Whole9 guest post by Coach Rut, who has over a quarter century of fitness coaching experience and holds academic degrees in biology and physical education, and Master’s degrees in exercise physiology and sports biomechanics.
If you read the reports and the statistics, most people aren’t really getting more fit or any healthier. On my 5:00 a.m. commute to work, I pass four big chain pharmacies, all with a waiting line at the druggist counter. In spite of even more evidence pointing to lifestyle related illness and the benefits of movement (exercise), we are moving sideways at best.
Sure there is more conversation, more medicine, more tracking, more cookbooks and more gyms opening. However, much if not all of this lack of progress in improving overall health can be attributed to the afflictions of a modern world and technology. We simply don’t have to move as much in order to exist.
Our forefathers (or primal man), had a simple daily agenda. At the risk of offending all the Primal and Paleo experts I see it through the following lens:
- Wake up around a smoldering fire
- Take a head count to see who was consumed during the evening slumber
- Listen to stomach rumble
- Figure out which direction to go hunting and gathering
- Walk, jog, or sprint to gather or hunt something to eat
- Return home with a large bounty and become the pride of the tribe
The everyday routine for primal man was hunt or be hunted, gather or starve.
No gym memberships were available or needed. Life and exercise were an integrated experience. Today, we separate the two. We have our gym visits and we have… everything else.
Don’t get me wrong. Going to a location to have a structured approach to conditioning is awesome and valuable, but there are ways to integrate more activity that isn’t necessarily credited as exercise related.
I would like to suggest eight ways to make your every day more Primal and increase your daily level of activity.
1.) BUILD MORE WALKING AND/OR BIKING INTO YOUR DAY
This sounds amazingly simple because it is.. If possible walk to meals you’re eating out, to the market or other errands. There is a huge movement built around a magical 10,000 walking steps. You’ll up your game by carrying home your groceries in a back pack. Own a canine? His health will improve when he joins your walk. Walking can also get you sunlight, a dose of vitamin D, and helps to sync your internal clock.
2.) PARK FURTHER FROM YOUR DESTINATION
This ties into the first, but I’m constantly amazed at how folks will prowl the parking lots hoping to upgrade their parking spot. I’ve informally done a study on this and have noticed that parking quickly beats the Rockstar-parking-lot-prowling approach. Park on the edge and hike in.
3.) TAKE THE STAIRS
My cardiologist friends have been saying this for years. There is health in those steps. Thumb your nose at the elevator/escalator riders.
4.) GET A STAND UP DESK
My daily office time is short compared to many of my clients but I don’t sit at all during the day. Part of that involves using a stand up desk at my office and in my home office. According to JUSTSTAND, I burn an additional 368 calories over the course of an 8 hour day. I’m not really into crunching calories during a workout, but this is going to exceed 50 % of ‘exercisers’ output.
5.) SQUAT WHEN YOU CAN SIT
Squatting is just so primal I can barely type! But you can really increase the benefits to your body by squatting instead of sitting. If I’m not standing to eat a meal, I’ll squat and eat. Lots of times I’ll squat and talk on the phone. I’ve even been known to squat and watch a television show.
6.) INSTALL A PULL UP BAR
For decades, I’ve been telling zealous parents to install a doorway pull up bar for their children. Have them earn entrance and exits performing pull-up(s). You can do the same at your home or if allowed, the office. Nothing screams primal like pull ups. If you can’t do a pull up, you probably would not have survived in the Paleolithic era.
7.) EVERY HOUR ON THE HOUR
These last two are a little bit influenced by my coaching world (sorry), but it a slick way to integrate more movement into your day. Simply set your alarm to go off every hour. On that hour stop what you are doing and perform some desk jockey stretches, wall push ups, squats (again), lunges or walk/jog/sprint to the drinking fountain. If your employer allows, get outside and hightail it around the building. You’ll probably find a rush of energy and creativity from the experience.
8.) GO BAREFOOT MORE
I’ve participated in and coached athletes from a number of athletic backgrounds. I’m convinced that all the engineering that has gone into footwear hasn’t been beneficial. I believe in the ‘zero’ midsole concept of footwear and encourage a barefooting lifestyle. Start slowly and increase your barefoot time at home. You can do everyone a favor by getting a pedicure too.
Becoming more fit and primal can be seamlessly added to your daily and weekly routine with only a minimal amount of effort and planning. You will conservatively triple your daily movement and increase your primal score. Have at it.
Michael Rutherford (a.k.a. Coach Rut) has over a quarter century of fitness coaching experience including working with competitors from the ranks of international, Olympic, collegiate, high school, middle school and elementary school aged athletes. Coach Rut also has worked in hospital wellness environments and rehabilitation clinics. All of these experiences have allowed him to bridge the gap between the needs of the competitor and those of the man, woman and child seeking enhanced personal health and fitness. Coach Rut’s Boot Camp Fitness program is the area’s largest and most established group exercise program and his training services have assisted thousands of Kansas City residents over the last two decades. Coach holds academic degrees in biology and physical education, and Master’s degrees in exercise physiology and sports biomechanics. He is a certified Club Coach by the United States Weightlifting Association and is a CrossFit level III certified coach.
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