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DARRYL EDWARDS ON 'THE POWER IS WITHIN US'
by Dara Winters on April 21, 2021
On our second episode of The Power Is Within Us, Sunna speaks with TED Talk speaker Darryl Edwards, founder of Primal Play, a program aimed at getting children and adults to move more to avoid a sedentary lifestyle. They discuss the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle, which Darryl himself nearly experienced firsthand, and how to find the motivation to move more. For Darryl, the key is to move your body in ways that will really make a difference to how you feel, and to have fun while you're at it.
Anyone who lives a sedentary lifestyle (aka anyone who has a full-time job where they're sitting down) will likely find this a fascinating episode - you can listen to it on Spotify, Google or Apple podcasts. You can also read the full transcript below, though as it is computer-generated there may be some errors. We recommend listening to the podcast if you want the best experience!
Sunna: [00:00:02] Hi. Today, we've got Darryl Edwards joining us on the podcast, who is the creator of Primal Play aimed at inspiring children and adults to move more and making getting fit fun in something that we actually do and don't hate or agonize over doing that. Thanks for joining us today now.
Darryl: [00:00:23] Oh, you're welcome. Thanks so much for the introduction and the invitation
Sunna: [00:00:28] Thank you. No pleasure. So tell us a little bit about primal play. You know, what is it and what inspired you to get into this space?
Darryl: [00:00:37] So I suppose I'll start off by discussing what I did prior to this, which was working with an investment banking as a technologist. I worked for Microsoft Back and other software houses back in the early 90s. And at that time, technology, believe it or not, were the greatest players that didn't pay that well, which is which is certainly not the case now. And wanting to make more money in investment bankers started to poach tech personnel to help them improve their sort of competitive advantage, basically to utilize and exploit technology to make more money. And so I was one of those individuals who was plucked into technology environment within banking, really bleeding, bleeding edge environments, work hard, play hard, even though there wasn't really much play, come to think of it. But it's certainly a work hard effort and I, I really excelled. So I really enjoyed the cut and thrust of that environment. That was a meritocracy. I was very well rewarded for my labors, but they certainly took their pound of flesh. And I was fortunate enough because of my skill base to work for a lot of different banks all over the world and to work in areas that only very few people were able to work in because they were making significant sums of money for the bank. But that came at a at a significant price.
Darryl: [00:02:12] So my bank balance did well, but my kind of health status, my health balance, my well-being certainly suffered. And one year having an annual health check, I was told I was prediabetic. I had a really poor lipid profile, which basically meant high levels of, you know, poor cholesterol, everybody, triglycerides, ultimately leading to increased risk of stroke or heart heart disease. And I also had stage two chronic hypertension, which means high blood pressure, high levels for long periods of time, which also significant increases your risk of chronic lifestyle disease. So there was this there was just this cascade of issues, meaning that I would have to take medication that was a recommendation. So statins for the cholesterol problems, beta blockers, my blood pressure, metformin to control my blood sugars because I was one one health away, walk away from full blown type two. So it was pretty, you know, red flags all over the place. And I also was suffering from lots of back pain, low back pain, knee issues as well. So things weren't looking too pretty, things weren't looking too good. And I remember at the time asking my doctor, okay, well, this sounds like good news. At least we found the problem. We know there's a problem exists. What can we do about it here? Were these meds okay? Great. How long do I need to be on these for expecting to be like a short term intervention for the rest of your life? Like, really? OK, that's a long and hopefully a long time.
Darryl: [00:03:54] I can what are the side effects likely to be? And so we had discussions about side effects. And I'm petrified thinking, oh my gosh, that's probably going to be going to be me. Yeah. You know what? This one's rare. This one's quite this can be quite common. This one's very unlikely. So he gave me the full I was like this. Give him give it to me. Oh, doctor, don't hold anything back. And I remember saying, well, I know blood pressure. I have a feeling I can control that for exercise and probably changing my diet. I didn't know much about either, but I knew that something could be done in relation to blood pressure. So I said, Doctor can at least try and manage that and then see where we were at. And so for the next sort of thirty days, 60 days, 90 days, I went through this radical transformation sign to a gym study, take my health really seriously, and my biomarkers started to improve. So I was no longer prediabetic. My lipid profile, my cholesterol profile improved. That was reducing disease risk. My blood pressure came down. My blood glucose came down so things started to improve pretty significantly to the point where my doctor became fascinated with my journey.
