When was it Advantageous for our Ancestors to have Stress Slow Down their Metabolism? Is it helpful or harmful in our era?
Recently, IDEA Fit’s Home Page had an article that discussed a study about how stress causes the metabolism to slow down and results in fat storage and weight gain. Surprisingly, this is not new news. In fact, through Darwinism, our cavemen and cavewomen ancestors needed this physical ability to help them survive some of the harshest conditions. Do you know why? Is this now a case where there is no application for this particle physical adaptation or perhaps it can still help some people in our world survive or even your every day joe, in the right circumstances. Maybe, instead of labeling stress as “bad”, we need to learn how to better manage our stress with all the pressure of society and utilize stress at the right time. What are your thought? How do you manage your stress in healthy coping ways?
I think the type of stress you are referring to is different in our era from that of our early ancestors. Today our stress comes mostly from financial and social factors where our ancestors’ stress was primarily as a result of facing deadly threats from other predators and mother nature, so they had to do whatever it took in order to survive. I believe our stress today is due primarily to human behavior rather that an external factor (such as an animal or natural disasters) and it’s more harmful from the stress our ancestors had to face with. Also our diet today has played a factor in elevating the stress in our bodies.
Our ancestors were in a much better physical condition than the vast majority of us today. Even the elite athletes are far from the physical condition our ancestors used to be. When you have nature breathing down your neck every second of your life you become more efficient, more resilient and more resourceful in variety of ways. The stress of survival actually helped with the evolution of the human body and mind and it was very beneficial for species. The stress that we impose to ourselves today has the opposite effect which has lead to many diseases and other psychological issues that requires very different copying mechanisms.
It’s true that exercise and good diet can help us deal with our stressful lives, but unless we change the way we live, behave and think even these small changes will eventually have little effect. Unless you are able to isolate yourself (or at the very least be strong enough mentally and then physically) form the rest of the society and its problems, the stress form this interaction will eventually take its toll.
It would be interesting to see what others think.