It was inevitable. Sooner or later I was going to mention exercise.
Move Like Our Ancestors Did
If one of our ancestors, who lived off the land, before the time of all our modern technologies and conveniences, heard us talking about exercise, they’d think we were crazy. They didn’t have to exercise. Daily life was exercise. They had to use their bodies a lot more. In our modern exercises, we should try to replicate some of the hard work that constituted exercise for them.
They had to move a lot. There wasn’t a lot of time for just sitting down. In our modern times, sitting has been labeled the new smoking for its negative health effects. So, we too, should aim to keep active. Park the car further away from the store front and walk. Leave the car and walk or ride your bike. Take the stairs. Go for a walk on your lunch break. Use a stand up desk at work. Keep moving! We should aim to sit as little as possible during the day.
Move Like Your Life Depended On It
The other thing our ancestors had to do was to move quickly in short intense bursts, often to avoid unwanted consequences. Short burst of intense activity should also be included in our exercise regime. If we’re taking a walk, we may speed walk as fast as we can for short bursts, then return to our regular pace. If we’re jogging, we may sprint for short bursts. It is suggested that we get out and get our heart pumping in this way 2 1/2 hours/week.
Yet another thing our ancestors had to do was move heavy objects from place to place. Resistance and weight training are excellent ways to replicate this work. We can even use our own body weight for these exercises, as in push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, planks, squats, lunges… We don’t need expensive equipment. Yoga and Pilates are great weight bearing exercises as well. Weight bearing exercise is important as we age for maintenance of strong bones. It is recommended that this kind of exercise should be done 2 times/week.
Stay Quick and Nimble
Our ancestors were agile. As we age we tend to lose our agility. Doing agility exercises helps keep us young. Do you ever watch kids on the playground? Try adding in agility exercises. Go through an agility course at a local park, try out a local adventure park or indoor climbing gym. Take a dance fitness class. Or, the next time you take a walk in the park, don’t just walk, play. How would a child walk through the same park? Would they just walk or would they jump off stumps and find wobbly logs to balance on?
Most of all, make exercise fun and enjoyable. Do a form of exercise that you love doing, not something that you have to force yourself to do, and do it consistently.