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WHAT EXERCISE AND HOW MUCH

Here we examine publications by the UK, EU and USA governments that propose guidelines for "What exercise and how much".
We then examine the estimated food gathering workload of our hunter-gatherer ancestors through recent academic studies.
Finally, we note the close correlation between the current guidelines and the hours used by our ancestors for food gathering, and tentatively propose that our bodies are still locked in the past. We have not had enough time for our bodies to adapt to our new 20 and 21st century lifestyles.

Here are the minimum recommendationsfrom the Centre of Disease Control (USA) the National Health Service (UK) has similar recommendations as does the European Union (EU):

These recommendations of general stretching moving execises with bursts of aerobic intensity amount to about 12 hours of varied exercise per week (2 * 2.5 hours + 2 * 1.25 hours + 2 * 2.0 hours equals 11.5 hours).

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN

Lee back in 1968 estimated that contemporary hunter gatherers, Kung Bushman, spend about 12 to 19 hours per week in food getting activities. Whilst Woodburn noted the Hazda people obtain sufficient food with relative ease. They spend less time and energy in obtaining subsistence than do their agricultural neighbours. Now for sure some hunter gatherers at some time will have spent far more time food getting, although they would probably have moved to an area with more plentiful l resources. And we are extrapolating backwards from contemporary hunter gatherers to those some 30,000 years ago; Elwell in a slide lecture touches on this extrapolation.

What is interesting to our hypothesis is that Lee's observation of the activities of contemporary hunter gatherers collecting food for a minimum of about 12 hours per week roughly coincides with the recommendations of the CDC, HHS, EU above.

So for us the reason we need to exercise is because of our hunter gatherer origins and the type of exercise we need to do must roughly mimic our past.

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