Part I: How we can regain our ancestral health through physical activity
Modern life brings us numerous advantages. Due to astonishing improvements in technology, we are more comfortable than our ancestors ever dreamed. Ironically, we are inflicted with persistent, degenerative illnesses practically unknown a few generations ago. Instead of sound health, we are experiencing an onset of obesity, cancer, diabetes, asthma, heart disease, allergies, arthritis and other ailments. We spend great deals of money on health care programs that are swamped will illness. Nowadays, even one third of young people are over-weight or obese. Something has gone colossally wrong.
Why has this happened?To determine the cause, we must examine the human body and figure out why it has turned against itself when we have so much. Our bodies evolved over a thousand years. We grew and changed in extremely precise settings, much different from our current environment. Could our modern lifestyles be preventing what nature intended? According to Professor Daniel Lieberman, of Harvard University, the reason so many of us are currently suffering from once rare diseases is because although our bodies were adaptive in the environments for which we evolved, they have likely become maladaptive to the present environment which we created.
Lieberman also says our bodies were primarily adapted for different conditions that leave us insufficiently suited for our modern eating habits and inactive lifestyles. He credits this as the reason for the increase in type II diabetes. The modern society, which we have built, puts large amounts of high sugar, commercial foods at our fingertips and encourages inactivity. Rather than laboring to grow our own food, we can order from the nearest fast food restaurant. The human body is not meant to be inactive, or metabolize vast quantities of vegetable oils and sugars. An inactive lifestyle is the opposite of how we should live. You could argue that our way of life is killing us.
- Mismatched Diseases
On the subject of evolutionary medicine, the concept of mismatched diseases plays a vital role in our knowledge of the fatal eruption of lifestyle diseases. In their book, Mismatch, Peter Gluckman and Mark Hanson explore the possibility that our attempts to improve life may have caused us to become mismatched to our environment. They refer to this as the Mismatch Paradigm.
According to their theory, evolution did not design our body’s internal control systems to suit the modern environment that we live in. Due to this mismatch of genes and environment, we are inflicted with illnesses such as diabetes, myopia, heart disease and obesity.
- What Can Be Done about this Mismatch
You must make a personal effort to become more active. Large amounts of scientific research prove the advantages of exercise. It restores energy, increases cognitive function, brightens our spirits and reduces stress. Additionally, regular exercise decreases our risk of degenerative disease. That is because, through exercise, we are acting in a way that our bodies are designed for. Our ancestors were in shape because they had no choice. They did not have any of the labor reducing machines that we do. Since most of us are not willing to give up our washers, television remotes, power tools, automobiles, and the like, we need to find other ways to be active each day. There are several ways to defeat the inactive lifestyle that modern society tempts us with. Mark Sissons, a popular fitness author, has two suggestions: One, move often at a slow pace, two, lift heavy objects and every now and then, sprint. The first suggestion means to increase our daily activity. The second refers to a more intense metabolic exercise, designed for workouts.
- Daily Exercise – Walking
Our ancestors walked everyday. However, remaining active throughout the day is difficult. Following, are some simple methods for overcoming an inactive lifestyle:
Sit less often. If you are sitting on your sofa or at your desk, get up at twenty minute intervals to stretch, walk around and do isometrics.
When arriving at work, or the store, park as far away from the door as possible.
Stand up when you are chatting on the phone.
Use the stairs instead of the elevator.
Try walking as much as possible throughout the day. Check out the 10,000 steps plan, which you can learn about on The Walking Site. Consider it a goal.
Join a dance class.
Get involved in a sport.
The point is to become as active as possible in your daily life. Make it a point to be as active as you can every day. An inactive lifestyle is deadly.
Metabolic Resistance Training MRT
Frequently, our ancestors had to use short energy burst while fighting or hunting. They needed cardiovascular and physical strength to achieve this. For individuals who already workout, MRT can be most useful. MRT is any combination of intense anaerobic and aerobic training methods that have a direct muscular and cardiovascular effect. It’s a type of High Intensity Level Training. The effectiveness of MRT has been proven by current research. It is typically designed for individuals who are reasonably in shape. It can be performed with body weight, exercise bands, free weights or mixed with aerobic exercise. MRT has the following qualities:
*Its duration is short, typically 15 minutes, three times weekly*Performed in rounds with brief rest between exercises*Performed at top intensity*Increases the amount of time that your body continues to burn fat after the workout has endedMRT builds muscle while burning fat, and does so in much less time than conventional exercise systems. It develops a high fitness level, helps maintain strong bones and decreases the effects of sarcopenia. One reason MRT works so well is that it uses both the cardiovascular and muscle systems in a complementary way. Long and tedious cardio workouts are no longer necessary. See the article posted at Senior Exercise Central, or the article written by international fitness guru Brad Schoenfeld, about the basics of MRT, in order to see what an MRT workout looks like. By applying these two approaches, we can achieve a high level of fitness and overcome our sedentary lifestyles. Part II will explain the vital role nutrition has in aiding us to regain our ancestral health.
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