The 12 Core Principles

The foundations of the Mother Nature's Diet healthy lifestyle.

Core Principle 9

Exercise, daily. Move naturally. Variety, moderation, consistency and structure

If we had to summarise the MND approach to exercise in a ‘one size fits all’ approach (which of course, it doesn’t!) then it might be to say this: Go for a walk every day, then two or three times per week do some exercise that pushes your heart rate up, makes your lungs work and gets you sweating. Additionally, two or three times each week, do some exercise to stimulate your muscles, and don’t neglect this as you get older – in many respects, the older you get, the more important strength training becomes!

Mother Nature's Diet Core Principle 9

  • Your body is the most amazing thing you will ever own – use it or lose it. That applies to fitness, strength and flexibility (…and your sex life!)
  • Don’t believe the hype, most of these workout programs, 6-pack solutions, endless online programs and routines are little more than modern solutions, to a modern problem, called sedentary lifestyles, and they will shrink your bank account as quickly as your waistline
  • In the pursuit of a long, healthy life, structured exercise programs are a poor substitute for keeping busy, keeping active and moving naturally, outside, every day, using your body to get places, move things and complete practical tasks
  • Longevity is a vital element of the MND lifestyle. Ageing doesn’t have a brake pedal, only an accelerator. Try not to spend your life pushing down too hard on that accelerator
  • Working out too hard, all the time, is almost certainly counter-productive to your health objectives
  • Our first goal is activity, and then exercise. Exercise should be seen as a ‘tool’ you can use, when required, rather than an end-goal in and of itself. Our goals should be to be active, to spend time outdoors, to be moving lots every day, to be playing, having fun, having sex, playing games, enjoying life, keeping moving. If we can get enough daily activity from walking every day, playing games we enjoy (sport) and enjoying an active sex life, and doing all our daily chores like growing some of our own food in the garden, then we can see structured exercise simply as a ‘supplement to a busy life’ rather than as a goal in its own right
  • Regular long brisk (and hilly) walks are the best fat burning exercise we can do

Muscle helps stabilise joints, prevent injuries, burn calories and resist the slow decline of ageing.

  • Cardiovascular exercise is essential for a healthy heart and helps us to live longer
  • Strength training is essential! Maintaining our muscular strength as we age helps us remain youthful and is a proven anti-ageing strategy
  • Muscle helps to burn calories, keeps us free from injuries and shapes our bodies in desirable ways
  • Studies seem to show that endurance athletes live a little longer than the average population (only 2-4 years), most likely because of the cardiovascular benefits for their hearts (remember that heart disease is the global #1 killer worldwide)
  • Studies seem to show that strength athletes live slightly shorter lives than the general population, though there is conflicting evidence
  • One famous study of elite athletes (Gold and Silver Olympic winners over a 12-year period) showed that average life expectancy of these elite athletes was only 67
  • However, by contrast, the longest-living demographic group on Earth, the famous Okinawans, who live an average of 12 years longer than the general population, report that they rarely do any purposeful structured exercise at all…just daily walking and gardening!
  • Our bodies have evolved to work at a dozen basic physical functions, and we should learn to exercise in ways that emulate those functions:
    • Walk
    • Run (jog, run, sprint)
    • Lift and carry heavy things
    • Drag, push and pull heavy things
    • Climb
    • Crawl
    • Fight
    • Grapple, wrestle
    • Swim and dive
    • Jump
    • Balance
    • Stretch
  • Stretch often; keep your body supple and mobile. Avoid injuries, look after your structure and see an osteopath if you need help with your posture
  • Look after your spine, and your knees. As the song says “you’ll miss them when they’re gone”

Summary

Maintain an active lifestyle, and use exercise as a fun way to plug the gaps. Try to ensure your typical week includes a walk almost every day, a couple of cardio sessions, a couple of strength sessions and some stretching. Learn to use your own bodyweight for strength training – you can be your own gym! Consistency is key! Make exercise habits that you can stick to for life.

 

“Exercise, every day, outdoors, mostly walking. Lift some heavy things and use your muscles a few times each week, and sprint from time to time. Stretch often and don’t become a crazy exercise addict!”

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