If you already have incorporated Paleo diet into your lifestyle, then you probably know the essence of this diet – eat the way you were built to eat. When it comes to incorporating Paleo fitness into your life, you should follow similar guidelines – do what your body was designed to do. Paleo exercises slightly depart from the traditional understanding of exercises and working out. Instead of spending hours at the gym, all you’ll have to do is incorporate movement into your day. And, almost every type of movement counts.
Doing Paleo exercises means focusing on free movement and natural exercise over machine-based workouts. If you spend 30 minutes on an elliptical trainer and then you sit for the next eight hours, you won’t be doing your body much good. Instead, try imitating the life of the cavemen. They spent much of their day walking around, gathering food, hunting, and exploring new territories. So, why don’t you take one out of their book and try to move around as much as possible? You can, for example, take a brief five-minute walk around your office every hour. If your workplace doesn’t allow that, you can at least try changing your desk height frequently or avoid sitting in the same position for too long. And, it is always a good idea to use your lunch break to head outside and take a walk.
If you’re willing to kick things up a notch, you can try walking or riding a bike instead of driving to work. Too challenging for you? Then, park your car as far away as possible from your destination and walk the rest of the way. Or, instead of waiting for the elevator, try using the stairs. The key to Paleo fitness is being active every day, but not pushing yourself too hard.
Besides walking around a lot, our ancestors also had to make sure that they can outrun certain animals, either to hunt them or to avoid being hunted. Sprinting and High Intensity Interval Workouts (HIIT) will not only make you fast, but they also have plenty of benefits for your cardiovascular system. That is why you should incorporate running, biking, or swimming sprints once a week. Five sets is plenty if you really go at your max speed.
However, just because you are switching to Paleo doesn’t mean you’ll have to give up going to the gym. Skip doing those tedious cardio sessions and try out brief but intense strength workouts. Incorporating free weights and compound lifts will help you become strong and fit in no time. Challenge yourself by doing full body exercises such as squatting, lunging, deadlifting, pull-ups, and pushups which are quite similar to primal exercises and movement. In addition, you can always sign up for a fitness program. Perhaps the most popular one in Paleo circles is CrossFit since it builds overall fitness through workouts that incorporate bodyweight exercises. Although a standard CrossFit session might be too much of a strain on most people and cause a cortisol spike. That’s why one of the best paleo fitness practices is to limit your exercises to under 30 minutes. But do go hard!
Keep in mind that, besides encouraging natural exercise, Paleo lifestyle also stresses the importance of getting enough rest and recovery time. We all tend to think that the more we work out the better the results will be. However, every Paleo-aligned workout program incorporates rest days for a reason. After doing high-intensity workouts, our muscles need some time to recover. Incorporating Paleo fitness in your life is important. However, it should be something that supports your body and your needs, not something you have to force yourself to do. One great thing about Paleo fitness is that almost every type of movement is beneficial, from simply walking to carrying extra grocery baskets while shopping. So, you don’t have to make any great changes overnight. Instead, you can try to find a way to move around that will actually fit into your lifestyle.
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Featured image: Flickr Creative Commons Pietro Bellini