Why is it so hard to get into shape!?!?!??!?!


Sorry, but seriously, why have we evolved so that we have to work so hard to be strong, have great stamina, etc.? Wouldn’t the person who can naturally bench-press 200 lbs. be much better off in the wild? I really doubt that it is because the exercise is a physical requirement, that there is no other way to run the chemical process of building muscle and such. Why is it evolutionarily advantageous to require exercise?

I think our sedentary lifestyle is a fairly recent development in human history. Used to be you didn’t need to “work out” to be strong and healthy because just in leading daily life you were doing hard work, walking a lot, lifting, etc.

Part of the reason is that we as humans have altered the process of evolution.

Take me for instance. If you looked at me you would think I had it easy but I work hard at it. Also I have asthma and high blood pressure. But I take meds for it. I because of this now have excellent blood pressure and can breathe just like a non asthmatic.

But without interference natural selection would have thrown me out by now.

You miss understand cranky, why should we have to exercise at all? And do we fall out of shape when we stop?

It’s entropy. Living beings are negentropy machines. Efficient machines have the advantage. Stop exercising, and entropy takes over.

WAG, its efficient that way. If you are using your body a lot, systems ike your muslces and your cardiovascular system and yout “wind” (endurance?) get built up. As soon as you stop using these systems, your body stops devoting resources to them. If you always used them (as in cranky’s example) you would never be “out of shape.”

Somewhat related, I’m given to understand that traditional American foods are so bad for you because colonists and settlers needed like 4,000 calories/day to maintain themselves.

The answer isn’t simple, but it’s fairly understandable in simplified terms.

All organisms need to maintain homeostasis (ie keep their systems functioning). In the case of humans this requires us ,under ‘natural’ circumstances, to hunt down food, dog food, carry food, walk to water, maintain body temperature etc. Of course we also need ot avoid becoming food. In order to do all these things we need muscle mass. The more muscle mass you have the more you can lift, the faster you can run etc. But you already knew that.

However the rub is that we are savanna animals, and savannas are defined by an unpredictable and highly seasonal rainfall pattern. For several months of the years there is no or little rain and occasionally there are droughts with no rain for a year or more. During these times it doesn’t matter how much muscle you have and how fast and far you can run there’s just not enough food to go around. You survive on fat reserves supplemented by lucky finds (carrion, roots the warthogs haven’t found etc.). Muscle mass doesn’t assist one bit in getting lucky. Muscle mass does unfortunately require energy. All the time. Unlike fat, muscles chew huge amounts of energy all the time whether they’re being used or not. In simplified terms your muscles are permanantly cocked, ready to spring and maintaining this state of readiness chews energy.

Now obviously it’s not good to have muscles using your food reserves if the muscles aren’t returning any energy. So the human body has adapted such that during the dry season and during droughts the body can shed muscle mass, and quite rapidly compared to most animals. If a muscle isn’t being used, which is the best indicator of whether it is necessary at the moment, it atrophies, just withers away. By doing this our bodies can not only reclaim the protein that is so lacking during the dry season, but it can actually make massive energy savings by not having to support all that energy burning muscle that’s not being used.

So to answer the OP, it isn’t evolutionarily advantageous to need excercise to build muscle, it’s evolutionarily advantageous not to build muscle that’s not necessary. Excercise is simply the cue to tell the body that muscle is necessary. A person who can press 200lbs is only better off ‘in the wild’ if he needs to press 200lbs to eat. If this isn’t the case then he will starve to death faster than an identical man who only has sufficient muscle to press 50lbs.

Much of what we call fitness comes from a buildup of heart muscle, which applies the same rule, and an increase in blood vessel density, which is also a waste of energy if there’s no requirement for blood in the muscles.

Shape tends toward that pear; it’s gravitys fault.

That said, a lot of my friends have lost 50 in the last six months.

I hope it the Aitkens diet, & not radiation sickness.

Survival of the “fittest.”