A new theory suggests life may have been healthier a few (million) years ago. Turns back the clock to find out…….
Thanks to the wonder of modern technology, we’re constantly inundated with new, innovative ways to get fit, slim down and boost health. So why it is that cholesterol, obesity and stress levels are higher than ever? Maybe our ancestors had it right, way back when caves were the abode of choice and woolly mammoths were a common sight.
Thats the theory explored by health guru, who says following in the footsteps of our ancestors may be the key to surviving and thriving in the modern world.
Confused? Eating, living and exercising the primal way doesn’t mean scoffing raw meat, wearing leopard skin loincloths (although leopard print is always in) and lugging around boulders. Here are top 10 primal laws so we can employ them in modern life.
Law 1: Avoid poison
Rather than literally avoiding poisonous plants like our ancestors had to, try to keep a sharp lookout for foods that could be hampering your weight-loss and health goals.
‘Conventional healthy eating emphasises lots of wholegrains’. ‘I urge people to cut back on, or eliminate, almost all grains because it generates a high insulin response.’
‘Bad’ fats are another modern ‘poison’ to be avoided at all costs, from Trans and hydrogenated fats to polyunsaturated oils, as they’re easily oxidised, especially when they’re heated. ‘Oxidised polyunsaturated fats have an inflammatory effect, leading to assorted health problems’.
Law 2 : Slow Down
Modern-day exercise techniques get a primal makeover, too. Instead of ‘chronic cardio’ or before-dawn sessions at the gym, suggested low-intensity exercise, such as leisurely cycling, hiking or walking – even a sort lunchtimes stroll counts. ‘If you can manage a single long hike on the weakened and few a short walks during the week, you will dramatically reduce your risk of heart disease, support optimal metabolism and better control your weight’. Sounds like a no-brainer to us!
Law 3: Lift heavy things
If you can continue a resistance workout for hours, the intensity is too low. Keep sessions short, using heavy weights, for a primitive workout. ‘Multiple research shows that we benefit more from shorter, more intense physical efforts, punctuated by adequate rest, than from longer, slower, chronic efforts with light loads’.
What are the benefits of heavier weights? The more muscles you build, the more fat you’ll burn and less inflammation you’ll have lurking about your body. And you won’t get big and bulky. ‘Women can’t build huge muscles simply because they can’t produce nearly as much testosterone as men’.
Law 4: Sprint a bit
Mimic early man chasing his dinner and swap long runs for sprint intervals. Team sprints of eight to 20 seconds of all-out effort with rest periods to total a 15-minute session. Not only will this boost fitness, it’ll stimulate the release of hormones necessary for fat burn.
‘Chronic cardio at heart rates above 75 percent places excessive stress on your body,’ explains Mark. ‘This can lead to numerous problem with metabolism, stress management and immune function.’
Law 5: Get plenty of sleep
When it comes to good health, sleep is just as important as exercise and nutrition. Sleep determines eating habits, brain development and productivity, cellular repairs and more. ‘It’s a huge factor in fat loss, too’. ‘Not enough sleep can lead to the release of stress hormones that encourage fat deposition and difficulty keeping muscles mass optimal.’
Make the most of your shut-eye by creating calm in the bedroom, being consistent with sleeping pattern and eating well.
Law 6: Make time to play
The most appealing law for sure, but the most neglected. When was the last time you took time out for fun? It may not seem significant, but it can add years to your life thanks to psychological benefits such as productivity, self-confidence and resiliency. Let loose!
Law 7: Worship the sun
‘Sunlight helps to manufacture vitamin D, which regulate growth in virtually every cell of our bodies and prevent a variety of diseases’. Catch a few rays every day, and if you’re worried about burning or wrinkling, use light, comfortable clothing and chemical-free sun creams on delicate areas.
Law 8: Eat plants and animals
“The biggest myth about fat storage is that consuming dietary fat causes you to store body fat”. ‘Actually, carbohydrates, in amounts that raise insulin, is what prompts fat storage.’ The majority of our diet should consist of meat, fish and eggs, vegetables and healthy fats, such as coconut oil and avocado.
Law 9: Avoid mistakes
The main reason life expectancy may have been lower in primitive times is that there were more threats lurking about. Think about the risk involved in hunting your own food! Also advocates taking care to make wise decisions as you go about your day to increase your quality of life.
Law 10: Use your brain
There are so many gadgets around were forgetting how to engage our brains. ‘Outsourcing brain function is not necessarily bad’. ‘But we’re having trouble keeping up with the information overload.’ Exercise your mind by learning a language or completing a daily sudoku.