A dancing animal.
December 2, 2010 § 4 Comments
A desk bound chemical engineer, my Dad was suffering from “Weaver’s Bottom,” a painful and embarrassing condition was named for workers who sat for hours on a hard bench tossing a shuttle back and forth.
The name of the condition is archaic, but we workers, we possessors of bodies, still injure ourselves with repetition and stillness.
My work-related diagnosis is carpal tunnel syndrome. The keyboard is stealing my manual dexterity, locking the pinky on my right hand.
To avoid typing I sometimes use voice recognition software, but it is hard to have confidence in a typist who begins letters to my editor, Vicky, with, “Dear Sticky,” and notes to my agent with, “Hijack.”
I have tried chiropractic, surgery, cortisone shots, an ergonomic keyboard. I’ve shoved my aching hands into a bowl of uncooked rice heated in the microwave. These solutions soothe, or mitigate, but none can cure an injury I insist on repeating daily.
Chances are that you too are feeling the effects of a sedentary job.
For our closest coworker, the computer, being still is not a problem. Although almost smart enough to be considered a sentient life form, our computers live locked inside hard-shell bodies, unable to even imagine motion. While we, who are gifted with motion, conform to the limitations of that machine the way we would if visiting a sick relative in the hospital.
After keeping our motionless computers company for hours we rise from our chairs sore and dull. To make up for our abusive stillness we take our bodies to the gym, as if taking a dog for a walk.
Machines are morphing fast. Like the hand-loom, the keyboard will become obsolete, my injury as archaic as Weaver’s Bottom.
But what of the human body, a machine which relies on the slow wisdom of evolution to change? It could take millennia to replace its need for random motion with a biology of stillness.
The bodies we inhabit won’t live to see the day.
So how do we satisfy the demands of the body for motion? According to The Journal of the American Medical Association, the body requires 150 minutes of exercise a week.
You can clock those minutes and count reps—or you can let the dancing animal off its short leash. Instead of treating your body like one more machine to be operated by a series of commands from your brain, why not trust your body to lead?
Stand in the sunlight. Spread your arms. Feel the music.
Your body will tell you what it wants to do next.