As an elite athlete, evolutionary health and survival specialist, Ben’s ultimate passion is working with people to teach the art of performance and survival in a modern world. He has a company called New Age Primal where he runs evolutionary health and wilderness survival courses and has worked and trained with some of the world’s best athletes through to special forces personnel. When he is not in the backcountry mountains of Wanaka training with his Alaskan Malamute – Maska, you can usually find him testing new research on human body optimisation and survival training, and exploring with his family in the beautiful region of Wanaka which he calls home.
PRESENTATION: Environmental Conditioning
The human genome has always, and will always, thrive off hormetic stressors such as exercise, caloric restriction, or the physiological organ modulation from plant-based compounds. It is my aim to introduce the concept of environmental conditioning and apply an understanding of its evolutionary importance as a hormetic stressor in a modern world. Without the modulation of stressful inputs, the human body can degenerate. Human bodies can thus become increasingly fragile and can experience a lack of resilience when prompted with a stressful situation.
For the wider society, this has great implications. As we get more sedentary in our modern lifestyles, so do our range of inputs. We have fewer stressors acting on our cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, endocrine and neural systems; we exercise less for either work of purposeful physical activity, and the amount of total daily sitting time increases, therefore altering our typical state of homoeostasis. With this increasingly domesticated modern lifestyle, our bodies do not receive the benefits that evolutionary stressors can bring us.
Following a literature review of articles regarding clinical studies, the evolutionary history of indigenous culture and individual case studies, a major finding from this review emerged; environmental conditioning serves to increase the expression of BAT (Brown Adipose Tissue), AMPK (adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase) and mitochondrial biogenesis, along with a host of other benefits.
- Exploration of the benefits of environmental conditioning such as cold water thermogenesis, heat shock, and other practices designed to build resilience of the human body to environmental discomfort.