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I think we can all agree that an active lifestyle comes with many health benefits, all of which have a tendancy to improve your chances of remaining alive for longer. But there is a bit of a problem in what we as a society consider an active lifestyle, sure exercise is a useful tool in the box of overall wellbeing but is it really enough to workout for an hour at a time, 5 days a week? What about the other 163 hours?
Does this sound familiar, wake up and drag yourself into the kitchen to make a delicious morning beverage, have a sit down and watch tv or check your notifications, jump in the car or perhaps onto the bus and head into work, spend most of the day sat down or doing the same repetitive movements, sit down and have lunch, work through until home time, sit down all the way home be it in a car or on a train, do some sort of workout for maybe an hour, make dinner, sit down for the evening and go to bed.
You can see that there is lots of sitting involved, and while sitting is public enemy number one right now its not actually that bad. The members of the Hadza tribe, one of the last few hunter gatherer tribes left in the world tend to also sit for hours a day, but yet these are considered some of the healthiest people on the planet so what gives?
Well while they may sit down plenty throughout the day, their sitting is being constantly interrupted by the duties a hunter gatherer lifestyle brings, those being hunting, gathering, stoking the fire, tending to children, walking to find water, and many other various tasks around camp. Remember that as far evolved we think that we are in our skyscrapers with our netflix and next day delivery, these hunter gatherer ancestral roots are well and truly embedded in our D.N.A.
The human animal evolved over many hundreds of thousands of years to be a nomadic animal, to follow the food sources, to move with the seasons, it's only in the last 10,000 years that we have transitioned into a more settled way of life with the introduction of farming, and only the last few hundred has that type of settled life still with lots in the way of daily physical activity become one of idleness. Now we barely have to move at all to get what we need, groceries can be delivered to your door, more and more companies are allowing staff to work remotely from home, which is brilliant, but also comes with some downsides, now the daily commute which offered something in the way of movement has become a trip to the laptop in your pants. Social media can do wonderful things in order to help people connect, yet most people report feeling lonelier than ever, no longer do we meet up with friends , now we can just whatsapp them to get that dopamine fix, or perhaps go crazy and video call.
We live on the cusp of the deterioration of the Natural Human as we know it, anyone who has seen Disney's Wall-E will know that the future portrayed in that tear jerking film is one we are willingly hurtling towards, where planet earth is fucked beyond repair and humans exist in futuristic lay-z-boys that do everything for us and we have forgotten how to even walk.
Yes exercise is great, but it is not a cure all for a life of inactivity, interspersed movement is far more important for longevity. By that we mean just simply getting up from your desk every hour or so and moving around, changing sitting positions frequently throughout the day, sitting on the floor, getting outside more often and into the wilderness where nature will encourage you to move in the ways you evolved to do so.
If you have read this far without moving then I encourage you to change position, to get up and move around, drop into a squat or do a few lunges, roll a tennis ball from foot to foot while you watch tv, go climb a tree or lie down in the grass, dance because movement is life not because you do or don't have any rhythm , your Natural human rhythm is embedded in your soul and it wants you to move like a wild animal, because skyscraper or not you are still a wild animal at heart, so walk, run, jump, climb, crawl, lift, carry, throw, catch, swim, play, explore what your body can do. Get out of your comfort zone from time to time, leave the cage behind and move freely independently or rules or exercise regulations, go forth and fidget my friend.