I have decided to post this mostly unknown work By Dr. A B Kuhn as it has worked well for me in my daily walks with my dog. I did feel some odds pains in the beginning but now after 6 weeks, I feel just fine and very relaxed when roaming the streets, footpaths and city parks. If you feel of well-being and in harmony, it is the best way to meditate and learn your state in natural physics. Good health is a natural Law of physics and holds no pretences as does the falsity of morality.
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By Alvin B. Kuhn. 
(Many diseases have been prevented and others cured by walking.)
So many and so undoubted are the benefits of walking that, as a form of exercise, it has won a secure and prominent place in all advanced systems of health culture. The physiologists have long declared it to be “the best of all exercises,” and certainly it would be difficult to name another mode of bodily exercise that, for the maintenance and promotion of normal health, could seriously dispute its right to such high praise. But its advantages have been so well set forth in various opportune places in these volumes that an extended enumeration of them is not called for here. I have thought, however, that physical culturists might be interested in two or three phases of the subject that were brought to my notice during some recent observations of my own manner of walking—observations that grew out of an attempt to remedy a long-standing physical imperfection.
As a result mainly of some eight years’ service at the typewriter, I had contracted a lesion of the spinal vertebræ between the shoulders, that always grew painful during an extended walk. The circulation to the arms was then so restricted that, if the weather were at all cold, my fingers would in a very short time become icy and almost powerless. The lesion failed to mend under one of two methods of treatment, and my delight in pedestrianism, formerly quite keen, gave place to a growing dread of its invariable effects. But some time ago I began to study closely my gait and carriage, arguing that there must be some close connection, probably of cause and effect, between these and the attendant pain. It was during this course of scrutiny and experimentation that the facts about which I wish to speak were brought to notice.
The original milk-truck
Formerly, whenever I chanced to think of it while walking, I had endeavoured to carry my body erect. But on one occasion, happening to catch sight of my shadow while I was supposedly walking erect, I was surprised to note how stooped my posture still was. The conclusion forcibly pressed itself upon me, that the undue strain brought to bear upon the spinal muscles during a walk—the cause of the pain—must be attributable to an unnatural, unbalanced poise of the head, shoulders and upper back. It seemed logical to my mind that, as I did not in walking actively use the muscles lying between the shoulders, there was no just reason why they should tire, unless subjected to some strain in maintaining an unbalanced posture. And with this verdict in mind, I turned again to scrutinize myself and was a second time surprised and shocked to note how under a tension I was carrying myself. I found that unwittingly, in the effort to keep my shoulders in proper position, I had been holding them strenuously back and up, instead of back and down, that my head had likewise been set in a rigid position which constantly involved no slight strain upon the muscles of the neck and shoulders, and that in reality I had not thrown any part of my upper body back far enough to enable it to rest its weight upon the pelvis or lower spine in perfect equilibrium. The result was that I had not only been expending the necessary amount of energy in mere propulsion, but was subjecting other whole sets of muscles that ought to have been relaxed and at rest to a severe energy-draining process.
Having found the trouble, I proceeded to remedy it. On my next walk, I first straightened myself to a posture that was erect, and then relaxed all those shoulder, neck and back muscles that I had formerly held so tense, adjusting my carriage until, as nearly as was possible after so long an abnormality, my whole upper frame sat restfully upon its natural basis. The grateful sense of ease and restfulness which ensued abundantly corroborated my judgment as to the former incorrectness of my attitude, and was in itself the indication and proof that my present one was right. It required almost ceaseless attention to keep from slipping back into the previous distortions; but constant practice has made it even more habitual and easy. The body, long inured to wrong customs, does not so readily reassert its full native grace.
I paid some attention likewise to my stride, and found both that the speed could be increased and a certain rhythmic swing, that lent a zest to the exercise, imparted to the gait, by a slight alternate turning of the body from side to side at the hips, in such a way that at each step the pivot from which the leg swung as it reached forward would itself be advanced an inch or two, thus adding to the length of the step without entailing increased exertion. In fact, when in the swing of this movement, the legs seemed almost to stride along without any voluntary propulsion whatever, by a kind of harmonious automatism, and felt capable of an indefinite performance.
