FITNESS: Ancestral Health Practices — Slower Aging and Productive Longevity

Ancestral Health and the Wellness Blueprint

Public health, health education, and modern medicine have fallen short in their responsibility to promote positive health outcomes. Each of them has failed to capitalize on the only analogy that makes scientific and practical sense for attaining ultimate wellness. We’ve failed to fully understand, learn, and apply lifestyle lessons from our ancestors.

The world in which our ancestors evolved was harsh and unyielding. The dire hardships that our ancestors endured required them to adapt or cease to continue as a species. Successful adaptation resulted in a near-perfect human genetic profile designed to promote health and control aging in a challenging environment.


The physiological advantages within us

The physiological (genetic) advantages that we inherited from our Paleolithic ancestors are the greatest gifts ever passed on to present-day humans. Unfortunately, we have assumed lifestyles that are in direct conflict with our Paleolithic past. We are squandering the very advantages that the lifestyles of our ancestors indelibly stamped into our genetic code. Don’t despair. The “fix” is relatively easy, and anybody can do it.


The three important lifestyle factors

Three major lifestyle factors figured prominently in the success of human evolution. They are nutrition, physical activity/exercise, and avoidance of chemical “toxic” contamination. The interaction between food and physical activity patterns was responsible for our ancestors’ ability to evolve strong, healthy bodies with large, creative brains. Their environment was pure, and their lives were simple. The only occupations of our Paleo ancestors were hunting, gathering, and surviving.


We are living in a world today where lemonade is made from artificial flavors and furniture polish is made from real lemons. ~Alfred E. Newman


The modern “opportunities” that cause us damage

Paleo peoples couldn’t choose to frequent polluted environments, be sedentary, or consume refined sugars or unhealthy fats, even if they wanted to. As a result, we are not designed to tolerate those assaults on our bodies. The living, eating, and movement patterns of our ancient ancestors provided the genetically engineered map of how we are supposed to live.


The best piece of wellness advice

Our inability to live the “perfect lifestyle” is not entirely our fault. We can no longer precisely follow the blueprint inherited from our ancestors, no matter how hard we try. The world has changed too much, and it is humans that have changed it. For us, early in the 21st century, the result is premature cellular aging that leads to all manner of diseases and disorders. The best wellness advice that I (or anyone) will ever give is to begin to resist aging as soon as possible, one cell at a time. It is aging that accelerates disease processes. Chronic disease was virtually unknown to our ancestors living before the agricultural revolution 10,000 years ago [1]. Now it plagues us.


Fuel, move, and protect

Living a healthy lifestyle is not just about assuming the lifestyle of a cave person. It is about weaving more ancestral lifestyle characteristics into our daily lives where we can. I am asking that you fuel, move, and protect your body from toxicity consistent with the way it was designed. You will age slower and increase opportunities for productive longevity if you do.



  1. Eaton SB, Konner M, Shostak M. Stone agers in the fast lane: chronic degenerative diseases in evolutionary perspective. Am J Med. 1988;84(4):739–749.


Photos courtesy of Pixabay.

Wayne Coolidge, Jr., M.Ed., CHES is an author, speaker, and innovative Health Promotion Scholar-Practitioner. He owns Wayne Coolidge Health Promotion, a consulting firm specializing in healthy aging, nutrition, nutritional supplementation, fat loss, fitness, and disease prevention. His expertise is designing lifestyle-optimization strategies leading to positive genetic expression, controlled cellular aging, health, and wellness. He has accumulated more than 31,000 hours of one-on-one training and personal consultation experience over a 37-year career. Wayne’s web site You can email him at



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