translated from Spanish: How sedentary lifestyle changed our feet and what we can do to reverse the damage

For nearly two million years humans Evolucio Namos in close sync with our environment. But 250 years ago the Industrial revolution came and changed everything.
While the innovation and technology that it brought had many benefits for humanity, there was a huge physical cost to this progress.
Spending many hours in the open air, performing manual tasks, our jobs moved inside and required spending most of the day sitting or standing, either in a factory, an office or driving a vehicle.
This has had a huge impact on our bodies, and one of the first affected were our feet.
Kent University Professor Vybarr Cregan-Reid, author of the books “Footnotes” (feet of page) and “Primate Change” (change primate), asked on this topic for the series “Changing worlds, changing bodies”, of the radio program of the BBC the Compass.
According to Cregan-Reid, there is more and more scientific evidence that feet are key in human evolution.
But there is little information about how our ancestors developed, because there are very few foot and hand fossils.
Since they are in the extremities, it is common that, time after death, separate from the rest of the skeleton or be separated by predators.
The oldest traces revealed something fascinating. That’s why finding old footprints is so important to paleontologists.
One of the oldest traces of human footprints that were found dates back a million and a half years ago, and was found in Kenya.
The footprint helped determine something fascinating: that the feet of our ancestors remained practically unchanged, while the rest of their bodies went through great modifications.
This suggests that for a long time our feet were perfectly suited to our lifestyle.
As our brains enlarged, our teeth bridgeded and our bones lengthened, the evolutionary process did not affect the feet too much.
However, this changed dramatically in the last three centuries, when our feet crossed unprecedented changes: they mutated, because of what we do-and we stopped doing-with them.
Weak, big and flat
Today our feet are weaker, bigger and more flat. And this is bad news not only for the health of our feet but that of our whole body.
The loss of efficiency of our feet is reflected in a striking fact: almost 80% of people who practice the Running (They run in a recreational way) suffer some type of injury every year.
Most people who go out for a run suffer injuries to their feet. It was this statistic that first led Cregan-Reid to be interested in our lower extremities.
She decided to consult with Hannah Rice, a sports and health expert at Exeter University, who specializes in understanding how and why we hurt our feet so much.
According to Rice, the wounds are not because the runners demand more than the feet can do.
“Tens of thousands of years ago people used (feet) much more than now so it’s not a overuse problem. Perhaps the problem is that we are not using them enough to accustom them to much use, “he explained.
Rice gave as an example the “classic” racer, who practises that sport three or four times a week and then spends all the rest of his time sitting, either at his office desk or on the couch in his home.
I mean, what really hurts us is not running, but what we do when we’re not running.
And the experts have been able to determine when the problem began: with the Industrial Revolution and the beginning of the most sedentary lifestyle.
From then on, our feet began to adapt to our new reality of not moving.
Our feet got used to doing nothing. Rice sums it up with the famous phrase: “Use it or lose it“(Use it or lose it).
Hard surfaces and flat soles
Other features of modern life further worsened the panorama.
For example, the hard and flat surfaces that we usually walk on a daily basis. Or the flat-soled footwear that we usually use to go through those hard floors.
These do not allow the nearly one hundred muscles and tendons we have on each foot to move as they used to when life was less comfortable, jobs required movement and people were mobilizing on foot.
The result is that the muscles weakened, making our feet more fragile. It also lost the protective layer of calluses that used to have our ancestors who spent a long time barefoot.
But it was not until the years 70, when running became fashionable, which began to reveal the real dimension of the state of our feet, after about two hundred years of sedentariness.
The Madness by the Running He added a new problem: He started the fashion of wearing slippers as a daily dress.
You may think that this should be good news, as many slippers, especially today, are touted for their supposed foot benefits.
Sports shoes are ruining our feet. Since we started our love affair with the slippers, however, the incidence of flat footing has increased in many parts of the world, especially in the West.
How athletic footwear became a fashion item that generates billions of dollars a year
What is the secret of the Company of the “ugly” Skechers slippers, whose value soared more than that of Adidas and Nike
Having flat feet is a problem because the bow gives stability to the foot. It is also essential to be able to walk, but especially to be able to run.
“When you run, the arch of the foot works like a spring and, in fact, is one of the most powerful springs in the body,” explains the Paleontropólogo of Harvard University Dan Lieberman.
Having flat feet can also affect the knees and hips.
As if all these challenges were not enough for our poor feet, in recent years the global obesity epidemic has been added which, for obvious reasons, affects our southernmost members.
What can we do
One of the simplest things (and cheap!) we can do to improve the health of our feet is to walk. Ideally, barefoot.
According to Rice, a study conducted in children in India found that those who wore shoes and sandals had fewer flat feet.
Vybarr Cregan-Reid thinks we should “rediscover our feet to learn to use them again.”
Walking barefoot is good for your baby, and also for you! Even modifying small habits, like taking off your shoes inside the house and trying to move more, can help.
The expert claims that, whatever you do, the key is to take calmly.
“Discovering the forgotten muscles of the feet can be painful at first, but will eventually be rewarding,” he promises.
You can listen to the original radio program of The Compass (in Englishés Here

Original source in Spanish

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