Many people cannot find the time or so they say, to get their workouts in or even begin a program. For those of you that are fitness buffs and self-proclaimed meatheads, this might never affect you but unfortunately you are a small majority of the general population. Perhaps if we were able to explain to the general population that people who exercise enjoy the benefits which are a natural part of our biology, they would be more likely to listen. Just as we need to eat, drink and sleep, we also need to exercise.
- I saw Martin Rooney speak at a seminar recently and he talked about how not enough people incorporate sprinting into their routines. You don’t need to be a competitive athlete to work this into your program. This got me thinking, so as I always try to do, I read a book that dealt with the topic. Sprinting is something natural that our ancestors had to do to either hunt or kill food to survive or escape from predators. When we sprint, we use every single muscle in our body in an explosive manner. We have to fight massive rotational forces around the spine and it is a great way to work the hip region through its entire range of motion. And no, sprinting does not mean you did a 45 minute “interval” workout on the elliptical.
- Exercise spikes a whole bunch of good hormones in our brain that may be rooted in evolution. We have all heard the term “runners high” and if you have heard that, you’re more than likely familiar with endorphins. In particular, exercise raises levels of nor-epinephrine, dopamine and serotonin, all of which make us feel good and can block pain. Some scientists believe that these came about because humans needed them during long hunts in order to block pain and keep them going. Since we no longer hunt for our food (most of us anyway, not sure about a few of you), we need to find another way to produce them and exercise is the answer.
- We have always had to lift heavy things from the beginning of time in order to build things. Today, we have the option of deadlifting (or squatting, pressing, benching, etc.). When we lift heavy things, we build stronger muscles and bones and we get a nice increase in our production of human growth hormone (HGH) and testosterone. If we lift often and heavy, we will stay younger because we will have more muscle and hormonal production. Only the strong survive, which is again a nice mechanism of evolution. If we don’t use our bodies, they simply die. Inactivity is a sign of death. Not only will our bodies begin to fall apart, so will our minds. Refer back to the benefits of exercise on the brain, which is arguably even more important or just as important than the benefit to the body.
- There are a whole slew of things that I can discuss about diet and evolution and I know some of it has already been done elsewhere. So, I will make it simple. Our bodies are meant to be lean and muscular. If we can maintain or get into this state, our energy levels will be higher and even our thought processes will be clearer. If you don’t believe me, get ready for a bodybuilding show and report back to me. However, there is a fine line of trying to get too lean in which case performance and thought will suffer. Eat protein and fat at your meals and a little bit of complex carbs and you are good to go. Our bodies have evolved not to be very efficient at handling huge insulin spikes, which happens when eating tons of carbs.
The list could go on and on. However, the point of this article is to show that it is part of our DNA to be active and eat well. It speaks to the heart of every human being and there is a reason that exercise feels so good once you get into a routine. The key is just in finding something that you like to do.