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How Your Structure Ages You – Part II

- skin aging -To read the previous article in this series, go to You Are Only as Young as Your Structure

Your gait speed and variability predicts mortality.[1] As you slump over and walk slower, you shorten your life, or at least the quality of it. The progressive structural decline sets up many of these issues:

  • slumped stance and height loss
  • tendency to scoliosis and kyphosis (curving of the spine)
  • belly extruding out
  • rotation in legs and flatter feet
  • plantar fasciitis and hammer toes
  • turning non-posture muscles into posture-holding muscles with tightening and shortening of the muscles
  • loss of muscle tone
  • fascial dehydrations and contraction (fascia holds the body together and gives skin its shape) fascia’s primary protein, collagen, is injected into sagging skin in attempts to bring back youth
  • compression and mis-alignment of joints from unintended strain leads to: hip replacements, disc bulging, and osteoarthritis

For most of us, it’s the little things that add up to age our structure, starting with sitting all day. “Studies have shown long periods of sitting is bad for the elderly, drastically increases your risk of cancer, and now new research confirms that being a couch potato at work is hazardous to your heart’s health.”[2] Then there is looking down at a screen for hours a day, which locks your head forward with no side movement. Your body is not different from our ancestors’ bodies. Our ancestors were always moving and looking in all directions. Rather than being like a cat that can move in any direction at any moment, we adapt by developing a protective posture. We become frozen prey.

Your footwear, often designed to support you, causes your foot structure to become lazy and weak. This adds to adopting an unnatural stride. Kids just move; as adults we let our environment determine how we should move. Ergonomics is helping us get out of the behavior set of conforming to our furniture, but we still don’t move enough.

All this sets your tight body up for more falls and the need for more surgeries on your hips, knees, etc. With half of all hip surgeries leading to death, you may do best to avoid more than falling—avoid being brittle. Every client I’ve had who had a hip replacement admitted that his or her pelvis was tight for decades. There is no drug that will release the tension that distorts your structure. Next week we will discuss what will.

Owen Marcus, MA Certified Advanced Rolfer, – call if you have questions: 265.8440.

[1] “Predicting Impending Death: Inconsistency in Speed Is a Selective and Early Marker.” Accessed December 9, 2014.

[2] “Sitting At Your Desk Is Killing You. Here’s What It Costs to Stop the Destruction |” Accessed December 8, 2014.

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