3 Million Years
3 million years of evolution has produced an animal whose natural environment probably consisted of walking the distance of a full marathon each and every single day*. Now take that animal (also known as a "human being"), and stick him in a small cage, rob him of natural sunlight, make him sit in a chair all day and feed him a steady supply of chemicals and refined foods.
Is it any wonder that 60% of North Americans are over weight? Described by the World Health Organization as an "escalating epidemic", obesity is "one of the greatest neglected public health problems of our time with an impact on health which may well prove to be as great as smoking." Being overweight leads to many serious medical problems like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and many other health related issues.
An unnatural sedentary lifestyle causes chemical imbalances in our bodies which can lead to a host of psychological problems. Population studies have shown an inverse relationship between physical activity and depression, and there is evidence that active people who become inactive are more at risk of depression that those who remain active. According to a study from Duke University, aerobic exercise was MORE effective than antidepressant drugs in treating depressive symptoms in three study groups.
The cause of the obesity epidemic and skyrocketing rates of depression is obvious in my opinion. We need to become reacquainted with our "natural environment". Break out of your cage. Get outside and get ACTIVE! Ride your bike, run, walk, swim, climb - whatever it takes.
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* this refers to a Columbia University study published in early 2005 that suggested "you would have to walk 5.7 hours a day over fields and hills to approximate the energy expenditure of early humans". I have looked for the actual study, but all I could find was many references to it on the internet.
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