What is Aerobic Exercise?

As explained in a previous post on The Primal Blueprint Fitness Pyramid, aerobic exercise includes general everyday movement and workouts that do not go above the recommended aerobic heart rate zone of “180 minus your current age” or less. Aerobic exercise is well-paced and not so stressful on the body.

Enough movement throughout the day is necessary for proper blood flow to be delivered to the different muscles you use, which means more oxygen and nutrients, along with “waste removal.” Moving throughout the day (along with other variables) ensures proper cellular health.

You also want to add a few cardio sessions done at a comfortable heart rate. No chronic cardio here. Whatever fits your schedule the best. Cycling, swimming, running, or even just walking are all good options, whatever your energy levels of the day make you feel like doing.

Sidenote: Aerobic Workout / Anaerobic Workout

The word aerobic means “with oxygen.” When you do an aerobic workout, this means there is enough oxygen available to burn mostly fat, as fat needs oxygen to burn for energy when you exercise. 

In comparison, an anaerobic (“without oxygen”) workout is a workout that is more difficult to the point that it gives rise to an oxygen shortage (any brief and intense exercise like sprinting, for instance). This leads to the burning of a greater amount of glucose for energy (as glucose doesn’t need oxygen to burn).

The Main Benefits of Aerobic Exercise

  • Fat metabolism: aerobic exercise primes your body to better use free fatty acids for energy. This is enhanced, of course, if you also consume low-insulin-producing foods.
  • Cardiovascular function: aerobic exercise builds more mitochondria (the “powerhouses” of the cells) in your muscles, so you burn energy more effectively with less free radical damage. Aerobic exercise also helps with oxygen utilization by your lung, boosts the stroke volume of your heart, and enhances your capillary network.
  • Musculoskeletal strength and resilience: sensible aerobic exercise also helps better your bones, joints, and connective tissue. 

In Summary

Whenever you are moving your body and doing aerobic exercise, it benefits your body during the workout, and when you are at rest. Multiple health benefits can ensue from making sure you get enough movement/exercise each day. Last, but not least, aerobic exercise strengthens the immune system by enhancing the flow of anti-aging hormones, along with improving the circulatory system. 

Enjoy your favorite movement regimen for all of the above reasons!

Until next time!

You can also find me on Instagram.

Controlling Blood Sugar

Given that I now have a high carbohydrate sensitivity (as mentioned in my first blog post), I have to constantly watch my carbohydrate intake. I am doing this very rigorously by eating a low-carb diet (almost borderline keto diet). I bought a blood glucose monitor to help me see which foods tend to raise my blood sugar too much. This is really helpful to get a clear picture of what is okay to eat. No one should have to wait to have diabetes in order to do that. When I eat something slightly sweet, right away it makes me want to eat more. So I really stay away from anything containing too much sugar at this point. Healthy fats are way more satisfying anyway!

To help you get a better handle on monitoring your blood sugar levels, there are different strategies that you can implement. Ben Greenfield highlights these in Boundless. Here are four of them:

Strength Training

Strength training helps lower blood sugar and improves insulin sensitivity, which also means less of a chance to store sugar as fat. Simple bodyweight exercises can be enough, such as: push-ups, lunges, and air squats. Squats are my favorite, since they’re easy to do throughout the day whenever you have a minute or two.

Pre-breakfast Fasted Cardio

According to research, exercising in the morning in a fasted state (meaning before you eat anything) can really help to keep your blood sugar in check.

Walking Right After Having your Meal

Short walks (20-30 minutes) right after eating are highly recommended too as they have been shown to lead to lower fat concentration in the blood.

Staying Physically Active During the Day

If walking after your meal is not always possible, then standing is the next best option (as opposed to sitting) in order to lessen post-meal blood sugar spikes. You can also switch between standing and sitting every 30 minutes or so. The main thing is to keep moving throughout the day, as mentioned in my two previous posts: 5 Simple Leg (&Hip) Stretches and Why Everyday Movement is Non-Negotiable.

