Ferrets Prove We Have the Evolutionary Drive To Exercise – So Are We Just Lazy?

by Ian on April 26, 2012

Dr. Raichlen from the School of Anthropology, University of Arizona has concluded a study involving humans, dogs and get this Ferrets.

In his study Dr. Raichlen measured endocannabinoid levels (chemicals similar to cannabis which lighten our moods). He had 10 volunteer recreation runners, 8 dogs of different breeds and of course several ferrets.


Each of the people and animals participated in 30 minutes of training which was equivalent to approximately 70% of the maximum heart rate. Positive reinforcement was used for the animals said Dr. Raichlen in an interview with the NY Times.

After the 30 minutes was concluded blood was drawn from each subject and their endocannabinoid levels measured.

On a second day the same test subjects walked for 30 minutes, less the ferrets who rested in their cages, and again after the activity blood was drawn and endocannabinoid levels were measured.

We’re Wired to Be Active!

It turned out after testing both after walking and running that both humans and dogs showed increased endocannabinoid levels while the ferrets showed the same levels after resting as they did after running.

While this is not a conclusive study since the human participants were recreational runners which isn’t a general sample of all people and we can’t conclusively compare results between humans and ferrets. However one thing that we can begin to formulate from this is that humans are rewarded in the from of increased endocannabinoid levels for moving and being active. So just one more reason you should get out there and get moving. It’s not just about burning calories and losing weight it’s also about the neurological benefits as well!

Source: NYTimes.com, PubMed.gov

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