Sunday, 2 May 2010

Bring Before Me What Is Mine*

Another paleo check-box got ticked by the mainstream media today. The Telegraph announced that "Five minutes exercising in the countryside boosts mental health",

  • “A walk a day should help to keep the doctor away – and help to save the country money. There is a large potential benefit to individuals, society and to the costs of the health service if all groups of people were to ‘self-medicate’ more with green exercise.”

Who'd have thunk it? 'Experts' were quoted thusly,

  • Experts claim the combination of exercise and the sense of escape that being surrounded by nature and “fresh air” can bring, provides a psychological boost.

Wow, a recommendation to work out outdoors. Recognition that humans like to be on the hills, in a forest or beside the seaside*. Experts should turn their attention to telling us where bears like to do their 'business'. The siloed nature of medicine, health and fitness really doesn't do us any favours - and arguably leads to damage. This is as you'd expect from an agenda that recommends you defy the laws of nature and come out alive*.

I like the notion of 'self medicating with green exercise', but the important bit for me is the implication that if you 'get' the paleo concept, and buy in to its fundamentals, you will see the bigger picture straight off the bat rather than being handed individual pieces of the jigsaw by your doctor, nutritionist and personal trainer (and all in a reactionary fashion as a means of treating condition/syndrome/symptom 'x', 'y' or 'z'), with no real idea of how to fit them all together and no idea if you have all the pieces.

That is the thing about the paleo concept; sure it might lend itself to accusations of romanticism - but this approach drops you in to Paleo Ground Zero (PGZ). Try it; you will get good results and are unlikely to turn back to your former ways (I swear that you'll be mine!*).

Once at PGZ you should be engaging in sporting activity involving short bursts of speed with changes of direction, predominantly bodyweight strength training, some distance work carrying weight for time, and lots of walking. Food wise you will be eating lots of animal and some seasonal fruit and vegetables. Of course getting our doors to play and exercise (and barefoot/Vibramed), will be an obvious choice, as will the emphasis on sleep and limiting exposure to artificial light (for hormone-signalling reasons more than anything).

You don't have to limit yourself to just these things and you should be willing and able to flex both diet and exercise accordingly. But PGZ is a great place from which to start your experimentation.

And then in a few years time some scientist pick up another piece from YOUR jigsaw and proclaim its magical properties on physical and mental well-being.

* Queen - Seven Seas of Rhye.

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