I find that a lot people tend to focus on dietary choices over physical ones when it comes to the paleo lifestyle. I've even seen recommendations to cut back or stop exercising all together. The more I read though the more I begin to wonder that maybe a lot of the health benefits HG's have is because they live such a physical lifestyle?
According to current data our paleo ancestors burned ~1k cals daily(source), modern sedentary people burn 1/4 or less that amount. HG's also tend to have much higher levels of physical fitness-
We know from numerous studies that exercise protects against degenerative diseases and a lot of people can avoid a ton of health complications associated with the SAD if they exercise more.
So do people in the paleosphere emphasis physical activity enough? Do they put too much weight on dietary choices? Is 3 hours of crossfit(or similar training) a week enough? Should we all be walking 10 miles a day? burning 1k cals?
I think too many folks raise their cortisol unnecessarily by doing too much Crossfit & not enough gentle walking.
I like Mark Sisson's Primal Blueprint Fitness program as a guide to "exercise" for the average non-athlete. It's a free pdf file.
Basically: lift heavy for 20-30 min twice a week, sprint 1x/week for 10 min, move slowly for 5-7+ hours/week, play & rest.
I think healthy social life is understated the most. It was great that robb wolf really made a point about in his video. Maybe its selfevident. I have been very introvert personality, and i believe thats the cause of my health problems.
I think an relaxed hour or two of walking a day and doing some heavy chores like chopping wood and gathering stuff from forest is all the excersice you need to stay healthy. Atleast my grandfather did.
Patagonia clothing and North Face did studies of their customers and found that the majority of their customers do not lead an active lifestyle, but they enjoyed looking like the lead the active lifestyle. I can't remember exactly the percentage, but even the self-described active people wearing Patagonia clothing were not very active, although they thought they were.
I often wonder how many people on paleohacks are actually active and follow the lifestyle compared to how man are fooling themselves.
The point of the above is those that don't stress activity are probably not and never were active and like to say they are paleo without being paleo. You can't live paleo without both activity and diet.
Farming is much more labor intensive than hunting-gathering and the "diseases of civilization" arose in spite of this dramatic increase in activity levels.
Of course, with the stratification/specialization of our species, the percentage of individuals engaged in the laborious creation of food has dwindled and many of our jobs now require little or no physical effort.
Exercise, therefore, is absolutely important, albeit in combination with an individually optimized diet.
I personally "exercise" (everything from yoga, to boxing, to weight lifting, to walking) 2 hours a day. I pay attention to my body and make sure that I finish feeling good rather than completely wiped out.
I think you might be focusing on the wrong thing. First off, I do not view exercise as a way to burn off calories. It's like trying to lose weight by thinking the lower amount of calories I consume the more I will put off. Instead I see it as a way to get my body going (boosting hormone levels, good for the heart, boosting my overall mood, etc) and giving it a little healthy stress, and to improve my fat metabolism.
I think the paleo community has emphasized that we need to be active in our world. Stop sitting on the coach all day online, or watching TV. Go outside, keep your HR around 50-55%. But this does not have to be exercise as you describe it. Go play with the kids, go dance, try to drive your car less and take your bike, or walk into town, etc. Does not mean do crossfit everyday.
If you think the more the better, than need to understand hormesis. Too much stress is bad, a little is good for you (I'm not saying all stress is hormetic, just that exercise is).
Diet is important, but I agree not the only thing. Exercise, sleep, stress levels or all important and part of the big picture. So go out and have some fun.
I couldn't agree more.
I endeavor to walk as much as possible every day and am a bit startled when I count up the miles. A few miles a day feels like a lot when you're out of shape and your feet especially aren't used to it, but after a while 8-10 miles a day is nothing. It's not strenuous and I at least enjoy it. Maybe all paleos need to give a big, goofy dog at a shelter a good home and walk 'em miles every day. It'd be the best thing for both parties.
At the very least, people should put an exercise device in front of their television and use it at a low to moderate intensity instead of sitting there passively.
There is no evolutionary precedent for sedentary living and no way to eat your way around that fact.
Shortest answer may just be yes we should be moving far more. I'm just curious, does no one on this forum have a labor intensive job? I mean construction workers, carpenters, maintenance, even various mechanics? This obviously would count toward your physical activity particularly doing these activities 40+ hours each weak.
To be honest if you have a sedentary job then focusing on physical activity is going to be far more important than to that of a person whose living already provides at least a moderate amount of activity. Heck even a busy health care professional would do quite a bit of walking and movement day in and out. It all counts in my book. So at the end of the day its not just how much cross-fit you did...its how you spend each waking moment. Wrestling your kids? It counts! Take the stairs instead of escalator? It counts! You get the picture.
Oh, and this is also a huge problem I have with our current school structure. Its like forcing young people into a sedentary job, especially when they cut gym and recess. The kids need more time off their butts. The book "Spark" is a good read.
It goes without saying that hunting and gathering requires movement. I think it's more important than the diet, which is at its best opportunistic. [I'd like to think that it included a lot of mollusks, which for me are very rewarding to catch, prepare and eat.]
So as I gather the pork chops I've walked 10 miles to get, I think about the benefits of doing this daily for over 4 years. My HDL is sky high, blood pressure low and weight normal. I often have my best insights for work while walking, and am better able to organize my thoughts. Walking makes me hungry, and after eating I want to walk again. For me this what defines paleo lifestyle: hunger motivates activity to find food.
As an aside, I do almost all of my walking in town and city, usually in 3-5 mile segments spread through the day.
Yes. I explain this here.