Saturday, April 26, 2014

‘Allo, Grandma!

This is still not me, but grandmas rock.
 Image courtesy of graur razvan ionut
I don’t mean to brag (OK, maybe a little), but though I am approaching 50, I work out 4-6 times a week, cranking the elliptical trainer to its maximum incline (5) and resistance (20) and running, according to the machine, 7 miles.

Here’s the thing: when I was younger with young children, I would still go to the gym several times a week and I’d still set the incline and resistance till it felt “right,” but those settings would be, at best, somewhere in the mid-range, and I thought I was doing good if I went 2 miles.

What changed?

I think I am getting ready to be a kick-ass grandma.

I first came across “the grandma hypothesis” in the books of anthropologist and primatologist Sarah Blaffer Hrdy. The grandma hypothesis is the idea that human women survive well past the age when they themselves can reproduce because the help they provided back when we were hunter-gatherers, in child-care and food-gathering, made a huge difference in their community’s survival. Anthropologists like Hrdy found that children in hunter-gatherer communities with an involved grandma are twice as likely to survive. Others found that women over the age of 40 were just as strong as 20-year-old women and were much better at foraging (they were more knowledgeable and, perhaps, they were also less ditzy than the hormone-addled young-uns). For all the talk of men as hunters, the "haul" these grandmas brought in often represented the bulk of the group’s calories.

Now that I’m older and wiser, I’m going to get some serious shit done.

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