Hunter-gatherers’ Active lifestyles make the rest of us look shamefully lazy
As you tick off another sedentary day spent sitting in your office chair then lounging on your couch, it might strike you: human beings are surely “designed” to move more than this, right? We’re actually designed to move a whole lot more, suggests ongoing research into the lifestyles of hunter-gatherers. For a while now, anthropologists have been studying the Hadza — a tribe of less than 1000 from East Africa whose lives provide a window into how our ancestors lived hundreds of thousands of years ago
Most days, the men walked briskly on the hunt for game animals, while the women foraged for and prepared wild foods.On average, the Hadza achieved about 75 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity a day.
To put that number in context, Australian health authorities recommend we engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week, or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity a week.Most of us living modern Western lifestyles don’t meet those targets. In Australia, 60 percent of adults do less than 30 minutes of moderate physical activity per day — way below the Hadza.That matters because the Hadza have a super low risk of cardiovascular disease, including low rates of high blood pressure and blood cholesterol, unlike us in the West stricken by the so-called diseases of civilisation.
Another noteworthy finding about the Hadza’s physical activity: it doesn’t decline with age. The older Hadza (it’s not uncommon for them to live into their 70s and even 80s) stayed as active as younger generations — unlike our society, where physical activity drops off sharply as we age.Raichlen acknowledges the Hadza’s heart health is likely influenced by other factors too (such as their diets — most continue to forage and rely on wild foods), but says studying their lifestyles bolsters the obvious-but-overlooked theory that aerobic activity is a must for health.
“The overarching hypothesis is that our bodies evolved within a highly active context, and that explains why physical activity seems to improve physiological health today,” he said in a statement.He believes studying the Hadza gives us an insight into the physical activity levels that drove the evolution of healthy human hearts, muscles and brains.“The answer is not likely 30 minutes a day of walking on a treadmill,” he said. “It’s more like 75-plus minutes a day.”
Read more …./coach.nine.com.au