Building bone strength

When I had gone hiking to Shivaganga with some friends during my college years, I was feeling a bit tired as I slowly made my way to the peak.

On the way I came across a young fellow who was around 10-12 years old, who was running up the hill carrying a pot of water. We saw him run down as well. One of us asked him how he did that. He replied he climbed up and down the hill many times as day and he was used to it.

Considering how tired I was feeling just going up the hill, I was almost a bit jealous of this boy. But now I realize:

  • by climbing up and down that hill on his bare feet he was building stamina and his leg bones
  • and by carrying the pot of along the way, he was building his upper body bones

It is well known that human bones are antifragile: they become stronger if we subject them to small stressors.

It is remarkable how strong and healthy the villagers and manual laborers can be because they walk constantly and lift heavy objects regularly. Also their diets consist of quite simple fare.

It used to be said that diabetes, caused mainly via obesity and lack of exercise, is a rich man’s disease  But it is becoming more prevalent among the urban population, no matter how rich one may be. According to this study, the rate of occurrence in the urban population of India is four times that of the rural. This disease can be prevented by reducing obesity and following the exercise routine of the young man from Shivaganga: just walk and lift heavy objects.

Overall, his was a truly wholesome workout and it is something a city-slicker like me should aspire to.