Exercise and Health… The Connection of Movement and Food
When you hear that exercising and health are connected, what are those people really saying? Sure, they are connected, but why does it matter? It matters because of the regulatory and mechanistic responses that come with exercise and movement.
There is a bell-shaped curve that exists when drawing the correlation between Exercise and Health. What I mean is that on one end Sedentary (No Exercise) correlates with Poor Health. As movement becomes more intense and more frequent, your vibrant health returns. This exists up to a certain point (the peak of the bell shape) on the graph. If you continue to increase either the frequency or the intensity at this point, your health begins to decline towards a condition of Poor Health again.
By imagining the bell-shaped graph above, you can see that the correlation and connection between Exercise and Health are a bit clearer. However, this doesn’t explain anything; it simply states that there is a connection between exercise and health held within a couple of boundaries (low, high, low graph points to create a bell-shape or rounded triangle shape).
There is one limitation to the simplicity of the previously imagined “graph.” One must understand the subtleties of the graph to have a true understanding of the detailed connection. To keep it simple and generally speaking though, health gets better the more you move. With that, you can either stop reading, or you can follow along for some of those subtleties that exist within the bell-shaped “graph.”
As a species known for its intellect, humans became excellent in hunting and gathering strategies. We learned to hunt in packs favoring social behaviors because it was easier to kill food for the community in a team setting. We learned how to make baskets to carry back vegetation for the community and herbs for medical therapy. We learned how to use heat to cook foods and make them easier to digest. Humans used stone tools to make life easier. This paved the way for different cultures to do different things with similar tools, hence why it is wise to work in teams in today’s business world. As we became a higher intellect of species, we were able to gather information and analyze the trends throughout the information to better prepare for future events.
With a higher intelligence, the brain required more energy to perform daily tasks. This meant humans needed more food to provide for the increased energy demands of the brain. In addition to the brain’s higher demand, the body also had a higher demand for energy. One goal humans had was to learn how to finely tune the control of movements by making them fluid, which required significant amounts of energy on both the brain and muscular system of the body. For example, carrying bigger and heavier baskets intensifies the strength needed for the muscles to control the weight to gather foods. When using weapons to hunt animals, humans couldn’t afford to be clunky, clumsy, and sloppy. Finely tuned control over the entire muscular system to keep the body’s movement patterns quiet and stealthy was already difficult and highly energy consuming. When you add the masterful control needed over the heart rate during the hunt, it makes the whole thing a metabolic kingpin for energy usage on those particular days.
You may ask then that this energy they used must have come from some source, but where? It came from the foods they hunted and gathered. This is a simple, never-ending circle that can be viewed in either direction. Hunt/Gather = Food. Food = Energy. Energy = Hunt/Gather. Today’s humans have apparently forgotten how to hunt and gather, don’t know where and when to hunt and gather, or don’t know what to hunt/gather. It’s pretty sad, the more you think about it. There are quite a few people that could not survive very long if they moved “off the grid” and disconnected from just about all of today’s technology.
Daily activities, or light intensity exercise (metabolically speaking), consisted of making tools and maintaining the camp throughout the day as well as walking to gather foods or even taking care of the infant rolling around on the floor.
The more moderate intensity movement came from those that climbed trees to bring down fruits and nuts or had to sprint after an animal to capture it.
Even more resisted exercise came after the kill and they had to drag the animal and heavy baskets back to the tribe for consumption and preservation. Since we needed energy every day to perform activities and to repair damaged tissue during sleep, you can see how the daily movements, or “exercise”, are heavily connected to health and immunity.
In order to exercise most effectively and efficiently in today’s world, one must attempt to replicate game-like scenarios. Obviously, you cannot go back and review the game tape of how our ancestors lived, but eating more whole foods, creating healthy movement patterns, and finding a sense of Nature will be enough to replicate the types of movement patterns and the ways of eating from thousands of years ago. This is what our Genes and DNA is used to, so it would be best if you got back to old world living, so to speak. Otherwise, you are going to favor inflammation, dis-ease, and pain.
So, how do we replicate game-day situations? Well, we need extended periods of light intensity movement and daily bursts of moderate to high intense energy. The moderate to high intense energy use is right around 30-60 minutes of lifting and moving heavy objects to different locations possibly in combination with a burst of running.
Basically, it’ll take 10-15 minutes to get to a good consistent sweat going and one needs to maintain the consistent sweat for 20-30 minutes. The rest of the day should be filled with plenty of endurance or light intensity work, consisting of household activities, playing with kids, singing, dancing, or walking. The combination of all of these intensities over a period of a week, a month, a year will continue to add to better health.
If your goal is to be a beautiful human being, eating foods in their untouched and natural state in addition to all of the movements patterns and their respective intensity levels will aid in your journey to better health. Stay tuned for more on this connection, as I will return with a Part 2. Part 2 will be more in depth regarding the connection between Exercise and Health and discussed from the second side of the equation: nutrition. Since I spoke about how humans hunted and gathered their food, meaning they used energy to get energy, Part 2 will go into detail on which foods were probably hunted and gathered and why.
As for now, what are your thoughts on the connection between exercise and health?