We have all heard of the paleo diet and this healthy diet is becoming increasingly popular.

But how did the early humans exercise? And how do we get the early human inside us moving again?


An active lifestyle
Our ancient ancestors weren’t marathon runners. They did not run any more often than was absolutely necessary. They preferred to use that energy for hunting and gathering. They did have a very active lifestyle. Long distances were often travelled on foot, for example, to collect nuts, seeds and tubers.

Running: hunting or fleeing?
The hunt was intensive, but not because we were running after our prey. Almost every animal is faster than us, or hides itself in a herd. Fortunately, at that time we already had a good brain: together we drove our prey calmly to a cliff, then we would overpower it together. We actually only ran to flee from danger and fortunately that wasn’t an everyday occurrence.

Brisk walking is enough
Translated to the present time: regular steady exercise is enough. And that should sound nice – we really don’t have to run at 10 kilometres an hour to be healthy. A brisk walking pace is enough. And you can keep that going for quite a long time, look at all those children and elderly people who effortlessly finish the ‘four day walking event’ in the Netherlands.

Using your own muscle power
We did, however, use our muscle power a lot. Everything was done by hand – from grinding axes to killing game and constructing a camp. Muscles require energy and they get that from fat. Building large muscles meant that obesity wasn’t a problem. If you gently exercise using weights for a quarter of an hour a day, you really mustn’t be afraid of starting to look like a bodybuilder!

Our body is a good weight
You can lift weights at the gym, wrestle or take part in judo. But you can also set to work at home. The fewer barriers the better. Even weights are not essential. Push-ups, sit-ups, squats: they all use the weight of our body. Yoga is also a good way of loosening those muscles … or to the contrary, strengthening our muscles. A great way of starting the day, or before going to bed.

Finding the limits responsibly
Do you like to push your limits? Pushing ourselves to the limit every now and then doesn’t do any harm; it makes our heart stronger and helps us to let off steam. If you adhere to these three guidelines, you will be fine.

1. If you are no longer able to speak, you are going too fast.
If you are no longer able to speak, you are starting to get out of breath. This generally happens when your heart rate is higher than 80% of its maximum capacity. Your maximum heart rate is 220 minus your age. So, if you are 35 years old, your maximum heart rate is 185. Eighty percent of that is 148. If you do not exceed this, you are improving your health properly, both your heart and your fitness as a whole.

2. How much do you like doing something that you don’t enjoy?
Once a workout starts to feel like work, we prefer not to do it. That destroys our motivation. That is why so many overly motivated people stop again after a couple of weeks. Make sure that it is pleasurable, share it with other people and enjoy your body. Keep each other ‘on your toes’ and encourage one another. The one and only condition is that exercise has to be fun!

3. If it costs more energy than it gives…
We never have a dip following a good, nutritious meal. That is exactly the same with physical exercise. When we are totally exhausted, we first have to recharge ourselves before we can go any further. If we do this too often, we actually feel tired more often. Start slowly and build it up slowly. Interval training is also a good idea. Listen to the early human in yourself: he knows exactly how it should be done!

Sporters en

In de cursus Sport & Psyche leert u kPNI inzetten voor een optimaal sportresultaat. Want steeds meer sport- en gezondheidsprofessionals maken gebruik van klinische psycho-neuro-immunologie (kPNI) om sportprestaties te verbeteren. Een must als u met amateur of topsporters werkt.

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