Darryl: [00:05:12] He wanted to know a little bit more about what I was doing, and he wanted to use me as a case study so and utilize some of that with his existing patients. So that turned me on to research because I'd be saying to him, well, whatever you're looking at, do you mind do you mind sending me those papers? Because I have no I'm going to clue. I have no idea how this works or how this works, but I want to know more. So that led me to the education that led me to wanting to cross train, to become a nutritional therapist, to become a personal trainer, to to then focus even more on movements and be mentored in that space. And that was this was the start of my journey, was recognizing that I could take control of immigration to my health. I could at the very best, you know, sort of worst case, I would just be postponing for a very short space of time. Yeah. You know, having to take the meds, a better case could be a very long time postponement. And and best case like, well, maybe I never have to take these meds. If I can maintain this healthy lifestyle, I can find out more about this.
Sunna: [00:06:26] I mean, you touch on a couple of incredible points. One, which is, I think the attitude you had to say, well, wait a minute, you know what? If I've got high blood sugar, maybe I should stop eating so much sugar and I'll take control of what I put in to see if I can address the root cause. And then you've really gone on a journey and educated yourself and implemented those recommendations, because I think in today's information world, we live in all the information there. Right. The science is there. You can Google it. It's all there. But even though we know we still have a problem with implementing those changes and yes, that.
Darryl: [00:07:08] Yes. And I think it's a very good point. The information is there. But I think, you know, unfortunately, with that information, there's a lot of ambiguity. There is a lot of misinformation as well. And there are there are lots of snake oil salesperson's. And and so it's very difficult to navigate that information. I mean, even even with my own journey, I've certainly hit quite a few crossroads, quite a few cul de sacs and dead ends where you go. OK, I found the answer and then you go, Oh, actually, no, I haven't. Or I've been mistaken. I've been misled. So I think in some respects it is very difficult for for for individuals to be aware as to what their path should be. I think certainly as a starting point, everyone recognizes they can do more for their health. I don't think anyone is ignorant of that fact. I think what's difficult is deciding what are my next steps going to be. And there are so many people, especially in the social media in the world of social media now claiming that they have the answers. So it's almost like a new, you know, new religion is a new religion sprouting up every five minutes, this religion of wellbeing, this religion of a healthier lifestyle. And who is my profit going to be? Who am I going to follow? You know?
Sunna: [00:08:32] And so it's celery juice or kombucha.
Darryl: [00:08:36] Exactly. Which is it? What is it? So so I understand it's challenging, but for me, embarking on seeing improvements, I certainly want to I wanted to understand what was happening to me. So I wasn't so concerned about the bigger picture. I was like, well, I'm seeing these changes manifesting in myself. I don't know what I'm doing, which is leading to this. Then I wanted to understand if I was an anomaly or if there was if there were things in common that I could apply to my clients. When I started to consider doing this for a living, I wanted to ensure that there was a template. There was something that was consistent in my practice that could be applied to to a bit of a sort of people. And that kind of that's what led to Primeau play. So I'll speak a little bit more about that in the play method. So the primary method is basically taking evolutionary biology. So that's that's basically looking at how humans became to be and and who we are, who we are today as human beings based on our evolutionary history, taking exercise science, the latest in science, validating the sort of movement practices that we should be adopting, why they're beneficial, what intensities, what durations, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. And then finally using place psychology as a way of making that appetizing, because even if we believe, as I do, that movement is medicine, it's a very difficult pill to swallow.
Darryl: [00:10:17] And and for many people, they just can't have this long term relationship with exercise and physical activity, which is beneficial. They're not really having fun or they have fun for a short space of time, but they don't continue on this journey. And so for me, recognizing that movement is significantly a significant foundation of of health, even down to talking about things like like blood sugars, for example, the fact if you have a discussion with most people about blood sugars, elevated blood sugars, the first thing they will say to you is, oh, you probably having too many sugars. You're probably having too many processed foods, you probably having too much fructose, you probably too many carbs, probably. There's this whole discussion around this. Not many people actually talk about the fact that sedentary lifestyles are the biggest driver of elevated and excess blood sugars, physical activity, because that's our primary. The primary source of energy for muscles is blood glucose. And once you stop muscles requiring that food movement, then, you know, your blood sugars like, well, what? We've got nothing to do with no, we've got no use for you. So if you oversupplied the body with fuel by eating and your body isn't moving to to to utilize that energy source, then it becomes problematic.
