You may feel “the exercise is good for you” refrain has been done to death. Ask any parent, the more something is repeated, the deafer we become to the words. But consider this. Being active isn’t really a life choice, it’s a survival mechanism built deep into our genetic blueprint. Exercise is effectively a form of medicine and being active doesn’t have to mean marathons, Lycra and expensive gym memberships.
According to Fritz Muskiet, a clinical biologist at the University of Groningen, genetic adaptation moves on only 0.5% in every million years. We haven’t had nearly enough time yet to adapt to our modern lifestyle, yet we discard essential aspects of life without thought of consequence. At the top of the list, we’ve swapped physical activity for shopping. We no longer hunt or gather, which means we exercise less and less and eat more and more.
As a consequence, it’s no surprise that we live in the grip of an obesity epidemic that is showing no signs of slowing. Let’s be honest, as a rule, people are also getting lazier as a result. Expending energy by pressing the remote to change TV channels, or ordering take-aways online from the comfort of the sofa. Today’s online culture doesn’t do much to help, as you don’t even need to walk down the aisles of a supermarket to shop for food anymore, you can stay on the sofa and just wield your smartphone!
Two million years ago physical activity was the basis of survival. Hunter gatherer populations would move long distances to forage for food and men and women both practiced persistence hunting - outrunning prey till it collapsed with exhaustion. We’re built to move and not just that, moving confers a host of physiological and biochemical benefits that we really can’t live a healthy life without.
In our latest Health Hack video we share just a few of the very many reasons why this summer (for us in the northern hemisphere!) is a great time to get active!