Pondering what Nature selected as advantageous in our long existence as hunter-gatherers helps us understand why walking and occasional short bursts of intensive exercise together yield the vast majority of the benefits of exercise/fitness.
What if there was a way to get rich by merely investing a modest amount of money weekly? Who wouldn’t want to join the program? Our health is our only real wealth, and fitness is like the modest investment that yields multiples of the investment made.
Since our culture is based on commerce and marketing, extreme sports are front and center: professional athletes, daredevils performing insanely dangerous stunts, oldsters running marathons, and so on.
The subtext of this media coverage implies that athletics and fitness are unattainable by us average people who have neither the time nor inclination to pursue extreme training.
This media glorification leaves a lot of decidedly unglorious reality out of the picture. Extreme training often leads to extreme injuries–but you won’t see any injuries except in carefully edited stories in which an extreme athlete recovers from a horrendous accident by sheer willpower and arduous training.
Left out are those who don’t recover despite their willpower and arduous training.
Scientific research is giving us a much more realistic, practical and attainable understanding of increasing and maintaining a level of fitness that yields tremendous health benefits with relatively modest effort.
As discussed in a previous blog post (The “Miracle Cure”: Walking), we’re selected/engineered to walk, and so the simple inclusion of walking in our lives yields enormous benefits in everything from mental health, lowering our risk of dementia, strenghening our immune response and so on.
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