Why We Need Exercise In The Modern Age


You hear, read, and see the many reports about the numerous benefits of exercise. Exercise is an important piece of the puzzle for a healthy body. Lets back up a bit to the underlying reason why it is the main mode of achieving better health. Okay, let’s back up a couple of hundred years.

Hunter-gathers day-to-day survival involved using a large amount of energy.  The energy spent included:  hunting and sprinting after animals for long distances, walking miles to find water, lifting and carrying objects. This physical aspect of everyday life was a necessity. If a food was not found or, proper resources gathered it was a matter of life and death.

The terrain had to be either tackled or a way around difficult points was found. Thus, various inclines, declines, and uneven ground were traveled over. Children were not pushed around in convenient strollers. Mothers typically carried their children up to age 4 and would carry their children for many miles as they foraged and walked to and from sources of food, water and wood. It is also important to point out that hunter-gathers were outside, benefiting from Vitamin D from sunlight. Among many of the benefits of Vitamin D – it is critical for building bone.

This necessity of hunter-gatherer’s lives to move, lift, sprint, run, walk and other movements are something that we do not have today. Unless you have a garden in your backyard, you don’t experience labor involved in getting them from farm to your table. Other food we consume we largely do not have to expend a large amount of energy to put into our refrigerator. We can be sedentary and for the most part, the main exchange for that good or service is money.

What they called everyday life we call exercise. We call it CrossFit, Orangetheory, 24 Hour Fitness, Outdoor Boot-camps, running or body-weight exercises. The list goes on. All and others are great options to contribute to a healthier body. One may suit you better than another. However do not forget to think outside the box and mix it up if you are bored or want to change things up and cross-train.  For example, think about what is involved in gardening. Movements such as squatting, digging, lifting, rotational movements, pulling and often carrying uneven objects. Especially for older adults such activity can contribute to heart attack risk. Another example is going for a hike. It may seem like a simple activity. It may seem like that because you are not getting your workout clothes on and stepping in a specified workout environment. However, the benefits from hiking on uneven ground and various terrain include muscle strength, cardio-respiratory fitness and weight control.

You want the characteristics of a hunter-gather fitness program in your exercise regimen. As previously stated, it does not have to be one specific type of exercise. Thus, such a program includes light to moderate activity such as walking, easier days after hard days, walking & running on natural surfaces and strength training all examples of what one should strive for.

The modern society does not have to exert much physical energy to get food, water or other items. Be that as it may exercise as if your life depends on it…because in a sense it does.


Achieving hunter-gatherer fitness in the 21(st) century: back to the future – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20843503

Vitamin D and Health – https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamin-d/

Gardening as good as exercise in cutting heart attack risk – https://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/oct/28/gardening-exercise-cutting-heart-attack-risk-diy-60-plus

The Many Benefits of Hiking – http://www.active.com/outdoors/articles/the-many-benefits-of-hiking



Damien Joyner
Damien A. Joyner is a personal trainer & owner of Incremental Fitness that trains with the spirit of a competitor. He has experience training for and competing in obstacle course races, namely he has finished at the top 15 percentile overall and in the male division at the Men’s Health Urbanatholon. If you check out the main website for the race chances are you will find him in the promotion slideshow tackling an obstacle. Understanding the benefits of teamwork & stepping outside ones comfort zone he challenges himself every year in the non-competitive team endurance event led by those with Special Forces and similar military backgrounds that lasts 10-12 hours covering 15-20 miles - Goruck Tough.