Our ancestors had to stay physically fit to survive. Whether it was hunting, gathering, fishing, farming, or cooking, every task required physical fitness. Indigenized fitness involves a return to daily physical activities and the ancestral diet – a respectful relationship with food.
Our ancestors’ day-to-day lives were more physically strenuous than our modern day lives. Instead of taking a trip to the grocery store for food, our relatives had to work hard to find and prepare food. Since much of the food production methods were extremely time consuming and strenuous, it is no wonder our ancestors were more in tune with their food, more appreciative of it, and ultimately, more healthy. In those days, food always had a fitness element connection.
Today, we cannot expect to go back to the old ways of life. But it is important to acknowledge, remember, and take pride in the physical strength and healthy lifestyles that our people maintained for thousands of years. Try to adapt as many of the indigenized fitness principles. That includes eating more of the foods that our ancestors had available, and be physically active as a way of life.
It is time to develop and put new physical fitness routines that best align with our traditional values and health concepts. Instead of placing an emphasis on how you look, focus on the Native traditions and the ways of life that our ancestors lived. Only then will you be able to connect with your past more intimately while achieving a healthier you.
Special Thanks: Derek Chang graduated with a Bachelors degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Utah. Go Utes! He was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. He aspires to become a physician-entrepreneur to find and create new ways of improving overall patient health. He enjoys skiing, hiking, camping, reading books, meeting new people, and learning anything new.