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Hunter - Gatherer Exercise

Posted by Well Being Holistic Pharmacy on

I find it vitally important to better understand what the true underlying reasons or causes of the relatively poor state of our health today really are. I also find it incredible that we seem to always try to make it much more complicated than it is. The following information is a prime example… First – we must understand that our genes, working the way that they do, are the result of millions of years of natural selection. What we have done over the past 3000 years is a mere drop in the bucket in relation to time – and opportunity for genetic adaptations. In other words – we have drastically changed how we live in a very, very short period of time (from a historic perspective) and the reality is that our genes have not had nearly enough time to adapt to these changes – the result being all of the chronic diseases that we suffer from today. Foremost in these changes is the fact that we have gone from a physically active, outdoor-based existence to an inactive, indoor-based one. Our genes express themselves in the best possible way when they are exposed to constant physical activity and to other things, like Vitamin D from sunlight. This translates into the best possible health as well. Here are some interesting facts about our hunter-gatherer ancestors in regards to their daily physical activities. Understand, again, that if you want your genes to express themselves in the best possible way, than you want to get back to bathing your genes in these sorts of activities.
  1. We typically travelled a daily distance of 3 to 10 miles.
  2. We normally expended between 3500 and 5000 calories a day.
  3. The terrain that we traveled over was mostly a soft natural surface and uneven.
  4. We were typically barefoot or wearing a simple leather wrap on our feet.
  5. Daily life often entailed large amounts of carrying loads – children, water, wood, stones.
  6. Almost all of the physical activity was done outdoors.
  7. Much of this activity was done in social settings.
  8. Plentiful time for sleep, relaxation and rest was available for to help facilitate complete recovery from these physical activities.
Think about all of the ways that your daily activities differ from these facts about our ancestors. I could write an entire article about each one of those facts, but I want to quickly highlight just one of them for your consideration... the one about the caloric expenditure. The fact is that we used to have to gather or hunt down the food that we ate. It took tremendous expenditures of energy to do that. This is not the case today at all. The most energy we typically use to get our food today is by driving to the grocery store, going through the drive-through, or dialing the phone for delivery. Furthermore, the foods that we ate were usually not nearly as calorie-dense as what is available to us today. The bottom line is that obesity was virtually non-existent in our not-so-distant past. That certainly is not the case today where 2 of every 3 Americans is either over-weight or obese.

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