The modern world is very different to the world that forged our bodies. Over millions of years of evolution, humans developed particular traits and features according to their survival needs.
This is why we have opposable thumbs – a particularly useful feature – but it is also responsible for the appendix, an organ that does nothing but threatens sudden death when it breaks down!
This is important to note when you look at how you live your modern life.
We live in a world that has gone way beyond what nature forged. From technological advances and the food, we eat to how we exercise and spend our time. It’s no wonder many of us end up with bad backs, anxiety and unhealthy habits!
So, given you can’t time travel and you probably don’t want to give up the luxuries that come with modern life, what can you do to better balance your lifestyle?
What changes can you make to keep your body healthy?
Originally, exercise was essentially about building the muscles you needed to be able to find food and survive. But since we no longer have to chase our food, and if you’re anything like me, you hate running, perhaps a different type of exercise is the answer.
Functional training at home can help you build and maintain your muscles. The logic is there’s no point in building amazing running muscles. Especially if you sit at a computer all day. Rather, functional training encourages you to focus on building the muscles that support proper posture.
Of course, this isn’t to say you shouldn’t go running or try something different. Any form of exercise is a healthy way to maintain your overall fitness.
Joining a team or working out with friends is another great way to get you away from screens while allowing you to connect with people. As a bonus, working out with someone can also help to reduce your stress levels.
Tip: If you find yourself feeling achy and uncomfortable, try going for a walk to see if the pain eases. You can then build up to incorporate walking into your daily routine.
Pay Attention to What and How You Eat
The truth about the modern diet is that while it might be plentiful, it certainly isn’t perfect.
And figuring out the best diet for modern living is far more complex than working out the right balance of nutrients.
Despite the programs designed to make us healthier and feel better, the unfortunate reality is that sugar is incredibly difficult to avoid. The right vitamins and minerals are no longer as densely packed into the fruits and vegetables we so virtuously eat.
The real challenge is finding a way to balance what we need with what is available AND what we are willing to eat. A further challenge comes with the fast pace of living, as we often eat on the move or buy food from limited options. In a world saturated with fast food, making the right choice can challenging, even if you aim to eat healthily!
Another big problem with nutritional advice is that so many people advertise their ‘solution’ for healthy eating. Fad diets are everywhere, with celebrities being paid to endorse products, routines or the latest diet fad, which can damage people’s physical and mental health. And it sets a bad precedent.
Because we are all different, with different lifestyles and different environments, there is no single perfect diet that works for everyone. So the best advice is to keep your diet as varied as possible. Don’t settle into a single way of eating – feed your body from different food groups, nutrients and ways of cooking.
Look After Your Mental Health
Just because you aren’t chasing mammoths doesn’t mean that modern stressors aren’t legit.
And while you might not be looking over your shoulder to check for predators, that feeling of overwhelm from being constantly on the go and connected is draining and can harm your life.
Learning to take better care of yourself without comparing your lifestyle to the highlight reel of someone else’s life is an essential perspective to gain.
So is looking at your lifestyle holistically, including how much you exercise, what you put into your body, and how you feel, you can work out how best to survive – and thrive – in the modern world.
And finally, self-care might sound a little narcissistic, but it’s an essential part of life we lose. I mean, Jane Austen wouldn’t have hesitated to take a long walk to get some time to herself!
Tip: Start a diary. Use your diary to note what you are doing, eating and how you feel each day. This will give you a chance to look back over your life, what is going well, what isn’t, and where you can make some changes.
Your body took thousands upon thousands of years to develop into your incredible being. Don’t try to suddenly change everything overnight to create an optimised life. Be mindful, be gentle, make small changes along the way, and see how you go.