How Much Movement You Need when Living Paleo
Your goal when living Paleo is always to mimic the physical patterns of cave men and make the exercises as practical as possible. You need various types of exercise daily and weekly to fulfill the movement requirement for a healthy, Paleo lifestyle.
These movements are guidelines, and you may have to modify them to meet your fitness level or schedule. Just remember that whenever you start a program and just start moving, you improve your body and your life.
Your body has different systems for using the energy it needs. Anaerobic (weight lifting, sprinting) is done in short spurts, and your body relies less on oxygen. Aerobic (running, dancing) increases your heart’s pumping over an extended period of time, and your body depends more on oxygen.
Resistance: Building strength and fighting age with a Paleo lifestyle
Do resistance exercises about two to three times per week (for most people, two days is enough) for no more than 30 minutes. If you don’t feel like that’s enough for you, check your intensity level; it should always be as much as you can tolerate.
You have to push the muscle outside of its comfort zone to improve. Tell yourself the workout won’t last long, so give it your all. That’s how you get results.
Recovering between workouts is extremely important, so two days provides ample recovery time between resistance training and endurance. But depending on your previous conditioning, three days a week may be fine for you.
You must have a break in between workouts, no less than 48 hours is optimal. If you do three days, make sure you stagger your workouts between 10 and 30 minutes and take a day off when your body tells you to. Slowly progress into the intensity and duration. Going too hard, too heavy, or too quickly is a pitfall you want to avoid.
Anaerobic: Building speed and power in a Paleo lifestyle
To gain power and speed as you’re designed, add one to two days of endurance conditioning to your weekly workout regimen.
The most effective way to build speed and power is through sprinting. You can choose from a number of activities — running sprints, hill sprints, stair sprints, bike sprints, or body sprints, like squat jumps or running in the sand.
Or if you’re just starting out, have bad knees, are injured, or have a health condition that prohibits you from this type of exercise, you can do low-impact sprinting options, like the pool, bike, rowing, or elliptical.
Sprinting exercises also improve your aerobic capacity because you’re affecting all the muscle fibers. So these exercises help you in your power, speed, and endurance.
Give this exercise your all-out effort, but be sure to listen to your body and sprint only on the days you feel maximum energy and are well rested.
Aerobic: Do what you love to build endurance with a Paleo lifestyle
To fulfill your aerobic requirements, you must move your body for one hour every day. Although some of you may think that one hour of aerobic movement every day is a lot, just remember that your body was designed to move. So you need to incorporate movement into your daily life to keep your body healthy.
You can check this hour off by doing what you love to do: Walking, taking stairs, chasing after the kids, doing hobbies, or taking a hike. You can even break up the hour into 10-, 20-, or 30-minute increments — whatever works in your life and schedule — just make sure you move for a minimum of one hour a day at a slower pace. For a higher fitness levels, move a little more.
If you want to track how much you’re walking, try using a pedometer, which shows you how many steps you take. The average person walks about 700 steps in an hour (that’s 3.5 miles).
Stop counting how many calories you’re burning. Think about aerobic movement as a daily requirement because it’s what your body is programmed to do. Just because you’re moving at a slower pace doesn’t mean it’s not effective.
This slower paced movement helps with daily stress, weight maintenance, blood sugar control, muscle tone, joints, improved fat metabolism, stronger immune system, and increased energy. If you’re doing your resistance and sprinting exercises, slower movements during the rest of the week are plenty. And on the days you sprint, you get double bonus because sprinting also improves your endurance!
When doing your slower-paced movements, keep track of your heart rate; you shouldn’t be huffing and puffing. You should be at 55 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate. Figuring out where your heart rate should be in this range depends on your fitness level.
This calculation is personal, and you have to adjust according to your needs and history. If you’re an elite athlete, higher than 70 percent may be appropriate. The important thing to keep in mind is to go at a slower, more moderate pace.