Being a Cavewoman May Save Your Brain After 60… No, Seriously!
When you think of healthy ageing, what comes to mind? Author and psychiatrist John Ratey explores the components of healthy ageing that we all must incorporate in our lives. Enjoy the show!
Calling All Cavewomen
As time moves forward and technology advances, the human race has made great progress in developing products and skills that make life easier. But does this mean that all these enhancements are healthier? Not necessarily.
Dr. Ratey explains in his book, “Go Wild” that there are advantages to examining the nature of our genes, that of hunter gatherers, and looking at ways to re-center our lives around some of those main components of a caveman or cavewoman lifestyle.
Diet and Exercise
It’s no secret that society today has become more sedentary than any time in history. We stay indoors, under fluorescent lighting, and we rarely get the amount of fresh air and sunlight that our bodies need. Nature offers us everything we need, we just need to embrace it by getting outside and enjoying it.
Cavewomen were always on the move. They walked miles every day, ran, climbed, swam, lifted, and worked hard to survive. Survival is much easier for the modern woman, making it easier to also forget the importance of movement. Dr. Ratey stresses that exercise is vital to healthy ageing and that the more we move, the less likely our brains are to erode in our later years.
Diet has also evolved over the years and inadvertently, harmed humanity. Cavewomen would have eaten berries, leaves, fruits, vegetables, fish, and other meat. They worked for their food and filled themselves when they found ample supplies, knowing that it might not be available to them later. Dr. Ratey says that it is in our genes to want to eat extra food to store energy, even though we no longer need to do so.
Meditation and Mindful Living
In a time when wild animals and weather incidents often claimed human life, cavepeople had to practice mindfulness or perish. Nature was both a giver and taker of life and being aware of one’s environment was imperative to survival.
Connection and Community
Cavepeople lived in tribes and there’s an overwhelming amount of evidence leading researchers to believe that our sense of connection and community are crucial to our sense of wellbeing. As we age, this feeling of belonging is one of the most important factors in keeping our bodies healthy.
Tribes can be formed in many ways, both in a physical meeting or in an online setting. The type, size, and make up of a tribe is not nearly as important as the way it makes members feel about themselves and each other.
The invention of candles, lanterns, and eventually lightbulbs has shaped humanity over the years. No longer do we schedule our sleep and our work around the position of the sun. While this has made society stronger in terms of output and productivity, it has made the human race greatly sleep deprived and lacking the rest we need to keep our minds sharp.
Getting Back to Basics
It might be a bit excessive to suggest that women in our community trade their favorite dresses in for animal skins or sell their houses to move into caves, but we can greatly improve the quality of our lives by thinking of our ancestors and making a few simple changes that will yield big returns in our health.
Go outside. Walk. Push yourself occasionally. Take a nap. Go to bed early or sleep in a little late. Cut out the carbs and sugars or at least cut back. Be present. Be mindful. Make conscious decisions to live healthier. Surround yourself with friends and family. Meet new people. Spend time with people who share your interests. Work hard and play hard but love harder.
Do you live a natural lifestyle in terms of nutrition and exercise? What do you think about the idea of releasing your inner cavewoman? Which part of this lifestyle do you need to address more than the others? Please join the conversation below!