One of the oddest, most improbable things about humans is that we are habitual bipeds. That is, we walk most of the time on two legs.
Lots of mammals can and do walk on two legs: bears, lemurs, capuchin monkeys. But humans are the only mammals who do it habitually — all the time, everywhere we go. Once you learn about the complexity and difficulty of bipedal walking you start to realize how truly out of the ordinary this habit is.
For every step you take, your brain has to make an estimated billion calculations. The vestibular system in your…
When I was in my mid-twenties, I developed back problems. They’d started in my early teens, but after years of managing with yoga (and massage when I could afford it), I found that regular strategies for keeping the pain at bay were suddenly ineffective.
These days, I am in pain all the time — from where my skull cradles my spine all the way down to my heels. I usually can’t move my head much to the right. …
The Left, gripe of my life, fuel of my income. My obsession, my daemon. The Left: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. The. Woke. Crowd. It was “liberals,” plain “liberals,” in the evening, repeated earnestly by pundits in suits. It was “snowflakes” on Twitter. It was “libtards” on bumper stickers. It was “socialists” on the printed page. But on my podcast, it was always The Left.
Did it have a precursor? It did, indeed it did. In point of fact, there might have been no…
The way we walk right now might feel inhuman — it goes against our evolutionary wiring to avoid connecting with other people. When we see a neighbor, we wave from afar. We give strangers a wide berth. There are no coffee shops to stop at, no casual errands to run. It can seem like walking just for the sake of walking is not worth the effort.
But it is. It’s one of the most effective ways to connect with a world that feels increasingly distant — precisely because we can’t socialize.
Two years ago I was so chronically tired that I started sleeping in the car for two solid hours while my son was in preschool. I had to force myself awake to pick him up. At first, I blamed the broken sleep common to motherhood.
But when I found myself at stop signs wondering if I could safely close my eyes while waiting for the traffic to clear, I knew it was time to see a doctor. Did I have depression? seasonal affective disorder?
It never occurred to me that I had a simple vitamin deficiency.
“Your B12 levels are…
Antonia Malchik is the author of A Walking Life: Reclaiming Our Health and Our Freedom One Step at a Time; writes on walking, tech, community, and embodiment.