Are you moving around enough? The takeaway from a new study of modern day hunter gatherers, the Hadza, is that our bodies need and respond to the kind of physical demands that these tribespeople still engage in most days.
It’s not too surprising that they move a lot, typically more than two hours a day. The men walk briskly searching for game animals off and on most days, and the women find, dig up, heft and prepare fruits, vegetables and other foods.
But, the vast majority of their activities are moderate. The tribespeople rarely run or are otherwise vigorously active.
They remain active, well into middle age and beyond, even those in their 70s moving as much as or more than the young.
The tribespeople have enviable heart health. The Hadza typically present low blood pressure and excellent cholesterol profiles across their life spans.
Some of their cardiovascular health is no doubt a result of diet, but the data intimate that the Hadzas’ active lifestyle, consisting of plenty of walking, lifting and generally being up and doing, helps to protect their hearts against disease.
Other parts of the Hadzas’ lives remain difficult and chancy. There’re real risks for untreated infections and illnesses, accidental deaths and no access to dental care.
These are risks that people in the industrial world have mitigated. But we now have the diseases of civilization which we might also be able to mitigate by following the Hadzas’ tendency of moving for a couple of hours a day. And it doesn’t have to be necessarily intense or hard.
I’ve excerpted the information above from a recent NYT article about recent studies of the Hadza people.