#204: Darryl Edwards: Primal Movement Tips, Barefoot Walking and Benefits of Nature

by Deanna Mutzel, DC



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About Darryl Edwards

Darryl, is a Movement Coach, Natural Lifestyle Educator, nutritionist and creator of the Primal Play Method™. Darryl developed the Primal Play methodology to inspire others to make activity fun while getting healthier, fitter and stronger in the process.

Darryl is the owner of Fitness Explorer Training and author of several books including Paleo Fitness and Paleo from A to Z. His work has been published in titles such as Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Elle Magazine, Men's Fitness and featured on the BBC documentaries Eat to Live Forever and Doctor In The House.

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Fitness Explorer

Paleo Fitness: A Primal Training and Nutrition Program to Get Lean, Strong and Healthy

7 Day Introduction to Paleo Fitness: Get Fitter, Get Stronger, Get Healthier in Seven Days. Move as Nature Intended.

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Show Notes


02:10 Your Extraordinary Feet: There are more nerve endings in the feet than in the hands. The main communication channel for movement and proprioception is via the feet. If we had better awareness of what our feet were doing in terms of contact with the ground, we would be less likely to be injured.

03:11 Humans are Movement Generalists: By going minimalist or barefoot, you build up muscles in the feet that evolutionarily should have been developed. Humans are not adept at specialized movements as are other animals. Humans are generalists, doing a wide range of movements…but none exceptionally well. Today, we specialize our movements to running, strength training, biking etc. We are 3 dimensional creatures, so our movements should be multi-plain, multidirectional and in different intensities. We should be able to crawl, carry, lift, push, pull, jump, climb, and run and walk long distances, as well as sprint.  Mix up your workouts and keep your body confused.

06:54 Paleo Fitness: Be in touch with your ancestry and biology. Think about movement for fitness, function and longevity. Movement is part of our survival. We hunted and sometimes scavenged for our food. We also fasted.

12:12 Start Barefoot Walking: Start by walking barefoot at home, rather than wearing slippers or shoes. Walk barefoot in your yard or garden. Be aware of the textures you encounter. Then think of conditioning, what kind of exercises your feet should perform, before you start running and training barefoot. Darryl started by walking a few miles barefoot or in minimalist shoes.

13:30 You’ll be Lighter on Your Feet: When barefoot walking, your posture changes as your body becomes more aware of how it should be moving. When barefoot, your footfalls are nearly silent, like a cat. You become lighter on your feet. If you are light on your feet, there is less pressure on your joints, preserving them long term. You are more aware of where your body is in space. You are less likely to succumb to fixed movement patterns. You are better conditioned, more adaptable and better able to detect feedback from the ground.

16:32 Your Feet Spread: Mike found that his feet spread/grew in just one season of barefoot hiking. This is why minimalist footwear has a wider toe box. Your feet should be splayed to get more feedback from the ground and be more balanced. Also, your muscles will grow. When buying minimalist footwear, purchase 1 to 2 sizes larger so your feet have room to move.

17:51 Training Outside in Natural Weather Conditions: Instead of jumping in a cold lake or creating an artificial means of cold thermogenesis, Darryl trains outside in all seasons year round. It is good for adaptation and hormesis. Regulating our core temperature burns more calories. He gets a 23% higher calorie burn and burns 13% more body fat when training in the winter. It is a more natural environment. He trains outdoors when it is hot and he may not be constantly hydrating. This also creates hormesis. According to Shinrin-yoku research in Japan, the color green in nature boosts the immune system, even when we are looking at photos of nature. Every day you should expose yourself to your natural environment and different ranges of temperature.

24:50 A Holistic Practice of Health: A sense of wonder is healthful. There is more to being healthy than diet and exercise. Recognize that we are nature. A holistic health practice reduces toxins, toxic relationships, and has real live communication. Embrace as many pathways to health as possible.

26:13 A State of Mindfulness: Meditation in nature is more effective than indoors. You don’t need to slow down to be more mindful. You need to be more open and aware of yourself and your environment. Playing outside in nature is mindful and meditative. It reduces stress. Walk outside without your phone or music.

28:35 Low Carbohydrate Diet: Darryl believes that low carb is therapeutic. It can improve your biomarkers, improve insulin resistance, reverse type 2 diabetes, and it can help with weight loss and body composition. Is it the best way to prevent these issues? If you have a healthy body composition and healthy metabolism, you should be able to tolerate the right type of carbohydrates. These would be complex carbohydrates, not refined. Darryl believes that we should avoid grains and make better choices about macronutrient consumption. Many populations around the world have high carb diets, but do not suffer from modern life style chronic disease.

30:24 Darryl was Pre-Diabetic: Low carb/high fat was not a diet alternative back then. However, low carb/high protein was. He improved the quality of fats, reduced refined carbs, reduced sugars, increased vegetable consumption, removed grains, improved the quality of protein and he reversed his pre-diabetes and other health issues. Moving also helped. Resistance training for 30 minutes improves insulin sensitivity for 72 hours.

33:02 Sleep Quality: Poor quality sleep ramps morning cortisol, effecting insulin levels. It isn’t just carbohydrates.

33:42 Darryl’s Desert Island Herb/Nutrient: He would utilize the existing coconuts on the island.

34:07 Darryl’s Most Impactful Exercise: Stand, move into low squat, move into bear crawl, reverse and repeat.

34:26 Darryl’s Ideal Morning Routine: Every morning is different for Darryl. He doesn’t drink coffee and he hates getting out of bed. He burpees or jumps out of bed in a different exciting way each morning. It is invigorating. Your cortisol should be at its highest and you should feel great. Then he has green tea.

36:21 Darryl’s Elevator Pitch: Darryl would stop the elevator and have everyone take the stairs. He would have alarmist warnings posted in elevators about the dangers of inactivity. We are more sedentary than we have been in human history. Weave movement into your day and make it fun.


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