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Some Lesser Known Facts About The Human Body

“Your body is a temple,” as the old saying goes. And if that is so, then it is a temple shrouded in mystery. As much as we aspire to know ourselves and connect with something deeper, it seems the actual workings of the physical body continue to confound and challenge us.

Concerning our ‘physical temple’, do we truly understand ourselves? The fact that entire industries have been developed on the subjects of diet and exercise regimes is perhaps a testament that, despite all of our technological achievements and our quest for understanding and enlightenment, the perfect mastery of our own physical bodies continues to elude us.

Rather than being a source of frustration, perhaps that veiled mystery should be seen as a joy and a challenge to us to continue to seek a greater understanding.

Here are some slightly more unusual facts about the human body to consider, together with some simple hints to improve the mind-body connection.

The human skeleton replaces itself every 10 years

As much as we may think that things remain a constant, the fact is that the physical body is in a constant state of flux and continually regenerating and reinventing itself. In fact, the entire human skeleton replaces itself entirely every 10 years. Of course, with age, this regeneration slows, and there is natural attrition as bones become thinner and potentially more brittle.

It is interesting to note that some very simple and natural things can promote optimal bone health. For example, natural sunlight stimulates the body to produce a chemical called Serotonin, which most people will know is associated with feelings of happiness and contentment. However, a lesser-known benefit of sunlight is that it optimizes bone growth and development.

Another simple factor contributes greatly to skeletal health and flexibility – in a word: “Movement”. The simple act of movement greatly benefits skeletal longevity and flexibility. So whether it be walking, low-level flexing, or higher-level activity like assisted stretching designed by Stretch Affect, do not discount the benefit of movement.

Let’s talk about feet

If the human skeleton is our supporting framework, then it is our feet that ground us. It is interesting to note that the feet contain a quarter of the bones of the entire body. Coupled with the fact that the feet also house 33 separate joints and over 100 small muscles and ligaments, perhaps that makes them worthy of some closer attention.

The feet and ankles carry a great deal of load and stress over a day. Whether walking or engaging in higher impact activities like jogging or running, our feet are absorbing and dissipating fairly high impact and shock loads, often over extended periods. As a result, the feet are under almost constant stress, even for those with a more sedentary lifestyle.

What may not be known is that our feet are also playing a major role in maintaining balance. Given the sheer volume of joints and muscles below the ankle, any stiffness or malady can result in problems with balance and posture.

Giving greater consideration to better quality and ‘task specific’ footwear (such as cross trainers and hiking boots) should perhaps have a higher place on our list of priorities.

The connection between posture and mental health

It is perhaps common knowledge that our mental state very often dictates our physical posture. For example, negative factors like depression and anxiety can result in a tendency to slump or a condition of ‘shoulder droop’. However, positivity and inner satisfaction naturally have the opposite effect on posture – we stand with chest out and shoulders high.

This phenomenon is known to most people; however, research suggests that the connection between mental state and physical posture may work the other way. That is, our natural posture can affect our state of mental health.

Studies have shown that people with consistently poor body posture actually developed a poorer mental state over time. Specifically, people who sat in a slumped body posture began developing symptoms of sadness and a sense of gloominess.

When pondering the connection between body posture and mental state, it really is a case of “What came first, the chicken or the egg?”

The physical body emits a glow

When the observation is made that a person has a glow about them, it is actually truer than many may realize. This is because the human body does, in fact, emit visible light. Granted, this light emission is succinct, and in fact, it is approximately 1,000 times in magnitude less than the human eye can recognize, but the fact remains that we are quite literally beings of light.

Studies have actually shown that this natural light emission fluctuates in intensity throughout the day and follows the natural rhythms of day and night – the Circadian rhythm.

Perhaps there is a lot to be said for living in harmony with the natural movement of the Sun and the natural world around us.

Despite our higher learning and achievements and our quest for understanding, the intricate workings of the physical body and its inter-relationship with our mental and spiritual wellbeing remains something of a veiled mystery. Yet, it is a mystery worth contemplating and celebrating! Shine on.

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