We don’t want to hear what smoothie we should be drinking.
We don’t want to hear what exercise program we should be following, counting reps and forcing movements that may just be hurting more than helping (most gym equipment).
We want to know the basic facets of health. What can we do every day, with our children, when we are at work, when we are resting at home?
If you look at this from an ancestral perspective answer is simple. Think back to a time when nothing was automated for us. Amazon didn’t deliver boxes of supplements to our door the day after we order it. We had to go out and forage for medicine.
The grocery store wasn’t there to provide a vast array of processed and out of season food, letting us indulge in anything we might be craving. We had to hunt our food. We had to grow and harvest it.
The common theme here is that we have simply stopped moving. Ever stop to think how strange it is that most of us have to go to a gym and walk in place to simulate slow, steady movement? Walking is a crucial stimulus to activate the genes responsible for promoting optimal health. We evolved over millions of years to have to move around at a slow too moderate pace to achieve anything. Our bodies evolved to use this stimuli to strengthen everything from our primary and secondary muscle groups, improve our energy metabolism, balance our blood sugar and insulin response, and promote mental health.
The day we stopped walking and started chasing convenience coincided with the industrialization of our food system, the use of more chemicals in the house and public water, and the ceasing of crucial time to think and refocus. This is the world we live in now, so we must figure out how to adapt.
One thing is for certain. The need for lots of gentle movement will not go away. Like I said, our bodies need this stimuli to provide us a baseline of health. So what do we do? Build it into your day.
- Take a 10 minute walk after every meal. This helps digestion and organ function, balances blood sugar (to avoid fat storage), and is an easy way to add in movement. That gets you 25-30 minutes a day right off the bat.
- Sore in the morning? Either take a walk or incorporate some stretching into your routine. Think guerrilla warfare on movement. While your coffee is brewing, do some deep squats and open up your hips. Lunge from room to room. Do a set of pushups.
- Take a longer hike or walk a couple times a week. The total amount of time you should strive for is at least 4 hours a week of slow to moderate aerobic exercise. With your daily walks you already are almost hitting that. Go swimming with the kids, take them and the dog on an hour long gentle hike. Take a yoga class if that’s your thing.
Aerobic exercise like this is a core part of my routine, and allows a baseline of fitness to be in place before I do things like heavy weight training or rock climbing. Its as simple as that folks.
-Elliot and Beth
Elliot Steele is a Primal Health Coach based in Chelan WA. He strives to empower those looking to regain their health after a lifetime of misinformed practices. This is the essence of Steele Back Your Health, to truly learn how to be healthy with sustainable habits. Check out the coaching and blog page for more info!