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Thoughts on the “Bodies” Exhibit

I finally had my chance to see “Bodies”, the exhibit of plasticized humans.  While its run at the Minnesota Science Museum has ended, you may be familiar with it.  Though many have questioned the ethics involved, the lure of plasticized human organs or entire people is undeniable.  Unfortunately, the exhibit did not use the bodies to best advantage, which would have been to focus on anatomy and biomechanics.  Instead, it mixed in physiology and related health issues.  What is the difference and why does it matter?

Anatomy deals with the structure and functions of living things.  It is big picture stuff like ‘this is the hip joint and how it moves.’  Plasticized humans display anatomy in a way never before possible.  They also demonstrate biomechanics in a uniquely helpful way.  Biomechanics is the study of how our bodies interact with gravity.  It looks at finding the best way to move the body to perform various tasks. 

Javelin man is the lone example of human movement

In contrast, physiology is about how body parts perform their functions and interact with one another.  Physiology is how the body actually becomes and remains healthy, produces energy, and moves.  This is primarily biochemical in nature.

Related: The Slipstream Difference: “Functional” Training

When we think about health, longevity, fitness, and performance, what we are thinking about is mostly physiology – how well is our body functioning (health and fitness), can it maintain that over time (longevity), and how these compare with what we are capable of (performance). 

Anatomy and biomechanics can describe how well you move, which has enormous implications for performance.  If you have lost range of motion anywhere in your body, perhaps due to an old injury or just a sedentary lifestyle, that will affect your biomechanics.  This causes the body to find a way to accomplish the movement that is not optimal, but gets the job done given your limitation(s).  

This causes stresses that show up as wear and tear on the body. A replaced knee and hip were displayed at “Bodies,” along with disc degeneration and osteoporosis, to excellent effect.  This does not, however tell you how these issues came about, and particularly why one knee wore out while the other did not.   

Related: Move Well, then Move Often

The answer to that lies in either (1) trauma, such as a linebacker landing on your knee, or (2) poor movement patterns.  For trauma, please see a physical therapist or doctor.  To recover from that, or to identify and correct poor movement patterns we are here to help.

To learn how to move well, and to find a supportive environment in which to move often, contact us at info@crossfitslipstream.com, and get started now!

—John Bryant

Founder & Head Trainer