With all of the ruckus going on about the new Health Care Initiative, something even more important is getting little or no emphasis-PREVENTION! Health care is and should be an insurance policy, and like life insurance, you don’t want to really have to use it unless there is an emergency. The prevention should be starting with our children, and exercise/play time/recess is being eliminated from our school programs. There are even school districts that have banned games like ‘tag’ for fear of kids getting hurt. Are you kidding me? Worse yet, children as young as six are being diagnosed as depressed and given antidepressants. Isn’t a little stress, and depression, as well as feeling good and happy all part of finding out who we are as a person? I have a strong feeling that many of the kids (especially boys) who are labeled ADHD and put on medication, would become normal, happy boys if given some physical activity to release the pent-up energy. We are fighting our biological instincts by repressing physical activity.
From two million years ago, until the agricultural revolution 10,000 years ago, our ancestors were hunter-gatherers whose life was marked by periods of intense physical activity followed by periods of rest- it was feast or famine. Researchers studied the pattern of our ancestor’s physical activity during this period and published study results in 2002 in The Journal of Applied Physiology. They found that man on average walked five to ten miles/day, just to find food. It’s safe to say that today we don’t nearly expend that kind of energy to find food, and once we find it we don’t have to use our brains to get our next meal. This situation has only occurred during the last century or so, but it takes tens of thousands of years for our biology to evolve-according to Dr. John Ratey, there’s a mismatch between our lifestyle and our genes. “Human genes are thrifty by nature, so we end up stockpiling calories while we are at our desk.”
The whole point I’m trying to make is that by eating smart and including some brisk playtime acitivities for both kids and grownups, including good workouts, we can give our health the biggest helping hand it needs, and lower both health care costs and needs. Let’s get back to who we are as human beings-our ancestors would be proud.
Stay well, John R Blilie, M.S.