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To Shed Your Extra Cushioning, Shed Your Extra Cushioning

Once only the rich had shoes and chairs and excess fat

Illustration of a polar bear chair

Polar Chair I by Lisa NG

Here’s a surprising fact: Although ancestral humans often died young as a result of childbirth, trauma, or infection, those who lived to 70 showed little if any evidence of modern chronic ailments ranging from obesity and diabetes to calcified arteries and heart disease. As a physician over 60, learning about these unexpectedly healthy elders inspired the question, “What can we adopt from the ancestral lifestyle that might reduce our burden of chronic illness in the modern world?”Physicians with the same question gather from all corners of the globe once a year for new answers at the annual Ancestral Health Symposium (AHS), held last summer in Boulder, Colorado. Impossible to ignore were the sessions that asked a different question, namely, “What have modern humans universally adopted that has added to our burden of chronic illness?” Two simple answers to think about are the shoe and the chair.Dr. Mark Cucuzella, a professor of Family Medicine, reminded us that our incredibly complex feet serve us well as a platform on which to stage a healthy life, but only if we allow them to sense and respond to the …

Deborah Gordon, MD

Deborah Gordon MD is a competitive rower and paleo aficionado who practices integrative medicine in Ashland, Oregon. She is keenly aware of the need to maintain muscle and bone mass (and everything else) as we age. Much to the surprise of many of her patients, Dr. Gordon recommends hormone replacement on the theory that paleo women would have used it if they could have.

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