Dancing with Gravity

Would you like a life that’s physically easy and embodies good health? Who wouldn’t? Fortunately, it’s readily available. The strategy is: work with gravity, not against it. Position body parts close to your centerline.

Gravity pulls you downward. It’s a physical law. It’s relentless; it works 24-hours-per-day, 365-days-per-year. Gravity also stands you up and lets you walk. There’s an ongoing equilibrium between you and gravity - like a dance contest that lasts a lifetime.

If gravity wins, your body spirals and twists downward. Pain is only one outcome. Walking becomes difficult and dis-jointed. Feeling tired is routine. Internal organs rebel. With age, people become shorter, which is not good. In a 4000-subject-20-year study, postural deviations and height loss showed a 64% higher risk of developing coronary heart disease.

Use gravity correctly, and you’ll experience a feeling of “lift”. Lift is hard to put into words, but it’s worth the effort to feel it. Health continues into later years. Pain becomes something that other people talk about. You get to play with your grandchildren. Your dog enjoys the long walks.

Personifying the dance contest, imagine 3 judges:

1. Linearity measures adherence to your gravity centerline. When body segments are distributed close to the centerline, everything is easier. Consider the ice skater who spins faster with arms and legs positioned inward, and spins slower by extending outward.

Picture a person with his/her head tilted forward. The head weighs roughly the same as a bowling ball. This person tires easily. Premature entry to a nursing home is foreshadowed.

2. Full muscular participation quantifies how well you distribute your workload to all the muscles. A low score means over-using a few muscles. The body has nominally 650 muscles, yet most people use only 50.

Consider a thin wiry person who’s strong as an ox. No bulky muscles show. That extraordinary strength comes from the additive contribution of all 650 muscles. Each muscle contributes a little force, and the forces combine.

3. Strength from the bones watches the deep short muscle. These are easy to forget, but you can re-acquaint yourself. Some are so short that they only span adjacent vertebrae.

Proper use of gravity involves continuous, small, subtle adjustments. Trying to handle gravity with the large external muscles alone, won’t work. It’s too jerky.

When you next view a mime standing still, he’s not actually still. He/she is making small subtle adjustments that are hard to see. The mime is dancing well with gravity.


Jack Menear