What happens when you strap tracking devices such as heart rate monitors and GPS units to one of the last remaining hunter gatherer tribes in the world? The American Journal of Human Biology published an article on exactly this in 2016. The study lasted 11 days and included 46 subjects in from Northern Tanzania that are part of the Hazda Tribe (27 female and 19 males). The goal was to determine what level of activity these hunter gatherers used each day and compare against the average American.
The Hazda women were found to walk significantly less than their male counterparts. Each day the women would go out with their children too small to be left alone to gather food. They primarily picked berries (at unbelievably fast speeds) and dug tubers from the ground. These activities were still required moderate to vigorous in exertion. The women on average walked three miles a day.
Each day the men would average seven miles of walking. Upon waking up they would head out in small groups to track prey. They did not run after the prey and would use bow and arrows (not persistence hunting). Typically they would hunt giraffe, impala and zebra. The average duration of moderate to vigorous activity for both men and women came in at 135 minutes a day. We can compare this to the US Dept. of Health recommendation of 150 minutes per WEEK. The Hazda had excellent biomarkers, blood pressure and cholesterol when compared against US residents. This study suggests that actively moving through the day and as we age could be quite helpful to our health.
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