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How to Exercise Like a Caveman

It takes a long time to grow young.This article is a continuation of last week’s article: Why You Should Exercise Like a Caveman. Here are three key ways to apply the principles of how cavemen used their bodies to how we exercise.

First – breathe

Even the Olympic marathon runners I had as clients weren’t breathing to their full capacity. Poor habits, stress, and a poor structure limits our breathing. One Olympic runner came to me complaining of weak and tight shoulders. I asked him, “You’re a runner, why do you need strong shoulders?” His response was that when he ran, they got tired and sore. We released his shoulders and trained him how to breathe naturally. He was surprised to see his exercise asthma disappear for good.

Second – use gravity

Virtually all adults in this county are losing their battle with gravity. Watch people walk or run. You will see them leaning back. Their center of gravity is behind them so that with every stride, it is as if they are going uphill.

When I hold my natural running clinics or coach my clients on how to use gravity, I teach leaning forward, so your stride is behind you. Because our old patterns are so ingrained, it takes practice to master what is natural. People are smart though. They quickly get the concept that leaning forward from their ankles is more efficient.

Third – use leverage

If you were to lift a large block with a lever, you wouldn’t do it at 30 degrees. You would come in at 90 degrees to the object. Yet we often forget the power of leverage when we use our bodies on a regular basis.

If you ask someone which way their knees should point, they would say forward. But if you ask them which way their elbows should point, they would hesitate, then usually say behind them. Unfortunately having your elbows point posteriorly weakens your leverage. You are externally rotating your arms decreasing your power. You are also compromising your shoulder, elbow, and wrist joints. Your elbows should point out, NOT back.

Virtually all the referrals I’ve seen over three decades for any of these problems came from the arm being misaligned. Even with the best surgeries, often these problems would persist because no one works on alignment.

Cavemen were efficient

Our ancestors only survived because they could outrun their predators and run down prey. Because of improper education, stress, injuries, and poor habits we created a body and movement patterns that made us regress. Our ancestors’ use of their bodies was more evolved than how we use our bodies today. If we apply the tenet, “how would a caveman do it?” to our exercise we would be injured less, perform better, and enjoy our activities more.

Owen Marcus, MA Certified Advanced Rolfer, www.align.org, with 33 yrs experience – call if you have questions: 265.8440.

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