But I was yet to discover a most startling fact—startling both because, after I had become familiar with it, it seemed so natural and inevitable, and because in common with the rest of the world, I had missed it for so long. It transpired when I had thrown back my head and shoulders into their natural restful poise and completely relaxed all their muscles. Keeping my chin well down and in, I no sooner fell into my new rhythmic swing than my head began to nod, or bob, as one might not inaptly term it, slightly up and down, like a horse’s when not check reined. Astonished by so singular a development, I yet caught on the instant a revelation of the truth that nature, if not perverted, tends to hold—almost to pull—the head splendidly erect, with the chin well under. For the movement was a sort of tugging at the neck, best described by likening it to a repeated effort which one might make to stretch the back of his neck and head upward. It seemed to be pulling one ever more and more erect. It was not difficult to determine the reason for this unexpected outcome of my experimenting. Heretofore I had been holding my head in a false pose by a constant, if unconscious, tension, and of course it stayed where it was held. Now, released from all tension, it was for the first time able to permit nature to look after herself (which she is ever more ready to do than we are ready to believe). And my head-bobbing was simply nature’s rhythmic method of maintaining the equilibrium of the body, rhythmically disturbed at each step. There was nothing odd or ungainly in the motion. In fact it was scarcely perceptible to others, or, if noticeable at all, it doubtless was merged so fittingly with the whole general movement of my walk that it was not felt to be a separate peculiarity. If this custom were universally practiced there would be no more oddity or unnaturalness about it than there now is about the same movement in the horse. As I continued to put the method into practice I realized more and more how large a portion it contributed to the sum of the benefit derived from walking. As a corrective of stooping I can conceive of no better instrumentality than this, of merely letting nature have the chance to do what she is endlessly eager to do—keep you straight!
I thought that with this discovery I had achieved the final triumph in mastering the art of walking. But there was one more step to be taken. And it might be stated here that the fact which next broke in upon my intelligence, as constituting the crowning and essentially vital element of it all, holds the same prime relation to all other forms of exercise—yes, to all forms of human activity. It was the mind’s share of the exercise. I knew that walking ought to be enjoyed. So I set my mind in an attitude to receive whatever pleasurable sensations might proceed from the exertion, and was rewarded even more generously than I had anticipated. It was necessary to bring the mind to a pretty close attention to the bodily motion; to let it swing with the legs, so to speak; to think of and feel the sense of physical exertion—in a word, to infuse the mind thoroughly into the process, before the happy result came. But when I had made the effort one sunny morning while trudging over a country road, there came a keen sensation of muscular delight thrilling through my entire system. I had struck the note that rendered walking a harmony, mind blending with muscle in the process. In this as in all else it was necessary to pour “the heart into the work.” The thoughts dare not be too abstracted, too far withdrawn from the bodily action. And it is this fact that throws light upon the so frequent failure of busy city folk to derive either pleasure or profit from “walking for health.” They do not rid their minds of the customary burden of business or other interests that engross them, and consequently are unable to enter with any spirit into the exercise. The mind must be care-free and keenly set to enjoy the exertion. From this phase of the subject walking gains another point of usefulness: it becomes a valuable means of escaping from depressing states of mind, by absorbing the attention in healthful physical sensations. It might be interesting, as a final point, to ascertain how far walking in common with all other bodily movements, is affected by, and becomes an index of, force of character. Purity of thought and act, high ideals, with sincere and steady effort to realize them, general earnestness and energy of right purpose in life, will, as part of their tonic exhilaration of the entire physical man, be found to make themselves manifest in the walk, in a vigorous, decisive stride, erect carriage and a buoyant, elastic tread. It would be difficult to attribute these characteristics, even in imagination, to the walk of a culprit.
Since adopting these more natural methods, walking has become again the delightful exercise it used to be. Moreover, the lesion between my shoulders has practically ceased to annoy me even on my longest tramps. And branching forth from these main and immediate benefits, have come a score of other attendant or consequent good results, almost any one of which would have compensated for the pains necessary to effect the transformation.
Speaking of the Future: I believe we have arrived: 3D Printer
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