In Summary

To help with maintaining desired blood glucose levels, the above approaches are simple habits to take on. As always, it doesn’t have to be challenging. Just one or two small new changes at a time in the right direction. Which strategy will you implement first?

Until next time!

Reference

Greenfield, Ben. Boundless : Upgrade Your Brain, Optimize Your Body & Defy Aging. Las Vegas, Victory Belt Publishing Inc, 2020, pp. 166–68.

You can also find me on Instagram.

How Easy Staying in Shape can be

Moving and exercising enough shouldn’t feel like yet another challenging goal to put on your to-do-list. Our ancestors were doing basic functional movements (squat, crawl, walk, run, jump, climb, carry, throw, etc.) when going about their daily activities. Our lifestyle has changed tremendously over the centuries, especially in the last 100 years, but this doesn’t mean that we cannot throw in a few stretches and bodyweight exercises (for instance) as simple 1-2-minute-breaks throughout the day every day. The Primal Blueprint Fitness Pyramid highlights how easy staying in shape can be without going overboard on any type of fitness activity. Moving frequently, exercising your muscles and getting your heart rate up occasionally is all you have to do.

Move Frequently

The base of the Primal Blueprint Fitness Pyramid is comprised of three types of activities:

  • Flexibility/mobility, such as with Pilates, yoga, tai chi, gymnastics, dancing, and dynamic rolling/stretching/therapy work
  • Cardio workouts at your target heart rate (Cycle, hike, walk/jog, water activities) – Your target heart rate is a simple calculation: 180 BPM – your age
  • More general daily movement to avoid prolonged inactivity

As mentioned in my post, Why Everyday Movement is Non-Negotiable, when we have to sit for long periods of time, such as when working at a computer, we want to get up, stretch, and walk a little bit every 30 minutes or so. The same goes if we are at a standing workstation. Enough movement throughout the day is necessary for proper blood flow to be delivered to the different muscles we use, which means more oxygen and nutrients, along with “waste removal.” In short, moving throughout the day (along with other variables) ensures proper cellular health.

We also want to add a few cardio sessions done at a comfortable heart rate. No chronic cardio here. Whatever fits your schedule the best. Cycling, swimming, running, or even just walking are all good options, whatever your energy levels of the day make you feel like doing.

When it comes to working on improving flexibility and mobility, there are a plethora of options, as listed above. Yoga is my favorite, but I also do some basic stretches every day and some tai chi exercises. Having a foam roller handy is helpful too in order to massage muscles and break up knots.

Lift Heavy Things

To lift heavy things refers to strength training: brief, intense resistance exercises. It doesn’t have to be more than twice a week for 10-30 minutes at a time. In this category, you find basic bodyweight exercises like the 4 Primal Essential Movements (planks, pushups, squats, and pullups). Keeping things simple and not too demanding is a sure way to build a habit in a concise way. I like to do planks, squats, and bridges on a regular basis. You can also use free weights and resistant bands.

Sprint

Every 7 to 10 days, if you are 100% energized, you can do several 8-20 second bursts, during a cycling or running session, for instance. There is no need to do more than that. These short all-out sprints are a great addition to moving frequently and lifting heavy things on occasion for optimal primal fitness.

In Summary

The Primal Blueprint Fitness Pyramid highlights what should be at the core of an individual’s movement regimen in order to be fit in the most down-to-earth way. It is modeled after the ways our ancestors moved in everyday life. Simplicity is key. Moving frequently, lifting heavy things occasionally, and sprinting when you are fully rested is all you have to do. Including time for recovery, which includes adequate sleep and relaxation is mandatory. And it is also good to include play, which refers to any spontaneous outdoor physical activity like running around with your kids outside, or your dog. Being and staying fit is not a difficult goal to attain. The main thing to keep in mind is not to be in any specific position for a prolonged period of time. As they say, “The best position is the next one you will be in.”

Until next time!

Reference
Sisson, Mark. The New Primal Blueprint : Reprogram Your Genes for Effortless Weight Loss, Vibrant Health, and Boundless Energy. Oxnard, Ca, Primal Blueprint Publishing, 2017, pp. 314–369.

You can also find me on Instagram.