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Thread: Hunter-gatherer past shows fragile bones result from inactivity since start of farmin

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    Default Hunter-gatherer past shows fragile bones result from inactivity since start of farmin

    University of Cambridge
    December 22, 2014

    New research across thousands of years of human evolution shows that our skeletons have become much lighter and more fragile since the invention of agriculture -- a result of our increasingly sedentary lifestyles as we shifted from foraging to farming.

    The new study, published today in the journal PNAS, shows that, while human hunter-gatherers from around 7,000 years ago had bones comparable in strength to modern orangutans, farmers from the same area over 6,000 years later had significantly lighter and weaker bones that would have been more susceptible to breaking.

    Read more: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...cienceDaily%29
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    Veteran Member Reesacat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hunter-gatherer past shows fragile bones result from inactivity since start of fa

    Umm...farming is hard physical work......and there were dietary shifts in increased grain consumption and using milk.
    The primal people would say some of the loss of bone density is dietary and there wasn't that much difference in activity between hunter-gatherers and early farmers.

    I do agree we need more physical activity.

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    Default Re: Hunter-gatherer past shows fragile bones result from inactivity since start of fa

    I have read varying anthropological accounts of the activity level and daily routines in both Paleolithic and Neolithic societies; It's one of the areas that fascinates me. This article presents an interesting example but I'm not sure how typical it is or whether we can generalize from it. In some early societies the women walked all morning, maybe even much of the day, in search of edible plants, while the men were off on a hunt that may or may not prove successful. But these societies frequently enjoyed feast or famine. After a big kill, they might invite neighboring villages, would certainly eat to repletion, and possibly go several days on scant commons until there was another comparable kill.

    In Neolithic societies a division of labor evolved. The farmer classes were engaged in tilling the soil and yes, that was hard work, but there was not a lot of rhythmical walking involved. The elitist classes — the soldiers, the priests, the Chiefs — led a much more sedentary life because they were dependent on being fed by their serfs. This pattern is true wherever you look for it around the world. In the five Blue Zones that anthropologists identify today, one indisputable behavior they all share in common is a lot of walking.

    Although the article focuses on the activities we engaged in during our youth, I maintain (and I think I'm proof) that it is never too late to rebuild bone strength.
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    Default Re: Hunter-gatherer past shows fragile bones result from inactivity since start of fa

    Quote Originally Posted by Islander View Post
    I maintain (and I think I'm proof) that it is never too late to rebuild bone strength.
    I agree, Islander. Generalizing further, I'd say it's never to late to improve just about any area of health, in a natural way. Case in point: I have always, since babyhood, been very uncoordinated. I'd fall easily. I broke my ankle by jumping from about 5 feet off the ground (age 10), because I felt myself about to fall and reasoned that if I fell, I might get hurt, but if I jumped, I wouldn't, and on and on the stories go.

    Last week I was walking out the front door of my building. I had flip-flops on, as I was just going around the corner for bananas and coconuts. I allowed myself to be distracted by a couple who seemed to be consoling each other in the midst of some worry or sadness. I was looking at them and wondering what might be wrong, rather than looking where I was walking.

    I stubbed my big toe quite hard on a rather large rock embedded in the dirt along my path to the street. I began to fall--body inclined and moving forward, gathering momentum on its way to the sidewalk-less street--and somehow--don't ask me how--I managed to right myself. Onlookers rushed to hold me up and keep me from falling, but I was upright before they reached me. They all asked me if I was okay, if I hurt my toe, etc. And I was ok! I was astonished that I actually righted myself in the act of falling! And I really don't know how I did it. My body just reacted right somehow, as though of its own accord.

    I've been working out twice a week almost every week for the last 9 months. Besides the almost 100% reduction in knee and leg pain from the ostearthritis in my knees, I believe that I'm reaping many other benefits in many areas of my life, health, and body. I think not falling in this situation, where I think at any other time of my life I would have, is just one of them.
    .
    Strangely, I can hit higher notes singing now, too. Maybe that's because I breathe in a certain, regular pattern when I work out: Out through the mouth on the energy-expending part of the cycle, in through the nose on the opposite part.

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    Default Re: Hunter-gatherer past shows fragile bones result from inactivity since start of fa

    Quote Originally Posted by Reesacat View Post
    Umm...farming is hard physical work...
    My thoughts exactly. Nobody could call those early farmers, especially before the advent of tractors, etc., slackers! And they had to do it every day, from before sunrise to sunset. And their women--and even children--had plenty of work to keep them busy, too.

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    Default Re: Hunter-gatherer past shows fragile bones result from inactivity since start of fa

    Pattypans, the Okinawans (one of the Blue Zone groups) exemplify both behaviors. They walk out to their gardens every morning, sometimes as much as a mile away, and walk back at noon for lunch. After lunch it's back to the garden again. And they practice a habit whereby they eat only until they are 80% full. No wonder they lived active lives even as centenarians. I* say "lived" because Okinawa has become Westernized, including our SAD, fast-food diet. The old ways are gone. The younger generation, for the first time in history, will predecease their parents.
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