Some of the most revealing discoveries I learned in reviewing neuroscience and exercise over the years are about stress, the value of sprinting, the aging process, and building the brain. But there has been no more humbling—and thrilling—revelation for me than what evolution has given us. As a medical doctor and clinical scientist, it’s easy for me to see the body through an evolutionary lens, but to realize the full impact of the gifts that we have developed over the millennia has instilled a whole new reverence.
When approaching exercise in this light, we are able to access the gifts that we have. Most of what we know in human biology starts with us learning about our predecessors, the plants and animals that came before us. For many of us our physiology research begins with our cutting open frogs in biology class. Along the way we hopefully grasp genetics, cause and effect of toxins, training, learning, and navigating social networks. Nature has been our guide and we need to learn to access and develop our evolved internal supply of repair and growth mechanisms.
Prolonging life, or being the evolutionary victor, is all about managing fuel. We developed our human genes on the plains as hunter-gatherers for about 400,000 years or so but in the last 10,000 years we have zoomed ahead of our genes, radically so in the past 50 years. We have won everything our genes were looking to help us with. We have sprinted to the finish line and I hope we do not drown in our own glory. Today we have the ability to control our lives to such a dramatic extent, that it is with danger that I look toward the future. In short, we’re ignoring our genes. Our genes are there to support us moving all the time, preparing for long stretches of famine, and unpredictable changes in our food supply. This doesn’t happen much anymore and we are too well fed and, making matters worse, too sedentary. We’ve become cyber slaves to an easy life, and we don’t have to move much at all. Our clickers and videos entertain us and keep us in our seats and we have become too sedentary and solitary, my two big soapbox issues. It is easy to retreat and take it easy. This blog will try to be an updated forum on new studies, personal experiences and thoughts that we can all share.