Next comes a husky boy in baggy shorts. “Bring it on in, Doug,” Duncan says. “What’d you get?” “Nine minutes.” “Flat?” “Yeah.” “Nice work.” When Michelle and Krissy finally saunter over, Duncan asks for their times, but Michelle’s watch is still running. Apparently, she didn’t hit the blue button. Krissy did, though, and their times are the same. She holds up her wrist for Duncan. “Ten twelve,” he says, noting the time on his clipboard. What he doesn’t say is “It looked like you two were really loafing around out there!” The fact is, they weren’t. When Duncan downloads Michelle’s monitor, he’ll find that her average heart rate during her ten-minute mile was 191, a serious workout for even a trained athlete. She gets an A for the day.
Today, of course, there’s no need to forage and hunt to survive. Yet our genes are coded for this activity, and our brains are meant to direct it. Take that activity away, and you’re disrupting a delicate biological balance that has been fine-tuned over half a million years. Quite simply, we need to engage our endurance metabolism to keep our bodies and brains in optimum condition. The ancient rhythms of activity ingrained in our DNA translate roughly to the varied intensity of walking, jogging, running, and sprinting. In broad strokes, then, I think the best advice is to follow our ancestors’ routine: walk or jog every day, run a couple of times a week, and then go for the kill every now and then by sprinting.
What better way to start filling the vessel than exercise,” Provet suggests. “I strongly believe that exercise can serve as an antidote and as a type of inoculation against addiction,” he says. “As an antidote, you’re giving the individual an avenue of life experience that most have not had—the goals of exercise, the feeling of exercise, the challenge of exercise, the pleasure and the pain, the accomplishment, the physical well-being, the self-esteem. All that exercise gives us, you’re now presenting to the addict as a very compelling option.