Why control activity? Evolutionary selection pressures affecting the development of physical activity genetic and biological regulation. Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • The literature strongly suggests that daily physical activity is genetically and biologically regulated. Potential identities of the responsible mechanisms are unclear, but little has been written concerning the possible evolutionary selection pressures leading to the development of genetic/biological controls of physical activity. Given the weak relationship between exercise endurance and activity levels and the differential genomic locations associated with the regulation of endurance and activity, it is probable that regulation of endurance and activity evolved separately. This hypothesis paper considers energy expenditures and duration of activity in hunter/gatherers, pretechnology farmers, and modern Western societies and considers the potential of each to selectively influence the development of activity regulation. Food availability is also considered given the known linkage of caloric restriction on physical activity as well as early data relating food oversupply to physical inactivity. Elucidating the selection pressures responsible for the genetic/biological control of activity will allow further consideration of these pressures on activity in today's society, especially the linkages between food and activity. Further, current food abundance is removing the cues for activity that were present for the first 40,000 years of human evolution, and thus future research should investigate the effects of this abundance upon the mechanisms regulating activity.

published proceedings

  • Biomed Res Int

altmetric score

  • 3.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Lightfoot, J. T.

citation count

  • 15

complete list of authors

  • Lightfoot, J Timothy

publication date

  • December 2013