October 07, 2015

7 Pillars: Exercise

This is the 4th in a 9 part series for Paleo Magazine on what we believe make up the essential elements of Paleo, please check out the rest of what Paleo Magazine offers here. Enjoy!

Seven Pillars of Paleo: Exercise

In this, the third installment of the Seven Pillars of Paleo, we’re going to talk about Exercise. It is at the same time a simple and extraordinarily complex topic, and one that will absorb all of the attention you care to throw at it.

At the simplest level, all you have to do to get most of the benefits of exercise is move for 15-20 minutes a day. You can walk, swim, dance, run, climb, CrossFit, surf; it doesn’t matter what you do, just move.

While simplicity is easy to understand, it is complexity that gives meaning to our existence, and the complexity potential of Exercise is tremendous.  While the word Exercise may bring to mind any number of different sports, you may find it easier to think of this Pillar as being simply about Movement.

As you give it more thought, you’ll realize that Exercise and Movement are the actual physical manifestation of your own belief system, and the two things, your beliefs about exercise and the actual movements themselves heavily influence each other.

The implications of this connection between thought and movement are the reason that Exercise is one of the Pillars of Paleo, and not just an ancillary activity. Once you begin to focus on the pursuit of perfection in your movement, that habit spills over into every aspect of your life.

The third pillar of paleo, exercise.  In this case, running.

This is not to say that only elite athletes can live elite lives, or that your worth is measured in the weight of your deadlift or your 5k run time. The essence of movement is it’s expression of who you are, and when you begin to understand that if you change the way you move you’ll change the way you think, you acknowledge a powerful tool in human development.

As with the other Pillars of Paleo, the idea of self-responsibility arises again with exercise and movement. It doesn’t matter if you are missing limbs or have the full use of the human capacity to function, the way in which you move is up to you and is a reflection of your belief system.

Smooth, fluid movers belie the understanding they have of the effect of the mind on movement. Smooth, fluid thinkers show a beauty in their movement that demonstrates the connection of their mind & body. These things are not automatic, and none of us are born with the immediate ability to instantly coordinate mind and body.

We are, however, born with the agency to connect those two things in smooth, beautiful, and fluid ways over time, and it is the responsibility of each of us to develop ourselves to our full capacity in all aspects of our life.

Movement and Exercise, then, become yet another opportunity to drive on in pursuit of excellence, in pursuit of the very best of what we can do, and with this understanding you may now acknowledge Exercise not just as a chore or a part of your daily routine, but as an essential part of the human condition.

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Nik Hawks


Nik Hawks helps run the show at Paleo Treats. Fascinated by humans in all their strange glory, Nik is harnessed in and pulling hard in pursuit of excellence with the rest of the PT Crew. Enjoy!

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