These are the last of the photos I will share from a week ago when we went to Cloudland Canyon (I promise). The sad truth is that that was the last time we did anything physical. Well, other than my Friday morning yoga class and walking Tisen–the last vestiges of exercise in my life at the moment.
I was thinking about an article I read a long time ago where health researchers looked at evidence from anthropology findings about the life style of hunter-gatherers. The theory went that since humans were hunter-gatherers for the majority of our history, our bodies are most likely geared towards that type of lifestyle and, therefore, for optimal health, we should emulate the variety in diet and level of exercise from that time in our history. The one key difference was that they speculated that while there were periods of famine for our ancestors, the findings (based on other studies) suggested that our bodies response to starvation, while allowing us to survive, is contrary to long-term health, but that’s another discussion.
The point I am (slowly) getting to is that research suggested that hunter-gatherers spent most of the daylight hours walking, climbing, picking, and, well, gathering. There were occasional springs and jogs, but most of the time our ancestors were in gentle motion. I compare this to my lifestyle of spending 10-12 hours in front of a computer at a desk five days a week. The only thing that could possibly be further from our ancestors lifestyle would be to sleep for 20 years straight, Rip Van Winkle style.
It strikes me as rather ironic that through all our progress and technology, we have jobs that keep us from doing what makes us healthy and we struggle to find time to get the exercise we need because we’re so busy working, but if we spent our day gathering food instead of making money to buy food, we’d get all the exercise we need. Mind you, I’m not suggesting I want to go back to a hunter-gatherer world. I’m not that fond of famine, ice ages, disease, and all the other things that kept life expectancy down to something like 30. I guess that’s the big flaw in assuming that our bodies are honed to that lifestyle–the hunter-gatherers didn’t life long enough to have a lot of the diseases we struggle with today.
I contemplated all of this, of course, as I was eating a large hunk of a baguette slathered in about two tablespoons of Irish butter. I found myself wondering why I am able to still tell myself “tomorrow I’ll eat better” and shove a week’s worth of saturated fat into my belly and think it’s OK. The thought crossed my mind that it’s like committing suicide slowly. I did a little googling, but I couldn’t find any “I’m about to eat badly” hotline numbers. Then I went and dished up some ice cream.