Sunna: [00:11:46] So, yeah, it's was about that energy balance, isn't it? It's you know, Impera is one side, but yes, it is the other critical side about how much movement you doing, how many hours a
Darryl: [00:11:57] Day, how many steps, what, what, what, what you're actually doing in terms of in terms of the muscle muscles contracting. And I think, as you say, there is this equation which many people debate about, like, oh, it's not just as simple as that. Calories in, calories out, which it isn't. You know, there are hormonal considerations as well. There are lots of other considerations. But but for me, looking at the the science of physical activity, if you just look at the through the lens of, say, nutrition. Then you have one you have one kind of equation, you know, you either go, you have food in not enough movement, our problem, right. Or you might go, you know, too many carbohydrates in not enough ability to burn it off for insulin production, you know, hormonal production. And maybe there's too much stress, you know, all these other considerations. But when you add movement to the equation, then you recognize, oh, there are other ways to bring that sugars down, which don't rely on insulin. So we have these other pathways that are only activated for movement. And and so once you recognize that fact, which many people don't, but when you recognize that there were certain processes in the body that can only be activated for physical activity over and above, just burning calories and actually mechanisms, hormonal processes that facilitate health, that drive that inflammation. So, yes, so I think the the the purpose of a play is trying to warn get people to move more certain, to have more fun, but also to have this focal point on health. You know, what of movement do I need to do that's going to give me the best benefit. So the minimum effective dose. So I know, you know, I keep kind of using pharmaceutical references a lot. But but I do I do believe in a in a dosing effect of of movement, making sure we getting the adequate amount and adequate quality of movement, maximizing the benefit and making best use of our time when we're applying that prescription of movement. So, yeah, that that's that's something I'm fascinated with.
Sunna: [00:14:24] You know, I love to hear the fact that you've you know, you're also covering all the bases with nutrition, science, biology and physical exercise, being a qualified and everything else, because I think too often in our education, we're always siloed into I am a specialist for this. I am a specialist for that. And you know, the body isn't that the body is this complex, beautiful system that works together in harmony with what we put in, with how we use it. And it all comes back to the whole and getting that balance right. And yet too often we ignore that. So your point around, actually. Well, you know what? You probably can eat a sugar if you're exercising a lot and you know you can have some carbs. It's not going to kill you if you're using that fuel. Yes, exactly.
Darryl: [00:15:12] Exactly it is. And I think anyone I mean, I suppose that's a really good lesson for any of your any of the listeners. If anyone says if anyone tells you that this one intervention, pretty much as the entire solution covers all eventualities, that's a red flag. You've got to say, hold on a second. It isn't as simple as that. And as you mentioned, it is we are an open system, you know, that has so many inputs from our our environment, from within ourselves, from our mindset. You know, from the information we read, there was there were so many inputs that we have. And it isn't just as simple as, you know, eat right, move well, you know, sleep well, everything's fine. You know, it's like, well, hold on a second. You know, there's a toxins in the air around us. There's our personal relationships that we have with other people. You know that there's you know, there's so many yet there's so many things that we need to consider. And I think that's really important that we be as holistic as possible. But discussions.
Sunna: [00:16:18] Absolutely. But then because it is so complex, I think what's fascinating to me about primal place, how you try and make it fun and easy and like the minimum effective dose. Can you tell us a little bit about that minimum effective dose? Because, you know, obviously everyone's heard the story of, like, you can run and jog for an hour versus sprint for 15 minutes. And the kind of metabolic effect is similar. And tell us how you apply that minimum effective dose in your work.
Darryl: [00:16:47] Yes. So that's a really good question. I again, if we look at the evidence, the evidence states that for the general, the general public. Minimum, the minimum levels of physical activity needed to maintain good health are 150 minutes of moderate intensity, physical activity per week and two days a week of strength training. That's pretty much the baseline. Pretty much all public health bodies around the world, based on significant evidence, would support that statement. And as anyone from 18 to 65, if you're old in 65, it's exactly the same. But you need to be incorporating some balance and fall prevention work. So that's a that's a starting point. What does moderate intensity mean? That's a question people often ask more. The intensity basically means you're you're getting out of breath, you elevating your heart rate. You can just about maintain a conversation whilst doing it. You couldn't sing whilst doing it. So it's a very fast, brisk walk. It's going for a run. That's where you can be in the moderate intensity zone. It isn't yoga. It isn't just going for a stroll. That's not what it is. It requires a significant amount of exertion where you feel as if you're working. That's what moderate intensity is. And in terms of that benefit, you want to be breaking up at one hundred and fifty minutes throughout the week as best as possible. So somebody who goes for two and a half hour run and was a hundred degrees hour and a half or two hours or two and a half hours, somebody goes for two and a half run an hour, run on a Saturday, who's pretty sedentary for the rest of the week. That's not really meeting the recommendation because there's too much sedentary time. Yeah. So as well as recognizing that there's one other thing to recognize, which is if you're sitting for more than six hours a day, which most of us are, unfortunately, if you work in an office,
Sunna: [00:18:50] I'll put my hand up for 12:00.
