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Review
. May-Jun 2011;53(6):471-9.
doi: 10.1016/j.pcad.2011.03.009.

Exercise Like a Hunter-Gatherer: A Prescription for Organic Physical Fitness

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Review

Exercise Like a Hunter-Gatherer: A Prescription for Organic Physical Fitness

James H O'Keefe et al. Prog Cardiovasc Dis. .

Abstract

A large proportion of the health woes beleaguering modern cultures are because of daily physical activity patterns that are profoundly different from those for which we are genetically adapted. The ancestral natural environment in which our current genome was forged via natural selection called for a large amount of daily energy expenditure on a variety of physical movements. Our genes that were selected for in this arduous and demanding natural milieu enabled our ancestors to survive and thrive, leading to a very vigorous lifestyle. This abrupt (by evolutionary time frames) change from a very physically demanding lifestyle in natural outdoor settings to an inactive indoor lifestyle is at the origin of many of the widespread chronic diseases that are endemic in our modern society. The logical answer is to replicate the native human activity pattern to the extent that this is achievable and practical. Recommendations for exercise mode, duration, intensity, and frequency are outlined with a focus on simulating the routine physical activities of our ancient hunter-gatherer ancestors whose genome we still largely share today. In a typical inactive person, this type of daily physical activity will optimize gene expression and help to confer the robust health that was enjoyed by hunter-gatherers in the wild.

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