Health Tips

This Just In: Humans Now Replacing The Tiger in Zoos

There was once a zoo who’s gorilla died of old age. Unfortunately, they could not afford a replacement. The gorilla had been their main attraction, so they decided to hire a man for $100 a day to wear a gorilla suit in the enclosure and entertain the visitors. They planned to do this until they had enough money to buy an actual gorilla. Before long, the “Human-like” gorilla lost its interest with the visitors. 

So, in a moment of desperation, the “gorilla” decided to climb the netting above the enclosure and hang over the tiger’s den. To his dismay, he lost his grip and fell in! He started yelling for someone to help him, but no one came. 

Suddenly, the tiger pounced on him and said, “If you don’t shut-up, you’ll get us both fired!” I’ll give you a moment. 

A few years ago, I was in Sacramento and decided to go to the Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in the area. It was an animal-themed park. 

For the first time in my life, I saw a white Bengal tiger. All it did was lay around in its enclosure and walk around every once in a while. Now, a few months ago, I was training with one of our members and we were talking about how many Americans have developed such sedentary lifestyles. 

That’s when the thought came into my mind: Have we as humans become like that tiger in the zoo? Have we created a sort of “enclosure” for ourselves with our cubicles, offices, and cars? That is a question I would like to discuss with you today.

A Tiger in the Wild

First off, let’s take a look at a tiger. This 200-660 lb cat primarily lives in rain forests, savannahs, and grasslands. They hunt their food and can eat up to 88lbs of meat at one time. (worldwildlife.org) 

I remember watching the Discovery Channel and seeing how the tiger raced after it’s prey and constantly traversed around in its habitat each day. Tigers in the wild are usually on the move, resting occasionally, and at times can be seen sprinting up to 40mph! (dinoanimals.com)

A Tiger in the Zoo

Now let’s look at that same tiger in a zoo. Does it hunt for its food? Does it run in its enclosure with high bursts of energy? Does it control a vast expansion of land? 

Unfortunately, the answer to all of these questions is “no.” Many animals are given a special diet that closely resembles what they would have in the wild. But, it is not the same as “wild” food. For example, at the Smithsonian National Zoo, lions cannot be given zebra meat, so they are given beef. Calcium is added to the meat because wild lions eat the bones of their prey. (Washington Post) 

All of this food is either hand-fed or thrown into the enclosure for the animal to find. No chasing prey. No ripping apart of limbs. 
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 What’s the result? An animal that just walks around an enclosure all day with occasional, prepared meals; very different from the wild.

Our Ancestors

Let’s take a look at how our ancestors lived many, many years ago. What comes to mind? Facebook? Cubicles? Cars? Nope. Our ancestors were outside often; hunting, farming, walking, etc. 

Exercise and physical activity were not just something they did when they had the time. It was something they did every day as a part of life. Physical labor, often very strenuous, was the norm. (chriskresser.com)

Modern Day Humans

Look at this data from The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
  • More than 2 in 3 adults are considered to be overweight or obese. 
  • About one-third of children and adolescents ages 6 to 19 are considered to be overweight or obese. (www.nidkk.nih.gov) 
  • “In 1970, 2 in 10 working Americans were in jobs requiring only light activity (predominantly sitting at a desk) … By 2000, more than 4 in 10 adults were in light-activity jobs.” (US National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health
  • The number of sedentary jobs has doubled within 30 years and is still on the rise. 

Try to picture a typical American workday. Wake up, eat, drive to work (sitting), and work for 4 hours (most likely at a desk with a little walking and moving around). Then, it’s off to a 30-60 minute lunch break (also probably sitting), and back to the desk. 4 hours of work, and it’s time to go home. 

And, what do we tend to do at home? We have dinner and then plop down on the couch to catch up on the latest news or TV show. Then, it’s off to bed and that’s our day. Not much physical activity there. For many of us, the cubicle or office has become an “enclosure.” 

The mere thought of exercise is enough to make some people cringe. This leaves us sluggish and prone to different diseases and illnesses; back pain being up there as one of the main consequences. 