Darryl: [00:18:52] Yeah. So yeah. So, so, so if you if you work, if you sitting for six to eight hours and most people well outside of that exceeding that you need to do a minimum of 60 to 80 minutes per day of moderate intensity, physical activity just to undo the harmful impacts of sedentary of sitting time. Wow. So. So yes.
Sunna: [00:19:20] So you're definitely scaring me now. I definitely don't do that much exercise. As much as I think I'm healthy. I definitely don't do that much.
Darryl: [00:19:29] So. Yeah, so so that's a problem. You see. So for many people who, who hit the gym, who who work for the longest time, walk to go for a run, know many of those people don't realize they're still living a sedentary lifestyle and and that sedentary lifestyle is difficult and undermine, you know, with physical with other physical activity outside of that sedentary time. And that's really difficult because you're almost telling people you're still not you're still not gaining the health benefits of exercise only because not because you're not putting enough time in, but actually because you're just sitting too much. Yeah. So so so there are things you can do to to work outside of that so you can increase the intensity of physical activity. So if you do vigorous intensity, then that 150 minutes drops down to seventy five, and if you do high intensity interval training, that time commitment drops even even further. So so taking all of that into consideration and that's the minimum I need to stress that as well, that hundred minutes is a minimum, that two days a week of training is a minimum. It's not optimal. Yeah, but it's taking that and recognize the need to break up sedentary time.
Darryl: [00:20:45] So it's increasing the amount of movement time throughout my day. It's increasing the intensity to ensure that I'm not spending all my day exercising, you know, but but being methodical about it, being clever about what can I do. I've only got two minutes. What can I do within the next two minutes? That's going to make a difference. So I think being aware of that, being aware of what the body needs, some movement, you can then start to map out a system, a method by the method that will guarantee that you're getting the right nutrients from movement. So the balance for coordination, for agility, for speed, what difference does what the speed give us that doesn't come from, say, doing endurance or stamina? So the example you mentioned a 15 minutes sprinting weight, even less actually, you can do probably two or three minutes sprinting compared to 40 minute jog and have similar benefits. But there are some benefits. You get only through the sprint. Yeah, they don't. They won't they won't occur with a 40 minute jog and we're going to be some benefits that will only come from that 40 minute jog, interestingly. So again, it's a it's a cost benefit analysis you need. You kind of need both of those.
Darryl: [00:22:03] That's the ideal scenario. You can't do one or the other and expect to fully gain from movement. So, yeah, it's it's I'm trying to make it as simple as possible with a proper time effort. And but I want people to understand it's a bit like a smartphone. Right. One advertises one probably. But, you know, it's a bit like a smartphone. It's good. It's kind of like that. But it's there's a more complexity there. But the average person doesn't need to know about all that. The wizardry within this device. Yeah. They just need to know it's easy and accessible for me to use. And that's a similar approach to probably effort. Yes, there's a lot of science. Yes, there's a lot of complexity. There's lots of research. But actually, you, as in the general, you can access all of these benefits without too much difficulty. And that's what's powerful about this message. I suppose it's like it's the one intervention that is free of charge, actually, you know, like it's it's it's freely available to us. You don't need expensive equipment. You don't need expensive instruction. We just have to do the work. That's what's that's what's difficult doing actually doing
Sunna: [00:23:21] That, of course. But so you've you've obviously got your primaquine method, but you've also authored and written a book called Animal Moves. So does it seem to me anyway that's coming through about kind of going back to nature, going back to our primal state of being, what's the inspiration behind that and why you focused on that kind of angle to make it all simpler and better for people?
