Photo by Andre Hunter on Unsplash

We are programmed to be unhappy and lazy. 

Ha! Quite a way to start a post, right? Don’t worry, this won’t be depressing, well, hopefully. 

50,000 years ago, when humans were hunter gatherers, they would routinely get 4 hrs of intense physical exercise, foraging for food, gathering water, hunting animals, building shelter, etc. 

The rest of their time was spent resting. 

Early humans didn’t workout. They didn’t “exercise.” They just lived, because they had to. 

Our brains are programmed to survive and procreate. They are optimized for comfort and convenience. This is unfortunately what “progress,” as defined by popular culture, usually entails. 

“What if we had a way to deliver food right to our door…” take-out. 

“What if we had a way to deliver food right to our door from OUR PHONE!” Uber Eats, Grubhub, etc.

“What if we never had to call anyone and we could instead send a message through our phone?” texting.

“What if instead of going to the DMV, we could renew our license online?” online service kiosk. 

You get my point. And, some of these, if not all, are actually pretty awesome. I love technology, probably too much, and if utilized appropriately as a TOOL, then it absolutely is progress. 

Too often though, this is what happens. We order food as it’s more convenient, eat more than our body needs, and repeat this process over and over again, because the effects are not immediate. 

There are no more constraints with energy intake (food) and there is no incentive to be physically active. 

That’s the crux of the problem. Walkable cities would help with that (see THIS post from a few days ago), but we’d still have these problems in much of the developed world. 

If we have unlimited food and the gratification is immediate, why in the world (based on our reptilian brains) would we choose to be physically active when we don’t need to be (in the immediate sense)? 

It makes perfect sense why people struggle with “getting more exercise,” even though they know they “should.” Our logical brain is trying to convince our reptilian brain that it should do something that we were genetically programmed to NOT do. 

Why in the world would it make sense to our reptilian brain to physically exert if it wasn’t for precious resources to keep us alive!!

And this is the predicament we find ourselves in. So, to those of you who choose to exercise and be physically active, knowing that you are benefitting your future self in health and longevity, I salute you. 

For those of you who struggle, just know that it makes total sense why it’s so hard. You are being held down and shackled by societals’ forward march towards comfort and convenience and the genetic pre-programming of your brain. 

Sometimes knowing the problem allows one to make the change needed. I hope that’s what will happen for you. 

You can reprogram, it’s possible.