Old age has become something many of us don’t look forward to. With all the diseases and disabilities associated with it, I understand why. We have become accustomed to going to the doctor or pharmacy to pick up some medicine instead of going to our pantry to prepare a natural remedy.

The People of Abkhazia

I believe there are some people around the world that can serve as examples for us. For instance, the people of Abkhazia in the Caucasus Mountains of Southern Russia. They are known for having the most centenarians (people over 100 years old) in the world. 

A distinguished physician by the name of Dr. Alexander Leaf was commissioned by National Geographic to study these people in the early 1970s. 

When speaking to an elder who was nearly 100, he asked him if he had ever been sick. The man replied, “Yes, I recall once having a fever, a long time ago.” When asked if he had ever seen a doctor, he said, “Why should I?” (Abkhazworld.com) 

The man had great vision and hearing, and his blood pressure and pulse were completely normal.
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The people of Abkhazia spend their days walking up and down the mountainside. They also eat fresh and organic fruits, vegetables, and animal products. This keeps them fit and healthy well into their 80’s, 90’s, and 100’s. Because there is less oxygen available at their elevation, they have developed advanced cardiorespiratory systems. 


These people live a life that is completely different from ours. Exercise, and any physical activity really, is not an option. It is a core part of their lives.


What We Can Learn

I believe that we as a society have made our own “enclosures”. They can be both physical and psychological. Let me explain. 


Our jobs and lifestyles as a whole have become more and more sedentary. A big part of it is because of the technological advancements that we have had in the past few decades. 


They have made many of our jobs less labor-intensive. We have become used to seeing exercise as something that we will get to, eventually. But, most of us never do. 

We tend to have so much crammed into our days that it pushes exercise to the curb. And now we see the results.

 

"Time in sedentary behaviors is associated with increased cardiovascular and all-cause mortality; this has now been shown for television viewing time, overall daily sitting time, and time spent sitting in cars.”  


We simply aren’t out there exercising every day. It isn’t an integral part of our lives anymore. You can clearly see the effects on our elderly. Healthy seniors have become a rarity. 

“Approximately 92% of older adults have at least one chronic disease, and 77% have at least two.” (National Council on Aging) 


With all of the medication and advancements in health, shouldn’t we be healthier? Who is to blame? I believe that where there’s a will, there’s a way. 


If we truly want to be healthy, we will force ourselves to exercise and stay in shape. The problem is that we wait too long to start. For instance, most individuals wait until they start having back pain before they look for treatment instead of exercising to prevent it and living a healthy life. 


So, we only have ourselves to blame. We might say that society causes us to act this way, but who makes up society? We do!


The Effect on our Back Health

Back pain, at the root, is primarily caused by weak muscles. When you don’t consistently put a strain on your muscles and bones through exercise, they become weak. As people age, they tend to be more and more sedentary. And thus, the more likely they are to have back pain. 


“Experts estimate that as much as 80% of the population will experience a back problem at some time in their lives.” (American Chiropractic Association)


It has almost become a guarantee. It’s all up to you to turn that around. Not in 10 years or even tomorrow, but today.

My Proposal

I believe you should take a look at what you have control over:

  • Your Job(s)
  • What you do at home
  • Your habits
  • Exercise
  • Your diet

All of these things mentioned above can become an “enclosure” in our lives. You might think that you are trapped inside and there is no way to change your circumstances. But, I disagree. You do have control over them and can change them if you truly want to. The key to it is actually caring enough to make a change! 


One change might mean working fewer hours or spending an hour after work exercising, instead of watching the news. Instead of going out to eat at a fast food joint, you can go grocery shopping and prepare a meal at home. 


I realize that it is hard to change a lifestyle all on your own, which is why Maiden Wellness is here for you. Yes, we can help get rid of your back pain. But, quite frankly, that is the easy part and only the tip of the iceberg. 


Our main goal is to help you cultivate a lifestyle that sets you up for success in the long run. We want you to build habits that will help you stay healthy well into your retirement. It is definitely possible. All it takes is a little faith, hard work, commitment, and saying yes to a healthier you.