After years of sedentary living, many people unknowingly suffer from movement restrictions from short, weak and poorly balanced muscles and ligaments. Thinking about it, these people might realize that they are not as flexible as they were as a kid, or not as strong as they were in their 20’s but accept it as a natural part of life. Studies of our ancestors indicate that these age-related health declines might not be that natural after all.
Many anthropological scientists suggest that our gene where selected during an era of obligatory physical activity. The survival of our Palaeolithic ancestors depended on hunting and gathering. A sedentary lifestyle in such an environment probably meant starvation and death. Similarly, early agricultural societies were much more physically active than we generally are today. The shift towards a more sedentary society only began with the industrial revolution, a little more than 100 years ago.
In this sense, our genes are maladapted to current modern living, resulting in physical degeneration or chronic westernized diseases. Studies show that chronic diseases and premature aging such as heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, osteoporosis, muscle wasting, diabetes, and some cancers are virtually unknown in hunter-gatherer societies, even in those individuals that are over 60 years of age. These observations are consistent in studies of medical records from early explorers as well as studies of current hunter-gatherer societies.