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Want to live healthier? Eat like a caveman!

Think of all the illustrations that you’ve seen of cavemen over the years. They all had things in common. They were all long-haired, relatively unkempt, wore torn and ragged animal hides as clothing, carried a stick, hovered around a fire perhaps.

Aside from those facts is one detail that sticks out like Big Bird on Sesame Street. That one detail should mean a great deal to the world today and it may just be the trick to living a healthy life. What is it?

You’ve never seen a caveman who is not physically fit. Go ahead, find an illustration that is not a cartoon variance like the Flintstones that actually shows an unhealthy appearance of a caveman (or woman). I bet you can’t! It’s crazy! They didn’t have obesity and didn’t have disease the way we have it in modern times.

The “Oh Wow!” moment comes when you compare and contrast the physical stature of humans 200,000 years ago to humans today in modernized countries. We live in an unhealthy time.

In our business with Achieva Rehab, we see the end result of people abusing their bodies for many years. Pain, disease, weakness, posture changes etc. We think those things can be prevented.

So, why should we start thinking that the lifestyle of the caveman could give us some clues as to how to live longer and be more independent and mobile well into our golden years? Simple, they ate what was available to them from the land in plants, and they also ate meat from animals which they hunted.

Think about that - two things to digest here. One, they had to move in order to get their food or they would starve. When was the last time you hunted a steak or a hamburger? Movement is medicine and there is a great deal of proof out there that supports my assertion … the more you move, the healthier you will be. And the less you will require medical care. Your posture, your strength, your balance will remain good for much longer if movement is a priority.

The caveman was constantly moving, and the result is a human that was much more physically fit.

Through research, a natural movement expert, Erwan Le Corre, was able to determine that primitive man had to be able to do these things on a daily basis to survive (Can you do these things?):

1. Get into and out of a deep squat without using hands and hold for 30 minutes.

2. Be able to walk 20 miles per day.

3. Be able to hang from a tree and climb into that tree.

4. Carry an object of your body weight for half a mile without rest.

5. Be able to swim in rough waters for at least 10 minutes.

The second thing to think about here is that their food was eaten purely to live. They did not have the option to eat for enjoyment.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a good chicken wing or a nice juicy steak, but an improper diet is the number one reason for people being unhealthy in my opinion.

Sugary drinks, fat-filled snacks, processed breads and simple carbohydrates, and fast food.

Along with a country of people who are not properly educated on how to live healthy, these are the foods that slowly break down the human body and make people struggle physically later in life, if not earlier. They simply were not available 200,000 years ago.

I’m sure cavemen would have taken their foot-propelled vehicles to the drive-thru if they were, but I digress.

What is the lesson here? Is it to wear loin cloths and grunt and rarely shower?

The bottom line is to implement two simple rules into your life. Move more than you sit. And know what you are putting into your body in terms of food, and make choices not on the minutes that the food spends in your mouth, but the days, weeks, months and years that are ahead of you.

Live your best life so that you can do the things you want to do well into those golden years.

Joel J. Digris is a Schuylkill County resident with a master’s degree in physical therapy. He is currently employed by Achieva Rehabilitation as an outpatient provider of physical therapy and serves residents in Carbon, Schuylkill and Luzerne counties.

The Times News Media Group do not endorse or recommend any medical products, processes, or services or provide medical advice. The views of the author do not necessarily state or reflect those of the Times News. The article content is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician, or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.