Holistic Health & Natural Exercise

Holistic health & healing involves balancing the physical exercise needs of the body.

Incredible Feats of
Strength, Speed and Endurance

Traditional exercise recommendations range from the mundane to incredible feats of strength and speed. It’s easy to “get in the weeds” when considering exercise.

The fact is: Humans are not the strongest creature in the forest nor the fastest creature on the plains.

Holistic Health & Scientific Research About Natural Exercise

Foraging and Famine Shaped Human Genetics

Noted researchers, Manu V. Chakravarthy, Frank W. Booth in their study: Eating, exercise, and “thrifty” genotypes: connecting the dots toward an evolutionary understanding of modern chronic diseases, that physical activity is a crucial component of health. contend that:

  1. Most of human biology (and some behaviors) was naturally selected during the Late-Paleolithic era (50,000-10,000 BC) as hunter-gatherers (the Stone Age).
  2. Daily physical activity was integral to our ancestors’ existence due to foraging and hunting for food that involved habitual physical activity, including endurance and peak effort alternating with rest.
  3. Lifestyle and feeding patterns of hunter-gatherers were punctuated by cycles of feasts and famine.
  4. Physical exercise and food procurement were inextricably linked to the survival of our ancestors, suggesting the possibility of their linkage to a common selection of genes.
  5. Researchers estimate the activity-rest cycle by gender to be:
    a. Men were estimated to have hunted 1-4 non-consecutive days per week.
    b. Women were estimated to have gathered food every 2-3 days.
  6. “… for these reasons, we will speculate that the feast-famine cycling and physical activity-rest cycling that were related to food procurement by hunter-gatherer’s selected genes for an oscillating enzymatic regulation of fuel storage and usage.1

Modern Life – Stone Age Genetics

No one can argue that the modern lifestyle is different than our ancestors.
The problem is: the body hasn’t changed.

Chakravarthy and Booth point that out in their study: Ancestral physical activity is a crucial component of health.

For most people in the industrialized world:

  1. There’s no feast-famine cycle – hunting is a drive to the supermarket.
  2. There’s no activity-rest cycle – gathering is 10 steps to the cupboard.

Use it – or lose it.

At this point, you are faced with a dilemma.

You can:

Ignore the fact your body needs to move more than you move now.
Embrace the “feel the burn” or “week-end warrior” propaganda.

Or, accept that fact that you’re not the strongest or fastest creature on earth.

For most people, frequent, moderate exercise -that approximates the activities of our ancestors – is precisely what the body needs to stay healthy – that’s walking, bending, crouching and stretching – peppered with occasional exertion – every day.

That means:

  1. Park your car at the far end of the lot and walk briskly to the door of your destination.
  2. Take the stairs instead of the elevator for short trips.

Adding a little more …

  1. Stand up and stretch if you’ve been seated for more the 45 minutes and If you can, walk to get a drink of water – it’ll keep you hydrated and help clear your mind.
  2. Shop at a more brisk pace adding deliberate reaching and crouching.
  3. Make house work or yard work more deliberate.
  4. Walking away at a pace of 60 strides/minute in spurts of about 5-7 minutes, speeding the pace for 2-3 minutes to increase breathing rate, then slowing the pace for 2-3 minutes. Crouching to check your shoe strings, reaching up with one arm, the other – and then both. Repeating the process for your return trip. Go a little further and faster on the weekend.

You exist today because your ancestors avoided:

  1. Sitting on a log for long stretches of time

  2. Stronger, faster predators

  3. Risky, high-impact and extreme exertion.

Exercise is just 1 of the blind spots that can be stealing your quality of life – and ultimately your health.  Symptoms like achy joints and sore muscles, indigestion, lethargy, lack of concentration, frustration and short temper are memos that are sent by your body.

They are reminders that something isn’t right between what your body needs and what your are providing.  Ignoring these memos, or trying to silence them with medication are a risky choices!  There are other, better choices.

1. Manu V. Chakravarthy, Frank W. Booth, Journal of Applied Physiology, Eating, exercise, and “thrifty” genotypes: connecting the dots toward an evolutionary understanding of modern chronic diseases, that physical activity is a crucial component of health. , Published 1 January 2004 Vol. 96 no. 1, 3-10 DOI: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00757.2003 http://jap.physiology.org/content/96/1/3.short

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