Darryl: [00:23:45] Yeah. Well, I mean, if you own a pet if you have a dog, for example, you would never you would never let your dog be a sedentary, as you yourself would be as a human being. All right. Right. You know, on a daily basis, if you don't take your dog for a walk, right. If you only decide you're going to take your dog out to to, you know, to for a toilet break, that's not that's not good enough. Right. You know, if you need them to be active and if you don't get the activity in for your dog, they're going to be problems. They'll be behavioral issues. They'll gain weight. They'll get they'll become a lot sicker. An animal. We don't recognize that for ourselves. So and the reason we don't recognize this is because we don't believe the down symptoms that we're animals. We just as animal, as all pets, as everything else. Right. So if we recognize that fact that animals and we recognize that we have certain movement needs and requirements, then we have to make that part of our day to day lives. And that's what the Animal Moose book discusses. It gives people the context as to the movement options for humans and why even sometimes exercise just doesn't give us enough. It's a it's a very narrow definition of movement exercise. We need a much broader approach when it comes to movement.
Darryl: [00:25:11] And that's what the Animal Moose book covers. And probably a last point. That is by observing the animal kingdom, we can see that we are not very good as specialists of movement. You know, most animals will outperform us in the best of their movement's ability. You know, like the strength of a banana, for example, they can lift a thousand times their body weight. We struggle to, you know, to to handle our own body weight, let alone anything extra. We're not very fast. Even sheep cannot run outrun many humans, right? Camels cannot run out. Sprint, Usain Bolt. Right. So so anyway, you could have all of those comparisons. But where humans do really well is in being generalists of movement. So we can mimic we can do all of those movement patterns that we doctors have with that very adaptable. And so we need to take part in those patterns. Crawling, climbing, lifting, carrying, walking, running, sprinting. You know, jumping isn't just all these movement patterns that we can take part in. Our kids do them if given free rein, but we shouldn't grow out of them. We shouldn't continue to do them as adults. So that's the best summation of my book I think I've ever given. And that's why it's a useful it's a useful piece of it of not only information, but practical instruction.
Sunna: [00:26:38] Well, it has a yeah. It's so pertinent and phenomenal because, you know, to be fair, obviously with Lockdown's and stuff, I haven't been to the gym in over a year and I still never understood when you sit there on like a machine that isolated particular muscle, when you're doing the bicep cow and all you're working is, is one muscle, when it's like, what about the rest of your body? Like that doesn't get your heart rate up, you're only using more. Saying I would always try and do much more functional training where you'd move three or four muscle groups by kind of doing a lunge with a deadlift or whatever, that was really moving more of your whole body. And I felt I always got so much more out of the workout when I moved than isolate it. So I guess that's kind of the thing you're saying, right?
Darryl: [00:27:22] Yeah. I mean, functional movement and compound movement versus isolation is a certainly a part of that. But again, the book the book basically breaks down. What is the difference between exercise and movement? What's the difference between isolation and compound? What's the difference between functional movement and just movement for the sake of it? And so, yeah, you're correct. If you do functional movement and you're mimicking the movements that you want to do in the real world, that's going to be more advantageous then you just working one muscle for aesthetics or size or whatever it may be. But it doesn't give you the kind of a real world transfer. It doesn't really improve your your health necessarily. And you're getting almost two or three for the price of one. You know, if I've got 20 seconds to do one exercise and I can only do my bicep bicep or I can do something which will exercise my bicep and my tricep and my back and my legs. Yeah. At the same time, for me it's like, why wouldn't I do that?
Sunna: [00:28:27] Instead, it's much more powerful, right? If you're moving your whole body doing chin ups and squats and, you know, like you say, it's what's important is actually you can do all of those things for free weights, things that are just, you know, move your body. And I think that's the thing. You know, we forget to just there was a book I read and one little tip always is stuck with me, which I really liked. And it's similar to your message, which is from Aubrey Marcus, who talks about he has a book I can't remember the name of book for Life, but he has a book that basically talks about all the things you can do in twenty five. It was Owen the day, Owen, your life, all the things you could do in 24 hours to optimize your health. But the very one thing he said and you know, he owns a company and he's busy guy, which if he can't go to the gym or he's not got any exercise time in that day, the first thing he would do was get up and do twenty three puppies. Why? Why 23? No reason. It was just a number, you know, but he moved his body and got his whole body working that first moment of the day. And it made me think of your analogy and relate it back to a dog because I have a little puppy and without fail, every time she gets up after having like a nap or whatever, she would literally do like almost a downward dog yoga stretch, because after she's been asleep, that's what you've got to do. You've got to move your body, stretch the muscles, wake it up again. And we just seem to kind of roll out of bed and get the coffee on and kind of forget about that. Yeah, it's that simple. You know, ten jumping jacks, you know, whatever it is, just move your body first thing in the morning and. Yeah. Break up that sedentary lifestyle.
