What a Caveman Can Teach You About Getting A Healthy Lifestyle
Gosh our lives suck compared to that of the caveman huh?
No I am not drinking or going crazy. And I am not one of those weird disillusioned artist that longs for life in another generation. I am all about facing problems and solving it, but if you really think about it for a second…our fast paced lifestyles flat out blow.
I know it is easy to believe that 8-12 hours of work, 4-8 hours of errands and family activities, and 3-6 hours of sleep is standard. Well it’s not. I think that is a craptastic lifestyle and so many of us are knee-deep in it.
The sad fact is we have been caught in a vortex of alarms, junk food offerings at the office, timed meetings, piling up frequent flyer miles for work, living in and out of Marriott’s, lost luggage, fast food, and quarterly deadlines that could mean your job. It is maddening.
We literally kill ourselves for others who often treat us like poop on a boot. This is probably the trade-off we face with innovation and advancement in life. We are so caught up on saving for retirement, finding the right person, getting the kids through college, and countless other stressors that we compromise our health. We procrastinate taking control of our life right now.
Instead our mind goes as fast as the New York minute world we live in, preparing for the next problem to tackle. While we put out each fire, we prolong taking care of our health. You say, “Someday I will get to me.” But life is too hectic and goes by too fast and the next thing you know you are old. As Brooks in Shawshank Redemption mentioned after getting out of jail where he spent most of his life, “The world went and got itself in a big damn hurry.”
Yes I have seen Midnight In Paris and I get how dangerous it can be to get nostalgic and not appreciate what you have. But what if we could learn a bit from our ancestors? They seemed to have some things right and a lot less to worry about. What if we could just possibly tweak a few things how we live today to get the best of both worlds? What if we can take the advancements of technology and medicine today while holding true to the art of living the way our ancestors did for 99% of our species’ existence?
Ok I am getting long-winded. Before I pass out, let’s dive into this. Let’s compare what our ancient ancestors have compared to what we have today and see how it can make our lives better today.
Our great, great grand-pappies and grand-mammies lived an interesting life. So let’s look at what were the pros and cons of their lives:
Cons of the Caveman
- No Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman:The cavemen and cavewomen had to live a pretty spotless life if they wanted to avoid early death. They didn’t have a lot of the safeguards that we do to help with injuries, diseases, or natural disasters.
- No Interwebs and DVR: Think of how hard it would be to talk about last night’s episode of The X Factor or that Eastern Conference Final Game 7. Things were slow to develop in understanding and keeping records because communication was limited, fragmented and slow to move.
- No GOP and DFL: Often we are talking about savagery and all-out WWE style living. You eat what you kill. Saying I loved you involved dragging your significant other into a cave and spreading your seed. There were no laws or protection of civil rights. There was also next to no voting, no taxes to deal with community issues, and no lobbyists. Oh wait, this might be a good thing.
- No Olive Garden: I think we can collectively take for granted the food on our plate. Back in the day they would have to first see the food eye to eye and often this meant killing it before it killed them. This means a lot of broken bones, blood, and bruises. Now for some of you that might be a normal family night at Golden Corral, so it might not be that far removed from our ancestors. But for the most part eating was not an easy task and required a lot of energy in order to get the food on your plate.
- No Banana Republic or Forever 21: Forever 21 was probably called “I Hope I Make It To 21”. The average age was 30-35 before death. This wasn’t because of poor health as much as it was because of the rough lifestyle. There was a lack of clothing and shelter. Not only did they have to kill their animals for food, but they had to pull a Buffalo Bill (Silence of the Lambs reference) with animal fur to stay warm through harsh winters.
- No Walk-In Closets: Not a lot of Lifestyles of The Rich And Famous going on here. Find a cave, hide under your wife during the rain, or put together some makeshift house that probably wouldn’t get solid marks on an appraisal. This also means no air conditioning (which is blowing on me as I write this) or heat during the winter.
