A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about Craig Weller's excellent article about full-range squatting. His conclusion in the article was that most of us can't squat full-range (or "third world" as he calls it) because we sit down so much that we lose that range of motion. He also points out how most children easily squat all the way down. After all, how easy is it to get a child to sit down for any length of time? That may not be a bad thing after all.
Obviously, our modern habits have robbed us of much of our physical abilities. As I've been walking around at work lately, I notice how much our inactivity can cost strength in other body parts. The most obvious example was in my ankles (I also blogged about this). I noticed it at the beginning of the summer when I was working at a landfill. One thing about landfills is that they are hilly. If you ever go to one, you'll notice that you spend a hefty chunk of time going up and down hills all day. Obviously, my calf size and strength improved.
Then I left that job, spent some time on flat ground, and now I'm at a job working on cleaning an above-ground tank. I'm constantly going up and down stairs. I again notice more defined calves. Think about something: How often do people avoid any sort incline like it was a plague? How many of us complain about calf development?
Obviously, exercise can help with this problem but I think that sort of misses the bigger picture. We can only exercise so much per day. I think that we need to eschew some of the things that make life easier for the sake of keeping our bodies more fit. Our bodies run contrary to machines because they need to move in order to stay in top order. So, the more movement that we can sneak into our daily lives, the better off that we'll be. If we could make an effort to squat down low to pick something up then we might find that our backs don't hurt nearly as often. Maybe we wouldn't be so winded and sore walking up a hill if we quit using elevators so damn much. There's nothing wrong and a lot right about doing some things in a more primative manner.