We briefly talked about sedentism in yesterday’s discussion about the Paleo diet. It’s important to understand how detrimental this lifestyle of inactivity really is to our health. It is correlated with heart disease, diabetes, cancer and obesity.
It has even affected the evolution of the human skeleton.
If you compared your bones with your ancestors’ and even a chimpanzee’s bones, you would notice a stark difference in the density of the bones. Our skeletons have become lighter and contain less spongy bone, which results in a higher risk of osteoporosis, a bone disease that makes your bones brittle and fragile, which ultimately leads to fractured bones.
If we think about the history of the modern human lifestyle, the changes in our bones are entwined with the effects of improvements in agricultural technology. Our hunting-and-gathering ancestors were extremely active when procuring suitable nutrition, and they were always looking for food. About 12,000 years ago, they made the switch to farming, which led to a surplus of food, which led to what elitists would call “civilized society.” This meant people could sit down a lot longer, and it’s only gotten worse since then.
The average American can spend up to 22 hours sitting or being inactive per day. This means we aren’t putting enough stress on our bones for them to grow stronger.
We’ve all seen the ‘Got Milk?’ ads, so we all know how important it is to drink our milk to allow for strong bones.(updated 5/11/16)
So why aren’t we also emphasizing providing our bones with necessary activity as well?