The human body was designed to move. Yet, our technological world has made it possible to move our bodies as little as possible and this is likely one cause of the current obesity epidemic in America.
Our ancestors lived in a world of food scarcity and hard labor. As the philosopher Thomas Hobbes remarked, this ancient lifestyle was “nasty, brutish and short.” While I would certainly never advocate living ‘as if’ it were still the Neolithic age, I do propose the following exercise: imagine what life was like before any of these marvels existed and what the practical alternatives were:
- Game System
- Clothes Washer/Dryer
In the 21st century, modern transportation, digital technology, and labor-saving devices have changed the way we live, work, and play. Although these have had a profound positive impact in many facets of life, these inventions have also helped shift the majority of people to a sedentary lifestyle. Instead of moving and engaging our muscles for 10 to 12 hours a day, our professional and personal choices often result in sitting for long periods of time. Plus, the most common forms of entertainment now involve sitting and viewing a screen (television, movies, computers, video games).
The solution is exercise. How much? In the 1990s, many health advocates and government agencies recommended a minimum of 20 minutes of exercise, 3 times a week. While that is certainly better than none, it is not enough for anyone trying to lose weight.
Here are two rules to consider:
- To gain the maximal benefits of exercise, it needs to be daily.
- To gain the maximal benefits of exercise, it should be about 1 hour of every day.
Remember, our ancestors slept for about eight hours day and most people still try to achieve this same sleep goal. Likewise, people in the past did vigorous work for many of each day to survive. In order for modern people to replicate this for our muscles, our cardiovascular system, and our health, it is really necessary to exercise for 1 hour a day.