We all see fitness gurus posting about extreme workout routines to show how intense they are, and even I can be guilty of this. I must admit, I love being in excellent shape, and if I am going to take the time to exercise, I figure, why not make it intense? I want to get the most out of my time, all the time. Exercise for basic survival is more my speed.
One thing I do understand from coaching the world’s top executives and entrepreneurs is that this is not for everyone. Not everyone is into extreme fitness, nor do they want to hear or learn about it. In reality, they don’t need it either. So the question is: “How much exercise is necessary for basic survival?”
Ancestors + Genetic Need for Exercise
When we look back at our ancestors, you don’t need to study rocket science to realize that they moved a whole lot more than we do today. They foraged for food, farmed the land, chased the wildebeest, and traveled to get water. A lot of moving (exercise) was essential for basic survival.
In striking contrast, people today barely move. We walk from the house to the car, car to office, office to car, then…it’s T.V. time! This certainly doesn’t represent my life, but the lives of many. Human beings genetically require movement; it is the foundation of our basic blueprint as a species. Research from Dr. Ornish shows that lifestyle changes that include exercise actually changes genetic expression (epigenetics.) Therefore, we know physical activity is obligatory for our genes to express health, otherwise disease manifests.
The Basic Requirement
The most thorough review of the benefits of the basic exercise needed for the human species was written by Booth et al. in 2002. The researchers state that exercise is a genetic requirement for human beings to express health and prevent illness. In this article, they also make it clear that chronic illness is not a result of bad genes, but rather living a sedentary lifestyle.
When you break down the amazing results from all of the studies covered in this review, most are based on a 30-minute brisk walk daily. For all of you who are looking for the bare minimum, a 30-minute brisk walk it is! That is all you need to exercise for basic survival! I will tell you this though: the research shows that the benefits of exercise are dose responsive. This means that the more you do, the better off you are. Let’s get into the major highlighted benefits of this 30-minute walk:
Proven Benefits of Walking
• Decrease rate of aging
• Enhance learning by 12x
• Increase growth and healing hormones
• Prevent 91% of obesity and Type 2 Diabetes cases
• Prevent 50% of all heart disease
• Reduce stroke by 25-30%
• Normalize blood pressure
• Reduce risk of breast cancer by 60%
• Reduce skin cancer by 72%
• Prevent 50% of colon cancer
• Increase immune system function
This list could continue, but I feel that I have adequately highlighted that there are major benefits. As state above, these benefits are based on a 30 minutes of brisk walking daily. Recall that the research states that exercise is dose responsive, so by doing more than the “bare minimum”, you’re more likely to yield greater benefits. But exercise for basic survival is a great way to start!
Humans are designed for motion. Our modern lifestyle is starkly juxtaposed with our innate need to move. And without motion, disease silently creeps in. This is why it’s imperative to make this basic requirement of 30 minutes of brisk walking daily. Work this into your schedule – you deserve to be healthy. Exercise for basic survival!