Walk Like A Caveman

I like to look at our evolutionary past for clues on how to eat and move in terms of what works best for the current day human.  When it comes to human nature, I often think: “Why would a caveman do that?”  Exercise, food, monogamy, showing off, getting sleepy after you know what! I’ve got some theories!  But enough of that.

I like to mimic those ancestral behaviours as best as possible in this day and age when it comes to exercise and nutrition.  The “Paleolithic” lifestyle in my opinion gets the best results with most individuals these days but some people get a little too fanatical about the whole paleo thing.  “I’m strictly paleo” some people proclaim.  Really?  I doubt it!

You’ll never eat like a paleo ancestor as most of those plants and animals don’t exist anymore.  Variations of them like sweet potato and nuts do but I don’t see any modern day “paleo” people chasing, killing and slow roasting mammoth!   Anthropologists such as Tim White suggest that cannibalism was common in human societies prior to the beginning of the Upper Paleolithic, based on the large amount of “butchered human” bones found in Neanderthal and other Lower/Middle Paleolithic sites too.  Eh?  No thanks.

The reality is most long hunts would probably yield a few small birds, maybe some fish, a couple of frogs and some mushrooms.   Every now and then a good hunt would yield a small deer or the remains of a larger animal so its about time we started using the term “to best mimic” when it comes to the paleo approach.

Walk Like A Caveman?

So how did we move?  For most of the day we performed sub-maximal (and what could technically be termed aerobic) activities. We walked around, gathered food, tracked prey, cooked, cleaned, etc.  None of what we did was formal exercise; we just completed the necessary tasks of the day, whatever that may be.  Most sources have us hunting or gathering for around 4 hours a day.  Not sitting down for 8-12.

In terms of “formal activity” or “exercise,” our bodies were designed to be anaerobic in nature.  The term “anaerobic” means “without air” or “without oxygen.” Anaerobic exercise uses muscles at high intensity and a high rate of work for a short period of time. Anaerobic exercise helps us increase our muscle strength and stay ready for quick bursts of speed. Think of short and fast when you think of anaerobic exercise.  We sprinted away from predators or towards prey. We climbed trees, hoisted objects, swung weapons, and clubbed our dinner to death with maximal exertion.

So that’s a lot of movement a day.  4 hours EVERY day plus some pushing, pulling swinging and smashing.  Your survival depended on it.  I think that is interesting.

So my question today is, “Where can you get more low intensity movement?”

Your high intensity pushing, pulling, climbing, swinging and smashing should be taken care of by your multiple days of weight training but where can you get some more movement from?

Walk to the shops
Walk to and from work
Park the car 20 mins from work and walk
Take the stairs
Carry your shopping home
Fashion spears out of flint stone and sticks then throw them at people you want to eat………..er?

No.  I’ve zoned out again…

But seriously, how active are you really?  And where on the spectrum of activity do you sit?  I’m not saying do 4 hours of walking a day, just try and increase yours.  Sitting at the breakfast table, sitting in the car, standing in the elevator, sitting at your desk, sitting in the meeting. sitting at lunch, sitting at your desk, sitting in your car and then sitting on the couch.  You get the drift.

See you in the gym!

Personal Training – Bondi Junction