Pros of the Caveman
- Less Work:These guys were getting employee of the week awards for pulling 10-15 hours. Yes I know for some of you that is a day’s work, but think about all the sleep and rock skipping they could do by working that much in a week. I agree I would go crazy working that little, but it is all relative. There is a reason we long for those days of laying on the couch and eating a box of chicken nuggets. It is in our freakin’ DNA! Now I am not saying being lazy is right, but just gnaw on that for a while as you look at that double booked Outlook calendar you tote around on your smartphone. They also didn’t get caught in a single skill set, they had flexibility to do a lot of things for trade. That could be good or bad depending on your lifestyle goals, but if variety is your thing, then a life as a dentist might not cut it.
- More Facebook Friends: Our ancestors had more time to also socialize, play games, and barter for babes. Think of this like a 20-30 year old retirement facility, or for some of you this just might be a normal day in mom and dad’s basement. They actually had a tight family unit back then, They faced stress, but it was more of a physical stress compared to the emotional stress we face today. Relationships are important for growth, happiness, etc. You got to find a +1. Isolation, which our society promotes intensely with each new Macbook and PC, leads to even more anxiety. Social networks can only go so far without getting personal contact with others. I remember living alone in a desolate town in Idaho for a year and never did I think more about my mortality than that year. It was depressing! I was glad to get out of that situation. I have nothing against Idaho. It was just I had little social interaction besides work. Physical interaction and building relationships is important for your health just as much as sleep, diet, and exercise.
- More Sleep: They were getting as much sleep as needed, often 8-10 hours and getting to bed early so they could get up at the butt crack of dawn to do fun tribal things like finding food and mating. They followed what their bodies were telling them to do. If their bodies told them to sleep, they would. If their bodies told them to get exercise, they would. If their bodies told them to eat…you get the point. That balance is hard for us to find unless you are a trust fund baby. Either we are killing ourselves training for the Olympics or we are watching as many hours of YouTube as possible.
- No TPS Reports: These people aren’t a part of a big machine with moving parts called a corporations where they put together the same widget 8 hours a day. They had flexibility, variety, and were rather adventurous.
- Xanax: While their stress tended to be more life threatening than ours (unless you have a dangerous occupation in the military, police force, secret agency, vendor at a sporting event, what have you), their stress was rather short lived. Even when they had stress, there were long intervals before the next stress event. They didn’t deal with looking like Kim Kardashian, losing their jobs, paying rent, fighting for Medicare, getting an education or any of those other things that tend to keep you up at night tossing and turning. In turn, the stress can lead to sickness, weight gain, and advanced aging.
- No Commute: Most of these cave people’s social circles were rather close or within traveling distance by foot. They didn’t have to contemplate traveling an hour every day to work and back, carpooling, taking a train, getting pulled over for speeding, bumper to bumper traffic, and construction that closes off your closest exit to home for the next month. It was easy.
How Does Cade Know this Stuff?
So how do we know this about these tribes? Well it is a bit shaky, but the closest examples we have are anthropology studies and potentially even more important are modern day tribes that are living similar lifestyles. Some of this information was taken from modern day tribes that are in remote locations without the advancements of technology and modern day medicine. Just watch National Geographic and you will get it.
Or if you are more about statistics, studies and data then I would suggest reading the content of Mark Sisson, Loren Cordain, and Robb Wolf. They talk extensively about it.
To Sum it Up
Again, whether you like it or not we have spent millions of years, 99% of our human existence, living like these ancient ancestors. That natural inclination for exploration, plenty of rest, growth, flexibility, and excitement is built into every cell of our bodies.
Why does this matter? As we get further into these healthy lifestyle posts, you will see not only have we genetically adapted to a caveperson lifestyle, but it is healthy for us to take on some of these attributes that they had. If you can do so, it will make a huge difference in breaking out from being a zombie and living a life you know you deserve.