr Agus goes on to say that our physiology is designed so precisely for walking that many early-brain functions don’t wake up until we’re walking. This includes hormones, enzymes, and organ and brain functions that work better when we’re walking. Intestines and circulation, lungs, richer blood (like sports doping?), control of mood swings, a shot of dopamine, faster response to sensate awareness, and like everyone in mariner’s family, walking while talking on the phone is virtually required. Mariner conjures that the walking manages the body and brain which makes talking without focus on anything else work better.

The Doctor’s focus on physical disorders included back trouble, curvature of spine and neck, balance, arthritis, pulmonary disorders and physical weakness, headaches, etc. Many of these discomforts are caused by not having strong muscles on the entire back nor a strong diaphragm. The stoop that develops in our upper backs as we sit through our fifties, sixties and beyond is entirely caused by bad posture, that is, not walking enough and sitting way too much. The muscles weaken and don’t support the spine. The mariner has noticed on talk shows that female guests make every effort to sit with an erect back; they look much more attractive. Males tend not to. If we sat as erect as the females whenever we sat, curvature will be less likely – and it may be conceivable that we could be more attractive as well.

Imbalance is caused by weak muscles in the legs. Walking a meaningful length of time each day will improve the rusty link between our brain where body control and balance occur and the smaller, more sensate muscles in the legs. As for the quads and hamstrings, add jumping and sprinting to your walk. Just go out in the field and pretend you are hairier, swifter, and can leap small sticks. Don’t stop until you come back.

More a sailor than a walker, mariner may have to acquire a walking hobby. How about treasure hunting with a magnetometer? Or he could return to one of his childhood pleasures: rock hunting. Perhaps Forest Gump knew a lot more than we thought he did!

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The day before yesterday was Earth Overshoot day. To remind readers, here is information about a foreboding yearly celebration:

Earth Overshoot Day 2016: August 8

As of today, we humans have used as much from nature in 2016 as our planet can renew in a whole year. Nothing will seem to change for many of us from this day to the next, but collectively we are draining Earth’s capacity to provide. Overshoot Day is a red light warning of trouble ahead — and it is flashing five days earlier than it did last year (Aug. 13); eleven days earlier than the year before (Aug.19).

Earth Overshoot Day is devised by Global Footprint Network, an international think tank that coordinates research, develops methodological standards and provides decision-makers with a menu of tools to help the human economy operate within Earth’s ecological limits.

End quote

As the overshoot day retreats earlier into the calendar year, the deficit of resources will be made up by denying others the right to their own individual resources. Those who can will steal from the fair share of others – eating off a starving man’s plate so to speak.

(A line of thought from Guru suggests that eventually capitalism will collapse because sharing of resources will be necessary if we are to remain humane. Otherwise violent and destructive cultures will hasten our extinction)

[1] The Wikipedia timeline begins at 4000 MYA with the appearance of the earliest life-forms and includes 10 MYA for when human ancestors speciate from the ancestors of the gorillas.

The first anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens) appear in Africa some time before 100kYA — they evolved from Homo heidelbergensis.

Ancient Mariner

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