Though I don’t believe that the road to health is paved with incessant high endurance exercise, it doesn’t mean that I “can” cardio entirely either. Just as humans didn’t evolve to eat frosted wheat squares for breakfast, I don’t think three hours on the treadmill (or the hill over yonder) would’ve made much sense to your forefathers and mothers of a different era.
Instead, let’s talk “caveman cardio,” those short bursts of maximum output that caught the dinner or protected the tribe. This kind of cardio—practicing brief spurts of high intensity power and speed—both uses the body the way it was meant to be used and sustains the physical potential required for these activities.
Check out my sprinting on the beach video to see how I go about it. But there’s more than one way to work in a sprint. Here are several “sprint” alternatives that range from old school to everyday.
* Fast paced sports: Go for a pickup game of basketball, or join a soccer or hockey league to get in your sprints for the week. Another family favorite of mine: ultimate Frisbee.
* Rope jumping: I know, you can’t get “Eye of the Tiger” out of your head even thinking about a rope. Download it already and just go with it.
* Speed laps around the rink: For those of you who are landlocked and snowbound these days, hit the ice and fly. Same goes for inline skating on the boardwalk. Just watch out for the rest of us while you’re at it.
* Dancing: I’m not much for T.V., but have you seen the workout those Dancing With the Stars folks get? Surprise your partner with Latin dancing lessons, or just pop in a CD and declare “dance party!” with the kids. (Trust me, they’ll outlast you.)
* Power cycling: Pretend you’re giving Lance a run for his money. I know, but we can dream, can’t we?
* Water sprints: Do some race-worthy laps around the pool, or race your golden retriever to a tennis ball. (You have no chance.)
* Mountain hiking: Nothing gets the blood moving like the challenge of a peak. And the view? I think it even beats my beach. (Did I say that?)
* Everyday sprints for mundane purposes: If you’re up for the run but short on time, try multi-tasking. Run your mail to the nearest drop box, or race to the cleaners for those shirts. It’s fun to keep the neighbors guessing.
Got some new or novel ideas to pass along (mundane multi-tasking or otherwise)? Join the forum and share your thoughts, or hit us up with a comment.
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Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.