To Truly Understand Your House Or Your Body Watch Their Construction


Hi folks,

Building site in Torrevieja, Spain.

Building site in Torrevieja, Spain.

I was wandering by a new construction site today, so I stopped to watch all the diggers, bulldozers, and people busily doing things. This building was in the earlier stages of construction, with an underground garage in place, foundations almost finished, and the base of the walls with rebar sticking up to take the building skywards. My thoughts on the construction process took me to the field of embryology or embryogenesis (the making of the embryo, which eventually becomes you and I). There are real parallels between building construction and body construction. The blue print might have a different format, and emergent behavior has less to do with the process than forward planning (which originally emanated from emergent behavior, but that is another story). Then it occurred to me how lucky I was, as an athlete, to have studied Biology, and especially mammalian Biology, much of my life. It gives me insights into this machine that I call my body, and that I so much enjoy.

Human embryo 8-9 weeks 38 mm from WikiPedia.

Human embryo 8-9 weeks 38 mm from WikiPedia.

The building of our bodies is a consequence of a remarkable process, going from a single cell to the whole you. Isn’t that something? Furthermore, this process generates functionally similar structures to those in a building, such as the steel or concrete frame (skeleton), plumbing systems to carry water into and out of the building (gastrointestinal tract, vascular system, lymphatics, urinary tract), framing and coverings of walls providing support for cupboards and doors (ligaments, tendons, fascia, diverse membranes), wires to carry electrical signals (nerves), power systems to drive things around, such as water pressure and power stations (muscles, smooth, striated, and cardiac), an outer covering to keep the rain out (integument), and features designed to help it sell (appropriately located bodily fat, hair, clothes and decorations), and an army of repair people to fix things when they break down (neutrophils, macrophages, fibroblasts and stem cells).

If you have time to spare one day, take a look at the fascinating field of embryology, and you won’t look at building sites in the same way ever again. Furthermore, you’ll have important insights into how your body works and how it builds and rebuilds itself all the time, which will give you the critical respect you need to treat it well, as it deserves.

-k @FitOldDog

Today’s workouts:

Four-mile steady walk with dog (Porgy) and later that day a steady five-mile run, with pick ups if it feels right.



  1. Okay, so which bit of my house is the prostate gland???

    • Hi Trevor, I would have said that it was whatever helped you with your breeding program, but now that you have had your kids and don’t seem inclined to create more, it is part of your entertainment equipment, but like your TV it can take your life away, too, so enjoy the program while you can. -kevin

  2. Oh dear, I’ve just spit all over my screen!

  3. Or should that be spat?

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.