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If we were designed to walk, where's the trail?

In all the years I walked to school, I never believed the human body was designed for walking. Walking is an ancient activity that citizens of the current "backseat generation" do not seem to understand.

Although I complained about having to walk a half mile to school, the journey included a bridge that spanned the local breeding pool, where big trout lurked. Some days, in the spring or fall, I would take a longer route on a trail along a riverbank that crossed the stream via a footbridge. I grew to enjoy the walk.

Presently, most families have at least two cars in the yard, and often a third one for the kids. As a result, walking is no longer a transportation necessity, and local trails don't much matter anymore.

Over the years, I've returned to the haunts of my youth numerous times, to follow trails that ran along riverbanks, or to the top of a local hill. I've found remnants of our old routes, cluttered with downed limbs, or infested with invasive plants like Japanese Knotweed or Garlic mustard.

It appears that today's youth just don't wander as wide a swath as we used to, even though science has discovered that man was designed to walk.

Researchers at the University of Missouri recently released the most conclusive evidence ever found to prove that over 3 million years ago, Lucy, and her relatives, walked upright just as modern humans do. Lucy is considered mankind's oldest living ancestor.

A recently discovered foot bone, from a dig in Ethiopia, was studied to determine that members of Lucy's species had arched feet like ours. According to research scientists, arches put spring in the step and are necessary to stand comfortably and walk.

It may appear a minor detail, but the findings have significant implications for the course of human evolution, since arches do not permit the flexibility necessary for a species to grasp with their feet to climb trees.

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