Caveman Habits vs Modern Lifestyle: Which is Better?

Caveman Habits vs Modern Lifestyle: Which is Better?

 

In our current modern lifestyle, we are surrounded by so much comfort and automation that we forget how our bodies are supposed to move. The conveniences of modern life have been designed to reduce the stress on our bodies. However, is this necessarily good for our body?

 

In the past, our hunter-gatherer ancestors used to walk for miles to forage for wild plants and hunt for wild animals. Their daily life consisted of a large amount of light-to-moderate activity, with intermittent bursts of moderate-to-high level activity. Such an active lifestyle helped them to use their entire body’s muscles frequently, training and toning them up to be stronger to resist injury.

 

In this article, we nail down some caveman practices versus modern lifestyle habits which affect our human body for the better or the worse.

3 caveman habits that will make your body stronger

 

(1) Go barefoot

 

Photo: Jordan Whitt on Unsplash.com

 

Most shoes today come with arch support that reduces the effort your foot’s ligaments and muscles have to do to hold up the natural arch in your foot. This has led to a greater occurrence of flat feet, where the foot’s arch does not develop properly or collapses completely. Flat feet can cause improper movements in your ankle, knee, and hips, which may result in joint pain. The solution? Try going barefoot more often and avoid wearing slippers or shoes while inside the house.

 

(2) Sit on hard surfaces

 

Photo: Rawpixel.com

 

Our modern day solution to a sedentary work life is to actually get even more comfortable. Ergonomic chairs and comfortable recliners provide support to every part of your body when you sit, but this means that your abdominal and back muscles don’t do much work. You start to lose muscle fibers, particularly the slow-twitch fibers that are important for endurance. To avoid this, sit on hard straight-backed chairs with minimal cushioning more often.

 

(3) Train your glutes

 

Photo: 123RF

 

Our caveman ancestors could sit comfortably for long hours on rocks and stumps, but the modern man and woman would find this pretty uncomfortable. The caveman’s secret is their toned gluteal muscles — the group of muscles which make up the buttocks. The gluteal muscles serve as cushions that make sitting on any surface comfortable. The next time you go to the gym, focus on training the glutes. Not only will strong glutes make it more comfortable to sit on hard surfaces, it will also increase your athleticism and help to improve your balance.

3 modern habits that may harm your body more than you think

 

(1) The higher the heels, the shorter the calves

Photo: 123RF

 

Your high heels should be kept for special occasions. Wear them too regularly and your calf muscles shorten because they are no longer being stretched. Short, tight calves can lead to all sorts of problems for your lower leg, ankle, and feet. In addition, the spine’s natural alignment is affected, as your lower back is pushed forward, and over time this may result in back pain.

 

(2) Sitting too much

Source: 123RF

What can cause a hunch? Sitting too much. This is because prolonged sitting flexes your hips and knees at right angles, which shortens your hip flexor muscles. When you stand with permanently shortened hip flexors, your body compensates by hunching your shoulders forwards. Stretching regularly after every hour of sitting or taking up yoga is a good way to lengthen your muscles. Alternatively, try working at a standing desk to engage all your muscles and burn more calories while working.

 

(3) Living a sedentary lifestyle

 

Source: Burst on Pexels.com

 

Picture your daily routine — how active are you when going about your daily activities? Chances are, not much. We are surrounded by daily and modern comforts such as cars (which replace walking), escalators and elevators (which replace climbing the stairs), rolling suitcases and baby strollers (which replaces carrying things on our back). It has been scientifically proven that a lifetime of a sedentary way of life and poor diet may result in chronic lifestyle diseases such as heart disease or diabetes. The solution? Incorporate more activity like walking in your daily routine (aim for 8,000-10,000 steps). The best full body activity would be hiking and it is not a bad idea to carry a moderate load on your back while doing so.

 

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References:

  1. The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health, and Diseaseby Daniel E. Liebermann
  2. https://www.paleofx.com/5-posture-blunders-ruin-paleo-lifestyle/
  3. https://www.marksdailyapple.com/the-characteristics-of-hunter-gatherer-fitness/
  4. https://news.azpm.org/p/news-topical-health/2018/8/14/135007-ua-researcher-looks-to-hunter-gatherer-sitting-posture-to-understand-back-pain/
  5. http://frugaling.org/hunter-gatherers-vs-21st-century-desk-sitters/
  6. https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2015/06/08/412314701/lost-posture-why-indigenous-cultures-dont-have-back-pain

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