The American philosopher and naturalist Henry David Thoreau roamed far and wide over the hills and mountains of his native Massachusetts and neighboring New Hampshire. In his masterwork, "Walden," Thoreau famously stated that we must "reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us even in our soundest sleep." One of Thoreau's primary methods for maintaining such wakefulness was to explore the natural world and spend significant time outdoors every day.
In a common occurrence, you bend over to pick up the pencil you inadvertently dropped on the floor. Or you bend over to pick up the soap bar that has slipped through your fingers in the shower. Or you bend over to lift a bag of groceries out of your automobile trunk. These are all daily events. But on a certain day, at a certain time, during one of these innocuous activities you suddenly experience a sharp, excruciating, grabbing pain in your lower back. You might be unable to fully straighten up after such an episode, and it might take a week or more for you to recover completely. In the meantime, you have a lot of pain and it seems as if the slightest movement causes substantial discomfort. You may say to yourself that you'll do anything to avoid a recurrence of such a troublesome injury.
In the summertime, everyone's thoughts turn to the outdoors. We want to get out in the sun and have some fun. Some people do exercise outdoors, such as running, walking, and biking, all year long regardless of the weather.1 For others, summer's warmer temperatures make activity outside the house or the gym more inviting, and tennis courts, basketball courts, soccer fields, and baseball diamonds become filled with younger and older athletes, all looking to bounce, hit, or kick a ball around with their friends and opponents. Other summer activities include surfing and rollerblading, and although these activities may also be done year round, many people prefer to get their boarding and blading in when temperatures are subjectively more conducive.
When time is spent in an office or indoors day in and day out, some can lose that connection to the outside world. And that loss of connection can lead to higher stress levels and more health ailments without even realizing it. But when that the gap between office life and outdoor life is bridged, quality of life - and health - improves.
Our shoulder joints have the greatest range of motion of any of the musculoskeletal joints in our bodies. The shoulder joint is really two joints, the glenohumeral joint between the arm bone (humerus) and the shoulder blade (scapula) and the acromioclavicular joint between the acromion (a bony projection off the scapula) and the collarbone (clavicle). The glenohumeral joint is a ball-and-socket joint and the acromioclavicular joint is a gliding joint.