A big part of my reason for writing this blog and starting my own line of travel guides for people with hidden disabilities is my firm belief that getting up and going on travel regularly improves my physical, mental, and emotional health.
Now I’m getting proof:
Note that the post above is not for the faint of attention span. The author’s a scientist–in fact a roboticist from NASA–and he writes like a scientist. Why does he know so much about human ergonomics? Because he’s got to study them in order to create robots that can negotiate varied environments (like the Mars landscape) by themselves. From a certain point of view, he knows more about how people move and don’t move than many medical professionals.
The upshot of his post–doing nothing but sit all day is bad for us. To maintain optimal health, we need to move around in as many different ways as possible, as often as possible.
I know that I sit all the damn time–lack of motion is part and parcel of being in moderate to severe chronic pain. Even when I try, my at-home routines revolve around sitting.
That’s not so when I travel. I still have to sit often when I’m on the road, but my usual patterns change radically. Instead of sitting for hours at a time with my computer in my lap, I tend to move around all day–walking to and around attractions, getting in and out of cars, jostling around on public transit, etc etc. I sit only to rest and to ride when I travel. Otherwise I’m moving around in a variety of ways, getting my “cross training” in every single day. I even stretch more when I travel than at home. Try as I might, I can’t create this kind of active routine at home–it only works on the road.
So, I try to get onto the road as often as I can. Sometimes it hurts more, but there are so many great distractions that it’s easier to forget and ignore the pain. And in fact, the movement of travel decreases the musculoskeletal aspect of my pain significantly. Now I know why!