Organic fitness: physical activity consistent with our hunter-gatherer heritage

Phys Sportsmed. 2010 Dec;38(4):11-8. doi: 10.3810/psm.2010.12.1820.


Many of the pervasive health concerns in modern society are the result of diet and lifestyle choices that are at odds with the evolutionary milieu for which we remain genetically adapted. This systematic displacement from a very physically active lifestyle in a natural outdoor environment to a sedentary indoor lifestyle may be at the root of many chronic diseases that are endemic in our culture. A proposed solution is to simulate indigenous human activity patterns in a way that is possible and practical for individuals to achieve. Suggestions for exercise mode, duration, intensity, and frequency are outlined, with a focus on realigning our daily physical activities with the archetype that is encoded within our genome. In a sedentary individual, this type of daily physical activity should help confer the robust vigorous health that enabled our ancestors to survive and thrive as hunter-gatherers in the wild.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological*
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Cultural Characteristics
  • Energy Intake
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Environment*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Sedentary Behavior