Darryl: [00:30:15] Yeah. And, you know, I'm so glad that you mentioned about your puppy because because what's happening there is a some expanded relation. So we overcomplicate this. And we and we we we mistake it for a stretch. That's what we see when we see our dogs doing that. They're actually doing something called the Colation, which is something like that. Well, I mean, yeah, it's pretty common across all mammals. And it's a way of resetting the central nervous system. It's a way of preparing a body for movement. So, you know, big cats will do it before they go for a hunt. For example, when the retriever wake up from a sleep like, you know what, I'm hungry, and then we'll do a pet that will Panditji. And to talk to give you an awareness of what that is, is a human think of a young a young child getting up from a nap. You know, they kind of do these motions that yawn, usually a yawn accompanies it and then they'll then they'll run off or whatever. That's that's exactly what it is. A stretch is what humans have created to try and improve flexibility to feel good. Oh, let me just hold that for like fifteen seconds.
Darryl: [00:31:21] Twenty seconds. You're your puppy. Want to do that? You're puppy will literally kind of spring into into one of emotion and then go about their day. So, yeah, I talk about in my book and on my website, and this is again about reengaging with your with your animalistic self because adults feel really uncomfortable, particularly because we're socially conditioned to go. No, that's something that kids do. And I don't look awkward. I don't want to go on, you know, I got to hold my own back. Yeah. Was actually that movement strawberry charges and refreshes the central nervous system? And it's like having that morning coffee, so. So either you particularly you jump out of bed in the 23 Bapi jump, you do jumping jacks or whatever, but I panicked like several times a day. No, that's why I don't do any stretching. I don't do any flexibility work. I just do what I regard as natural go for natural range of motion whilst I'm moving and there's less pain and discomfort. That's which is which I like avoiding. I'm like unnecessary. If it's unnecessary discomfort, I'm not interested.
Sunna: [00:32:35] Well, I think that's part of the problem, though, right? Because if you look at like the Crossfade movement, which is a hard core, no pain, no gain, like go for it until you're, like, dying on the floor. And whilst they're very functional, they do running. They do everything, every kind of exercise, which is great. You know, it's all about the pain. Whereas actually what you've done is kind of said, how can you break in and build it into people's day so that it's fun, more enjoyable. And, you know, people actually do it because most people avoid pain, like you say. So, yes. You know, tell us a bit more about how you build that fun into it and motivate people to get involved.
Darryl: [00:33:16] Yeah, it's just embracing your inner child. It's creating a playful approach to to exercise. It's not. It's not. It's reducing the world the importance of the way exercise, actually. So I try not it's difficult not to use it, but I try not to. I try not to use the word workout. I use playout instead, because that's that would have been the dialogue of my childhood. That would have been a vocabulary, my childhood. We didn't go out. We didn't go out to exercise when we were kids. We went out to play. It played out so so and when I played out, that could have been that could have been four hours. And it was really enjoyable. It was lots of fun and it was also very serious and it was also very hard work. So I don't want to people often get sometimes get confused with this message of play and they assume that the only real hard work comes out from something like CROSSFIRE, you know, punishing. I mean, you know, like prostate on the floor can't move. I'm just in so much pain because I've proven myself how incapable I am. But if you see children playing, they will work to them to their maximum limits, climbing trees, piggyback carrying. They're not taking the easy option. They're constantly thinking of the most complex, risky, intense behaviors that they can do. And so that's what I want to create with primal play is yes, this play, yes, it's fun, but sometimes play is also very serious. So if I'm balancing on railings, I'm not.
Darryl: [00:34:58] Trust me, I'm not messing around. If I slip, if I fall, that's a problem. I need to be completely engaged. If I'm climbing a tree, I've got to think about how am I going to get down. Right. So so me having a former Crosthwaite back Crosthwaite background, that was part of my journey. I realized I wanted to expand the definition again of of being a generalist of fitness and and to be able to be capable of lots of different things being a jack of all trades. So, so so that's what I bring to the probably method as well. It's like I do want to be really strong. Yeah, I do want to be really fast. I do want great stamina. I do want great balance and coordination, all these things. I just want to find a vehicle that makes most of that journey fun. So I do like lifting weights, but I would prefer fireman carrying someone I quite like piggyback carrying people. That for me is far more fun than me just lifting. I am balls. I like pushing cars because I like to think of myself as a like a superhero. I'm like, oh my gosh, I can push, I can push my car for 200 meters and feel really strong and capable. So I create these scenarios that that really evoke my childlike spirit. Amazing. And I think that's really important for people, because even with this message of just do what you can, sometimes it's it's refined so much that people aren't getting much of a benefit.
