Posted on 23 Apr 2018
Why Do We Exercise?
In general it all boils down to three goals - lose weight, tone up and get fit. These aren’t our goals these are how we respond “typically” when asked. Even if people say it’s for health reasons they generally attach that to visual changes they see. For instance if they lose weight it must be working and they must be getting healthier.
So when the doctor says you have a high risk of CHD or diabetes you need to exercise and start a healthy diet. You think in order for this to be working I should see some change in my body shape I should see some weight loss on the scales (it doesn’t help that the doctor also associates these issues with being obese according to the BMI scale or your hip to waist ratio). Even if you have never had that conversation with the doctor but you just know you’ve gained weight or you feel less healthy or your not as active as you used to be ... or your getting out of breath when walking a little or you feel stiff sore or weak all of the typical pre cursors to prompting a change in lifestyle or starting a diet and exercise program. These all lead to one thing a focused and planned out routine of structured and usually restricted eating and exercise to achieve visual result that will suggest you are achieving your goals. But think of it like this, exercise is not a natural or functional concept we do not need it to live or maintain quality of life, a structured or routine diet is not necessary for a healthy body.
I remember when I first started working in the industry the 6-8 meals a day idea was new and it was the definitive answer shortly after it got followed up with the theory of eating live a caveman (person!) and it all made sense. The problem is the cave people weren’t eating a diet or a structured routine, they also weren’t working a 9-5 job they didn’t have such a organised and developing society stress was much simpler back then and they lived more instinctively than habitually.. not to mention our bodies have evolved massively since then and so won’t they can and can’t tolerate is very different. If you consider all of this and then consider they weren’t trying to be fit or live up to a certain expectation they were just living then you can see how an understanding of their way of life can help us to find answers and solutions but it is neither the answer nor the solution in its entirety. What our body actually needs vs what our mind craves vs what is scientifically correct based on a perfect working model vs what is right for that person.
I read an article a while ago about a tribe in Tanzania and whilst there were many interesting points the main one was that the males of this tribe as hunter gathers would graze whilst out hunting and gathering on the food they would collect the females of the tribe were the farmers who would also graze throughout the day on the food they would harvest. In the main feeding times they would all sit together and eat a mix of the same food but the study found that their gut microbes were different due to the different grazing habits. The reason I think this is a good example as it goes some way to demonstrate how adaptive to change our bodies can be and how by the time we decide to make a change to our lifestyle we as individuals are unique and should approach it as such.
Image credit: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/250231323022814293/