One of the biggest deterrents to someone actually doing the exercise that their body is crying out for is this: they think they need to join a gym (expensive and intimidating to the uninitiated), and then of course they have to find the time to get there. Driving over, getting into your special workout clothes, waiting in lines to use fancy machines or heavy weights on supports and on benches covered with the previous users sweat…
and music you may hate is often blaring at you, and lines of folks peddle away on bicycle trainers, going nowhere, watching TV…
Doesn’t sound too appealing, does it? And so, unsurprisingly, most people simply give it all up, and say “I just walk!” when the subject of exercise comes up. While walking is fine, most people just walk really fast for exercise (this is silly and unproductive- walking is not meant to be rushed!), and then drive the rest of the time when they are not on their 1/2 hour really fast, dorky looking walk through the mall or the neighborhood.
So, I will agree: rule #1 of Perfectly Paleo Exercise: walk, but walk barefoot, outside in the grass when you can. Pumping small weights ala Heavyhands is ideal, and a great total body workout can be had, pleasantly if not easily, in 10-15 minutes! And otherwise- just walk into town if you can, or at least just park at the very back of the parking lot when you shop. It never adds more than a few minutes at most to your trip, and makes parking easy and safe for your vehicle, and adds health to your life.
Rule #2: Exercise at home! That’s right, in your living room, your den, your basement- wherever. I have my gymnastic rings hanging in the basement, and it is so fast and convenient and productive to just go down there and do some pushups, pull ups, flies, and one-legged squats and rows. Never takes longer than about 30 minutes to totally stimulate the entire musculature, safely and very productively. No spine compression like with a barbell on your back, or shoulder destruction from bench pressing a heavy barbell- and flexibility is also enhanced.
Rule #3: Work out, hopefully daily, and do it first thing in the morning. Come up with a sequence that works well for you- I vary mine slightly from day to day, but each day usually has a focus- for instance, tomorrow is pushup day. I’ll get up nice and early, to have the living room (and the television) to myself, and then I’ll walk in, coffee in hand, and start my Netflix show as I begin slowly flexing and working out. Virtual resistance is always how I begin, slow, intentional flexing of each muscle group in the body throughout the entire range of motion, for 7-10 reps each.
Rule #4: Stretch! After my whole body has been worked via virtual resistance, I get down on my floor mat and go through a series of stretches. I also work my ankles, my hands, massage my bare feet, ( I always exercise barefoot when I can), and finish with a long hold of a back bridge, adjusting my spine while I get the blood into my head- it feels great!
Rule #5: Do pushups. You don’t need to do them every day, I like to concentrate them into 2 times per week, Sundays on the rings, and Thursdays on the Perfect pushup rotating pushup handles. I do them with my legs elevated, and I do sets with regular width grip, wide grip, and then narrow grip. 30, 25, and 20 lately. Then I repeat, for at least four sets; sometimes up to 10!
If I do the 4 sets, that’s a total of 260 reps. I pause briefly between sets, and sometimes to isometrics and self resisted exercises as I do so. This is much more beneficial than any sort of heavy weight training, or long distance running, since it develops the entire body in a very beneficial way, giving your body a symmetry of proportion, not bulky, blocky muscles and a protruding stomach.
Rule #6: Get a rebounder! I don’t want you to spend a lot on anything, after all, I haven’t asked you to join a gym, get special shoes or clothes, or anything much. Ideally, you will have a one time purchase and installation of gymnastic rings, buy the heavy duty Perfect Pushup handles (the standard ones wear out quickly), and a mat for the floor. (I got a rubber yoga mat at Target). But, do get a rebounder, which is a mini-trampoline! Nothing comes close to stimulating your lymph system, which processes your waste products from the body, and it naturally enhances the virtual resistance exercises as you gently bounce on it. You actually have to experience rebounding to realize how healthy it is (I always finish up with the “Ab bounce”), and all you need is a cheap rebounder. Mine, like my mat, was from Target- $30.00. I’ve had it, and used it daily, for years!
Rule #7: Do sit ups! I’m really coming to believe my grade school gym teachers had it right- back in the 1950’s and early 60’s, they had us doing multiple sets of pushups and sit ups, along with jumping jacks and burpees, chin ups and rope climbing! What could be more paleo than that?
Somewhere along the line, body builders started doing “crunches”, which were said to totally isolate the abs. BS! I think they caught on because they are really easy! Do sit ups! Put your hands behind your head, do not anchor your feet under anything, and sit up all the way, getting your head down as low in front as you can. After awhile, you will be touching your nose to your knees, or close to it.
This is not just for the abs in isolate, like the crunch- this, like the pushup, is a total body exercise, and is particularly beneficial to the back and the spine.
Tuesdays are sit up day, along with hindu squats (high rep squats to the floor, swinging the arms as you go), slow regular pushups with hands flat on the floor, and several other exercises I have adopted over the years. All are detailed in my eBook Perfectly Paleo Exercise, and in PaleoJay’s Smoothie Cafe paperback.
Rule #8: EXERCISE! It’s not optional, just like eating, our Ancestral bodies really require regular exercise, natural exercise that satisfies our flexibility, strength, and aerobic needs. Good sleep, good natural foods made by God, not man, (this means no gluten!), and exercise are all necessary for health and well-being. Get started tomorrow- just go in the living room and do some pushups and sit ups. I don’t care if you can only do one of each! Do one, rest, do another, and so on. If that’s all you can do, then that is as good for you as hundreds are to someone else. Do a little stretching, eat well that day in a Paleo sort of way, go to bed early, and do it again tomorrow- I guarantee it will be easier the very next day.
Rule #9 & 10: REPEAT