By: Jack Johnson, Destinations International
Walking looks very simple. But it’s not.
This is something I have understood ever since I became a fan of Laurie Anderson, an American avant-garde artist and musician, during my senior year in college. The second verse of her song “Walking and Falling” explains it all.
And you don't always realize it,
but you're always falling.
With each step you fall forward slightly.
And then catch yourself from falling.
Over and over, you're falling.
And then catching yourself from falling.
And this is how you can be walking and falling
at the same time.”
But apparently it is much more complicated than I thought.
According to a recent article in Wired Magazine entitled “Humans Walk Weird. Scientists May Finally Know Why,” part of the reason is that humans have an unusual foot which is an oddity in the animal kingdom. The second is our strange gait. Also, most animals walk on their tiptoes or the balls of their feet, while we walk heel-to-toe. And, according to the article, all of this has contained a mystery throughout these many years.
When walking, people exhibit a “double-bounce” walking pattern: The first bounce helps the foot absorb the impact of the body’s weight as it hits the ground. The second one’s purpose, though, scientists haven’t understood – until now. Biomechanists, a job title that was new to me, determined that the second bounce is an energy-saving technique that allows humans to walk by prioritizing endurance over speed.
Now you may be asking, why is this important? Well, hopefully it can help improve prosthetic and robotic designs. Probably, it may mean some improvements in sports medicine. And, according to the article, it may even lend insight into the evolutionary pressures our ancestors faced. However, in my mind, there is one more thing: the question “why?”
Why did humans evolve to prioritize endurance over speed? Why evolve an energy-saving technique that would help humans walk for longer periods without getting tired? My answer is because they need to travel. We have been traveling from the beginning of time. Whether looking for better farmland, better food gathering areas, better hunting and fishing, fleeing enemies or natural disasters, or just satisfying their human curiosity, we have been on the move from day one. Our conscious nature demands it. Travel is essential. It is absolutely necessary. And it is very important.
And if travel is essential, then so are destination organizations and destination promotion. They all go hand in hand. And that message is what my team and I will be telling anybody that will listen. Travel is essential, destination organizations are absolutely necessary and destination promotion is very important.