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As a follow-up to yesterday’s post, check out this awesome video of women finding movement that they enjoy – namely, playing soccer (or futbol to the rest of the globe).


From their coach: “many of the team members used to walk with sticks before the team started, but have now thrown them away and can run 200 meters without resting.”


How cool is that?


The Upper Paleolithic Periods of the Stone Age and is a prehistoric era from about 40,000-8,000 years ago. During this period humans grouped together in small societies of 25-100 people, and subsisted by gathering plants and hunting or scavenging wild animals.


Researchers have studied activity patterns from  those who lived in that time and found that these hunter-gatherers engaged in several days of fairly intensive physical activity followed by days of rest and light activity. Men would hunt for 1-4 days consecutively each week and women gathered every 2-3 days. Other movement types identified include: tool making, butchering, food preparation, carrying firewood and water, and moving to new campsites. Interesting, dances that lasted hours, were identified as a major recreational activity in many cultures! Does anyone else think that’s really cool like I do?!?!


Why is this important? We still possess late Paleolithic, pre-agricultural hunter-gatherer genes. Therefore, we’ve inherited genes for physical activity, as physical activity was necessary for our ancestor’s survival. However, in our society where food is abundant, for many, movement is no longer obligatory for survival and this creates problems.


A sedentary lifestyle disrupts how our cells speak to each other which affects the types of proteins our genes produce. Thus, physical INACTIVITY becomes an initiating factor in the molecular mechanisms of disease, which is likely the reason why being sedentary is associated with a higher incidence of chronic conditions. In fact, physical inactivity affects at least 20 of the most chronic and deadly medical disorders as these conditions share common genetic inheritances that were supported by physical activity. When physical activity diminished, chronic health conditions occurred.




Breast cancer

Sedentary females, compared with physically active women, are less likely to have primary and secondary anenorrhea, delayed menarche, and irregular cycles, all associated with a reduced development of breast cancer. 

Colon cancer

Physical inactivity was the risk factor most consistently shown to be associated with the increased risk of colon cancer. A 50 percent reduction in the incidence of this disease was found in those with the highest level of physical activity.

Pancreatic cancer

Walking or hiking less than 20 minutes a week was associated with twice the risk of pancreatic cancer when compared with those who performed the exercise for more than four hours a week. 


Sedentary men and women had a ~55-75 %, respectively, higher incidence of melanoma than those exercising 5-7 days a week. 

Heart / arterial disease

Undertaking a moderate-intensity physical activity would prevent 250,000 deaths each year, 12 percent attributed to these medical conditions. 

Congestive heart failure

Exercise may improve the condition of people afflicted with this disorder; physical inactivity may be a determinate factor to their time of death.


Tests found that inactivity led to blood pressures in sedentary individuals being substantially higher than in those who were active.


Physical activity lowers blood pressure, facilitates weight loss, and decreases the chance for Type 2 diabetes, a major cause of strokes. 

Type 2 diabetes

Most of the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes in the US can be attributed to a change in lifestyle that involves a genome evolved from a Paleolithic lifestyle. Cultures that still have hunter-gatherers have low incidence of this disease. 


Sedentary individuals can lower their risk of many disorders by increasing their physical activity, regardless of whether they are normal or overweight. 


Appropriate exercise, both therapeutic and recreational, is an effective therapy in the successful management of this disorder. The benefits are flexibility, muscular conditioning, and cardiovascular and general health. 

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Exercise for patients with this disorder minimizes loss in muscle strength but not in bone loss. 


Have you moved today?


Citation: Booth, 2002. J Appl Physiol




Hat tip to Marion Nestle whose blog alerted us to this piece by Marissa Guggiana (President of Sonoma Direct Meats) in the Spring 2010 issue of edible Marin & Wine Country.


Now, slaughtering animals might not be considered polite dinner conversation, but perhaps it should be. The fact of the matter is that finding affordable, humane, environmentally friendly, and regulation-compliant ways for small or local farmers to be able to kill and process their animals for consumption is a huge problem. According to Ms. Guggiana, the lack of local slaughtering options in Northern California is at a crisis point.


This is important because animals deserve to be treated humanely.
This is important because local food is not quite as local if it has to be shipped many miles for processing.
This is important because shipping animals and resulting products many miles to large processors can decrease quality and increase risk of contamination.
This is important because without reasonable options for processing, local meat industries will collapse.


So, what can you do? First, you can support your local farmers. Buy from them. Talk to them. Ask them about the main challenges that their businesses face. Second, the article invites you to contact the folks involved in these efforts at: or Tell them you want to help in some way. Tell them Dan’s Plan sent you.

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