Why is regular physical activity essential for optimal health? How has our evolutionary past shaped how we respond to exercise today? How can an evolutionary perspective of physical activity inform approaches to maximizing athletic performance?
Regular physical activity is essential for health, and, of course, for high-level athletic performance. Sports and medical sciences have made tremendous progress in furthering our understanding of the proximate mechanisms explaining how regular exercise links to both health and athletic performance. However, a coherent theory explaining why (a) regular exercise is so crucial to our health and (b) our physiology responds the way it does to exercise remains absent.
We propose that an evolutionary perspective is key to addressing this fundamental limitation. Contemporary human physiology is the product of millions of years of evolution. As a result, consideration of our evolutionary history is necessary to address the ultimate mechanisms providing a deeper understanding of why our biology is the way it is. The workshop aims to provide a forum to discuss the value of applying an evolutionary perspective to enhance both health and athletic performance.