Category: Nature

Gardening Is Therapy

It’s been a great weekend here of sun, fun, and PrimalCon of course. In returning to reality yesterday, I was checking the news and seeing some of you out there are bracing for yet another round of winter’s jest. My condolences – seriously. I’ll admit I was happy to forgo the six month long Maine winters for California years ago. Nonetheless, there are still aspects of Northern life I miss and admire. I remember, for example, the almost manic excitement with which people awaited spring. Their fervor for planning the year’s garden seemed wholly inverse to the short and still relatively cool growing season. I don’t know how many of you are gardeners, but I’m all for using the term loosely. Whatever gets us down in the dirt, digging in the midst of all those fine microbes, is work worth doing (without the toxic chemicals of course). An older neighbor of mine (with the greenest thumb I’ve ever seen) always tells me gardening is “good for the soul.” Although I don’t have an ounce of the talent she does, I’d have to agree. It only gets better though. Research demonstrates it’s also good for the mind and body – in ways we might not expect.

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The Importance of Play, Long Walks and Outdoor Workouts, or Why the Optional Stuff Isn’t Actually Optional

Before I get to today’s Monday Musings I wanted to give a shout out and big thanks to everyone that came out the inaugural PAST in Southern California this weekend. It was wonderful meeting each of you in person. And because of you the first event was a smashing success. So thank you!

Coming out of the gate, this event surpassed my expectations by a large margin. 30 devoted Primal enthusiasts trekked from all over SoCal and even as far as Phoenix to spend 7 hours immersed in all matters Primal. We convened at Karma Crossfit in Manhattan Beach thanks to our gracious hostess Katy Rickman. I was particularly impressed by the knowledge and passion from the audience about the Primal Blueprint, and how quickly they absorbed and appreciated the message. The guests added so much to the event and kept me excited and energized for 7 hours, which I must admit is about twice as long as I’ve ever talked in a single day.

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Vibrant Health is About More Than Food

I’ve been thinking about human health for a long, long time – pretty much my entire life. When I was running marathons and battling injuries and illness, I was missing it, and so I sought it. I figured moving on to triathlons would help, maybe by “spreading the damage” across three disciplines, rather than just the one, but that didn’t do it. And so I started tweaking my eating plan by paying attention to anthropological evidence of the human ancestral diet. Obviously, this worked, and for a while, I felt I’d found the optimal path to human health. Things were good.

But my journey didn’t stop at diet. It wasn’t enough. My physical activity had to change, too: resistance training; sprints; hikes, walks, and other long, easy movements; and a marked de-emphasis on Chronic Cardio.

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Forest Bathing

No claw-footed tub in the woods here. No Calgon fantasies for the frazzled mind or romantic shower under a waterfall. (Sorry to disappoint.) Think more science, less whimsy, but definite Primal roots. Forest bathing, as it has been dubbed, is actually a studied medical practice. In Japan, the research is spawning a whole new dimension of patient treatment called “forest therapy.”

Forests, like other wild settings, engage our senses in more subtle but evolutionarily familiar ways than our typical modern environments. Sounds in nature are quieter but more subtly layered. Our sight is more expansive. Our sense of touch, finer. Our smell, more acute. Surrounded by nature, our perception reorients to its default setting. As we’ve highlighted in the past, an increasing amount of research shows just how “natural” time in nature is for our physiological and psychological well-being. Exposure to green space offers protective factors against depression and anxiety and can help alleviate the symptoms of ADD. Instinctively, we know this and have likely experienced it. When we step outside our commotion-filled, asphalt-coated environments and truly inhabit a wild space, we’re more relaxed, more at peace. The mind finds quiet and the soul, release.

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Primal Blueprint Forest Sprinting

This inspiring Primal Blueprint Fitness Video was sent in by reader Tom Greenwald. Let Tom know what you think in the comment board.

The Fitness Video contest has ended, but there are still ways to win prizes and be part of the Primal community here at Mark’s Daily Apple. Enter your best recipes (current theme: Primal Snacks) to be included in the Primal Blueprint Reader-Created Cookbook Contest, and submit your New Year’s Resolutions video by Jan. 15. In both cases you have a chance to win hundreds of dollars in Primal gear and be featured on MDA. Grok on!

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The Primal Blueprint For Busy People – Part 2: Social and Naturalistic Wellness

Technically this post is the 4th part of our PB Pronto series, and we’re rounding out the picture for Primal fans everywhere. We’ve covered food, fitness, stress and sleep. But no Primal man or woman is an island. Our happiness – and health – also depend of course on how we relate to the world around us. As our other PB Pronto posts have suggested, we know it can be a real challenge to cover all your bases when you juggling a packed schedule full of work, family and personal obligations. Here, as promised, are tips and commentary for boosting both your social and “naturalistic” wellness – most in 15 minutes or less.

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