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The human physique has evolved over millions of years and has been shaped by several factors including environment, diet, and lifestyle. Following is a detailed explanation of the human physique ad health over time:
History of the human physique
Our earliest human ancestors, such as Australopithecus, were small and had a more ape-like body structure. They were adapted to climbing trees and walking on two legs, but were not yet fully bipedal. Over time, our ancestors evolved to have longer legs and a more efficient upright gait, which allowed them to cover greater distances on foot.
As humans began to migrate out of Africa and into new environments, they adapted to different climates and diets. In colder environments, for example, humans evolved to have more body fat and a larger body size to better retain heat. In warmer environments, humans evolved to have a leaner body type with a smaller frame to dissipate heat more easily.
As humans began to develop agriculture and settle into more sedentary lifestyles, our physique changed again. With the availability of more stable food sources, humans began to grow taller and have larger skeletal structures. However, with the advent of industrialization and modern technology, many people today are leading more sedentary lifestyles than ever before, which has led to a rise in obesity and other health issues. There have been various types of human physiques throughout human history. Different types of populations have adapted to their local environments. A few examples of such populations are as follows:
Our early human ancestors were primarily hunter-gatherers. They were adapted physically for hunting and gathering food from everywhere. They had lean and muscular physiques with well-developed legs for walking and running over long and rough distances. Their upper bodies were well-developed for throwing spears and climbing. Agricultural societies: As agriculture was raised, humans became lazy which led to a more sedentary lifestyle. This led to changes in the human body’s physique. Farmers used to have wider and stronger shoulders with a stockier build because they used to perform strenuous activities such as carrying heavy loads and digging in the soil.
Some populations have lived nomadic lifestyles. Nomadic means to move from one place to other in search of resources and food. Nomads had leaner body physiques as compared to sedentary people, with well-developed circulatory and respiratory systems for long-distance travel.
In extremely cold climates, like the ones found in the Arctic, humans evolved to have larger body sizes and thicker layers of body fat, which helped them to retain heat in harsh environments. Some of the island people, like the ones in the Pacific Islands, have evolved to have larger body sizes and greater muscle mass, which may have been an adaptation to the physical demands of activities such as fishing and boatbuilding.
It is mandatory to note the fact that these are just generalizations, and that there is a great deal of diversity within and between different human populations.
What are the factors affecting human health?
Why modern humans are becoming weaker day by day? The answer to this question is because of Heredity and Non-inherited factors that affect human health and physique. A brief overview of both of these factors is provided below.
Genetic factors play an important role in determining the human body and health. Below is a brief description of how genetics affect human health and physique.
Gene mutations can lead to inherited diseases such as Huntington’s disease, sickle cell anemia, and cystic fibrosis. These and other similar diseases can affect different aspects of human health. These aspects include appearance and life expectancy. Body Type: Genetics can also affect a person’s body type, such as Weight, height, and body type. For example, some people are genetically prone to being taller, which has a faster metabolism and affects their overall health.
Risk of certain diseases:
Certain genetic mutations can increase your risk of certain diseases, such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Understanding these genetic risk factors helps doctors provide personalized medical advice and treatment.
Response to Drugs:
Genetic factors can also affect response to certain drugs. Some people’s bodies metabolize drugs differently, affecting potential side effects and effectiveness.
Genetics can also affect an individual’s athletic performance, such as Speed, endurance, and strength. For example, some specific genetic variants are associated with improved athletic performance in specific sports. Overall, genetic factors can have a significant impact on a person’s physique and health. Understanding all these factors can help individuals make informed decisions about their health and well-being.
2. non-inherited factors
Non-inherited factors also take part determining the human physique and health. Following are the non-inherited factors that influence human health:
Exercise has had a significant impact on the history of the human physique. Throughout history, physical activity has been an essential part of human life, and the types of physical activities that people engaged in have varied depending on the time and culture. In ancient times, physical activity was essential for survival, such as hunting, gathering, and farming. These activities required a lot of physical labor, which helped people develop strong muscles and endurance. As societies became more advanced, physical activity became less necessary for survival, and people began to engage in physical activities only for sport and recreation. Most people nowadays don’t even engage their selves in sports which are affecting human health day after day and generation after generation.
A sedentary lifestyle not only includes a lack of activity, but also a variety of habits that affect the body fat percentage. Laying down on a cozy couch for hours can make your muscles weak which in turn reduces cardiovascular health. Over time, this leads to excessive weight gain, health problems, and poor posture. While an active lifestyle as compared to the lazy one helps to improve bone mineral density and reduces the risk of osteoporosis in old age. The benefits of a fit and active lifestyle are not limited to exercise and strenuous activity, change in the sedentary lifestyle to even a minor extent can have numerous advantages.
Chronic stress highly affects the human physique and health, leading to serious issues such as cardiovascular diseases, weakened immune systems, and high blood pressure. Stress can develop mental health disorders like anxiety and depression. People with good social support are more likely to engage in healthy behaviors and are less likely to develop chronic health conditions. Furthermore, Low self-esteem is also linked to a variety of negative health outcomes, including depression and physical illnesses. While people with higher self-esteem engage more in self-care behaviors such as healthy eating. Psychosocial factors can affect appetite and food choices which leads to undereating or overeating, disturbing the health of the human body. Self-efficacy can influence physical activity levels which have several benefits as discussed above.
Changes in diet, as well as changes in lifestyle and environment, have led to changes in body size and shape, as well as overall health. As societies have transitioned from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to a more sedentary, agricultural lifestyle, there has been an increase in body size and a higher risk of obesity. Changes in height over time are also a result of diet and nutrition. Improvements in nutrition, particularly in childhood, have led to an increase in height in many populations. Furthermore, the introduction of processed sugar in the diet has led to an increase in dental caries, while changes in the texture of food have led to changes in the shape of the jaw and teeth. Adequate protein intake is necessary for muscle growth and maintenance, and changes in diet can affect muscle mass and overall physical performance. In summary, diet has had a significant impact on the human physique. Changes in diet have contributed to changes in body size, height, dental health, disease risk, and muscle mass.
What can I do?
Healholic suggests top 10 ways, doing these things can help you prevent weakness over time:
Structured regular exercise:
Do 30-40 minutes of low to high-intensity physical activity daily or 4 days per week. Not only a proper number of sets with certain reps must be performed, but also aerobic exercises should be kept in mind like swimming.
Eat a Nutritious diet:
Vegetables, protein, fruits, whole grains, and good fats (HDL) make your body fit and healthy as these include various helpful nutrients.
Drink more and more water to keep your body functioning well, especially while performing physical exercise.
Rest is best:
Do a minimum of 6-8 hours of sleep each night. It recharges and recovers your body.
Stress is a guest:
Do guests stay at your home for too long? Obviously, no. Similarly, stress must also not be kept inside your mind and body for a long time as it has various mental and physical health effects. Use techniques to manage stress like deep breathing exercises and early morning yoga.
Avoid smoking and reduce alcohol consumption:
Cigarette smoke and alcohol consumption affect human physique and health to a large extent.
Maintain a good posture:
Poor posture causes muscle atrophy and injuries. Practice doing posture rectification exercises every day and throughout the day.
Stay active throughout the day:
Use stairs instead of the elevator or walk a few steps before and after the meal.
Find a fitness buddy:
A workout partner can help keep you determined, accountable, and motivated.
Find joy and have fun:
Enjoy doing exercises. Write down all the activities that keep you fit gladly and then perform them one by one. Gradually make it a routine.
To keep your physique and health maintained, do regular exercise, eat a healthy diet, get adequate rest, use stress management techniques, and adopt other healthy habits.