Thinking About Going Primal/Paleo for the New Year: What Does That Entail?
As mentioned in my previous post, going primal/paleo is about adopting a new lifestyle that emphasizes building new habits to clean up our diet, exercise more optimally, have better sleep hygiene, and learn how to manage the stress in our lives. It focuses on adopting an ancestral health approach.
In my previous post, I listed which primal/paleo staples were good to have on hand to start eating in a more “ancestral” way. I am now going to explain what exercising in a primal/paleo way means.
So What About Exercise?
Exercising in a primal way is approaching daily movement and exercise in a non-demanding way (the opposite of chronic cardio). It is embracing a life of daily activities that makes time for frequent breaks to stretch and move around enough. Exercising in a primal/paleo way (as explained in The New Primal Blueprint, by Mark Sisson) comprises of:
- Flexibility/Mobility practices: yoga and pilates, for example, allow for greater mobility and flexibility, while strengthening muscles, including the core. Mobility exercises are beneficial to the tendons, ligaments, and fascia that support the entire musculoskeletal system.
- Move frequently: make everyday movement (short walking breaks, evening strolls, etc.) a default habit, along with well-designed cardio workouts at 180-minus-age heart rate in addition to the flexibility/mobility practices mentioned above.
- Schedule: Try to align your workouts (type, frequency, intensity, and duration) with your energy levels each day. Having an Oura ring (which I recently purchased) can help you track your overall readiness each morning.
- Shoes: progressively allow some barefoot time for low-risk activities to strengthen feet and replicate natural range of motion. Opt for shoes with minimalist design (like Vibram Five Fingers, Nike Free, Merrell, Inov-8, etc.), but make sure you go from a regular 8mm shoe (to maybe a 4mm shoe) to a zero-drop shoe gradually in order to give your body enough time to adjust.
- Sprinting: all-out efforts of 8 to 20 seconds every 7 to 10 days only if fully energized. Some easier “wind sprint” sessions for conditioning can also be included more regularly.
- Strength training: brief, intense sessions of 10 to 30 minutes; twice a week is plenty. Go for full-body, functional exercises that help with athletic competency.
- Stretching: minimal, full-body, functional stretches (like the Grok Hang and the resting Grok Squat) after exercising and/or simply at the end of the day are recommended too.
On a Final Note
You can also check my article on The Primal Blueprint Fitness Pyramid which sums up what should be at the core of an individual’s movement regimen in order to be fit in the most down-to-earth way.
Until next time!
Sisson, Mark. The New Primal Blueprint : Reprogram Your Genes for Effortless Weight Loss, Vibrant Health, and Boundless Energy. Oxnard, Ca, Primal Blueprint Publishing, 2017, p. 482.
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