Human beings, like all lifeforms, are in a constant state of evolution, passing along minor revisions and amendments to our physical makeup through our genetics to future generations, like script editors hashing out the perfect screenplay for Human Beings: The Movie. It’s a slow and complicated process that takes millennia (it took approximately 6 million years for fully formed humans to develop), but humankind has historically shown itself to be more than capable of adapting to its environment.
The trouble came when we got a little bit too good at it, to the point when we stopped accepting the limitations of nature and started crafting a man-made environment. Centuries later, our many technical advances have resulted in a whole new range of 21st century health problems. We’ve developed so quickly, evolution hasn’t had a chance to catch up. Consider, for example, our massive consumption of cow’s milk despite the fact that the human digestive system is only able to assimilate its nutrients in 25% of the population. As much as we try and keep ourselves healthy and active, there are some ways in which the modern lifestyle is proving ruinous to our overall health.
Too much sitting
We get out of bed, sit and eat breakfast, sit in the car, get to work, sit at a desk, sit, and eat lunch, come home, sit and watch TV for a while then sit down to dinner before going to bed. That’s a lot of sitting! Sitting for long periods is proven to be damaging to your health. While we’ve sat on chairs throughout human history, rarely have we spent quite so much much time sitting in them. Sitting is (anthropologically speaking) a relatively new configuration for our bodies to which we’re not yet completely accustomed. Spending too long sitting can lead to some pretty severe health problems, increasing your risk of muscular and skeletal disorders, obesity, diabetes and even cancer and heart disease. Walking or cycling to work and getting up for a quick walk every half hour or so can help to mitigate the damage.
Our eyes have not developed to accommodate the glowing rectangles of light that we dedicate so much of our day staring into. All that exposure to televisions, computer monitors, tablets and smartphones can take a toll if you don’t buy computer glasses to help mitigate the damage. Otherwise you can expect tired, dry and irritable eyes as well as neck and upper back pain.
Unnatural eating patterns
There was a time when we had to roam, forage and hunt for our food, grazing on what we found as we went along. That was a long time ago, but our physiology didn’t get the memo. We’re usually conditioned to defer our eating until our breakfast lunch and dinner but in so doing we can give ourselves low blood sugar which causes us to crave sugary, fatty and salty processed foods. Regular snacking and eating whole, unprocessed foods will not only prevent you from making poor dietary choices but ensure that we get the nutrition that will allow you to be at your best all day long.