Fighting Dysevolution


We all know that things evolve. People, animals, we all adapt. We make the best of our surroundings. We tend to stick with things that we discover are of benefit to us, while we dump other ideas that have little-to-no impact on our lives. The wheel, for example, has proven pretty important. Google+, on the other hand…where did that go?

Adaptation is a part of life.

It’s a part of being alive.

However, you might not have heard of the term “dysevolution.” I certainly hadn’t until recently, when I stumbled upon an article from Discover magazine. Harvard researcher (and all-around advocate of motion, specifically barefoot running) Daniel Lieberman suggests that modern-day humans are dysevolving, and at a fairly rapid rate. And, as a result, we are now faced with “mismatched” disorders and conditions that our ancestors never dealt with. Things like diabetes, back pain, asthma, and hypertension are all common mismatched disorders that were once unheard of.

You see, we’re designed to move. Movement is key to our metabolic system staying at a high rate. The higher the metabolic rate, the healthier the individual. However, the more sedentary the person, the slower the metabolic rate, and the sicker the person, including those illnesses Lieberman describes as mismatched disorders.

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Our hunter-gatherer ancestors had no history of diabetes. They all slept well, and in fact, naps were a common occurrence as a way to storehouse energy for hunting. They lived, by and large, fairly health lives. The reason? Movement. They had to stay in motion or they died. They would literally starve to death. They had to go out, kill it, drag it home, and eat it in order to survive. The byproduct of all that movement? Their metabolic system was firing on all cylinders. And, they were generally healthy.

The article’s author states that our bodies are maladapted for modern life, and I have to agree. Our modern, largely sedentary, lifestyles are wreaking havoc on our bodies. Of course, life isn’t all doom and gloom. We have better technologies, medicines, procedures, etc. But we also have fewer P.E. classes, less recess, and fewer motion breaks throughout our work day.

It makes me wonder if those technologies, medicines, and procedures aren’t creating worse motion habits and patterns, making us sicker, rather than healthier. Sadly, I believe our diminished motor patterns have a chance to override all the so-called advances we have made in the health and wellness industry.

It’s time we get up, get moving, and get healthy! We have to reverse the dysevolution process!

QUESTION: How much do you move throughout your day?