Paleo exercise is the perfect compliment to the Paleo diet.
The Paleo diet has changed many people’s lives. The principle — eat only what our ancient ancestors would have eaten — is simple enough to be easily understood and followed, and the practice is tasty and satisfying enough to be sustained over the long-term.
The popularity of the Paleo diet has lead people to seek out other ancestral health and lifestyle practices. Many people now practice ‘paleo parenting’, ‘sleeping like a caveman’ and (my favourite, of course) natural movement or ‘paleo exercise’.
What is paleo exercise?
Like most things, there is a short answer and a long answer! The short answer is that paleo exercise, or natural movement, is a type of fitness that focuses on the basic movements that humans need to use in a natural environment. This includes:
- Walking (preferably barefoot or in minimal shoes).
- Running (preferably barefoot or in minimal shoes).
- Ground movements:
- Getting up from sitting
- Lifting and carrying
So what is the long answer?
Don’t worry, I’ll keep try and keep the long answer short! The long answer tackles the issue that our ancestors didn’t really work out. They just moved in order to live. Replicating their movement habits in the modern world is more than just replicating the movements themselves — it’s trying to replicate the frequency, volume and distribution of those movements throughout the day, the week, the year.
The good news is that any steps you take to try and replicate the paleo movement diet will have a positive effect on your health.
Here are some things to think about:
- The majority of the movement that our ancestors did would have been low-intensity walking, often while carrying things (food, children). How much walking do you do? Could you do more?
- Paleolithic people squatted A LOT. But they didn’t do thirty reps in the gym. They would have squatted many times during the day to pick things up, to go to the toilet, to rest and chat. How could you spread your squats out to replicate this more accurately?
- When our ancestors lifted heavy objects they were rarely the same shape and size, unlike modern weight training equipment which tends to be symmetrical and uniform. Try using these things instead: Natural Movement Weightlifting: Five Alternative Lifting Objects to Find and Make