Christopher McDougall’s ‘Born to Run’ takes us back to our roots, where we may have in fact been born to run – out of necessity.
McDougall takes us on a journey alongside the Tarahumara, a community living the Mexican mountainside that has very much remained off the grid and lives what we would consider a primitive lifestyle…where they are well adapted to survive in their chosen environment. Running is a key part to their survival – for hunting, entertainment, and even travel.
A significant amount of the book discusses humans evolution to become runners, with this function being evident in our foot form. Later in the book, McDougall presents the irony that ‘our fantastic endurance gave our brain the food it needed to grow, and now our brain is undermining our endurance’. You might consider that in our quest for the ultimate in efficiency, our expanding intellectual capacity have made us ‘born to live a sedentary lifestyle’. Today (generally), we ‘need’ to sit in front of our computers all day to earn a living and buy groceries – we don’t need to outrun an antelopes to feed our families.
Have we evolved, or devolved? I’ve commented on the subject previously, and there are some sad but scary truths to the fact that today’s human form isn’t optimized to do much physically. Fortunate for us, we are among the most adaptable species on the planet, and thanks to our brains, we can think and invent our way through nearly any problem we’re confronted with that challenges our survival. Today, not only the fittest survive; rather we all survive thanks to a manufactured system.
Consider eliminating grocery stores, fast food joints, and your favorite AM coffee stop and imagine how long you would survive… finding a healthy balance of survival and dependence is critical to keep us well centered, focused, and appreciative of our roots.
Regardless of where evolution takes us next..be it born to run, born to swim, or born to fly, keep in perspective that we’ve been born to do something – and that something should include some well spent time outside.