Darryl: [00:36:28] If we if we spoke about food in that way, if I said somebody about food, you know, who was eating just pure junk all day, my absolute the worst diet you can imagine. And I said how, you know, it would be great if you just ate one segment of an orange that would be just such and such an improvement. Just do that. Just do that. Yeah. Just do that every day. Just one segment, you know, and have a teaspoon of of avocado because that's a really good, healthy, fat. You know, if we said that would be like so that's not going to make much of a difference when they're, you know, they're chugging down on to is a lot of coke and, you know, all the other stuff that they're doing, you know, you'd have to say, like, sorry, mate, you can have to cut down on the quantity and maybe need to drink a bit more water, maybe need to have a bit more healthy oils. Maybe you need to look at healthier proteins. Maybe, you know, you'd have that discussion and it wouldn't mean you have to have perfection, but you certainly wouldn't start off at such a low bar, the low bar. That's exactly right. It's the same with movement. So, you know, we need to we need to shift the ball up just enough to make it accessible, but to also make sure that we're getting people to have the health benefits.
Sunna: [00:37:44] Yeah, well, yeah, exactly. And that's a bit the the problem because essentially, well, we face the same challenge in the vitamin market, right? The nutrient reference value of daily intake is the minimum amount we need to not get sick. And that's what manufacturers put in their vitamins. And then as a result, people take vitamins and they don't feel the benefit or see the change it can have. So they go, well, I took that for a month. It didn't really work. Yes. And then at that point, you kind of get disengaged with it. And I think you're absolutely right. The same is true for exercise. You know, if you do that, I mean, like the twenty three burps thing in the morning for me, that energizes me. So I feel it and that's what that makes me do it again the next day. Whereas if I did it because it was like do one birthe a day, you know, you probably stop doing it because you haven't got time.
Darryl: [00:38:42] Yeah. Yeah, yeah. That what, that five seconds to do that pappy's just to take statements to and to buy time today. There's so much, I mean more important things I could do. I think you. I think you're. Right. You know, it's and that's why I use the term minimum effective dose, because there is a minimum dose that will give us a significant benefit, you know, and and and that's what I feel my job is as a as a kind of a spokesperson for physical activity and movement is saying, I understand what you're trying to do, guys encouraging more people to move. But it's going to get to the stage where you say, hey, if you just move for two seconds, because that's better than not moving at all. Round of applause. You know, you're doing something. So I can actually no, it's not enough.
Sunna: [00:39:30] But this is it comes back to your point about people avoiding hard the hard truth of things, because, you know, we have to have a we have to have a really frank conversation with people that you know. Well, you know, according to the latest numbers I've seen, 63 percent of the UK is overweight, though. And, you know, I'm definitely not overweight, but you've just told me I don't move enough, which is probably true. I'm far too sedentary. So maybe that's sixty three percent overweight, but probably 83 percent is far too sedentary and doesn't get enough movement in that day. And if we don't have that front conversation with people, it's only going to cripple the NHS more. It's only going to lead to poorer health outcomes for everyone. And yeah, it's almost like how do we inspire people to do it differently? And I think that's what's so great about your content. You do it in such a fun and different way.
Darryl: [00:40:25] Yes. Yes. Because, you know, it's I don't have to feel guilty. I want people to feel bad about themselves. I don't want people to feel as if it's just about willpower, because trust me, it was just about willpower. I wouldn't be moving. I'll be playing my Xbox all day. That's my number one sitting down activity is me and my Xbox. And and once when I'm in the zone, I could sit for hours and not move apart from my fingers and thumbs and a joy pad. Right? Yeah, I'll admit it. I'm not gonna pretend that I just love moving all day. And that's the only thing that that exists in life. Now, there's plenty of things I love doing sitting down. There's plenty of box sets I still am waiting to watch. You know, I've got a year's worth of box sets that I could just watch. Exactly. No know. So I have to create I had to create an appetite that goes, you know what, I now own the Xbox is enough. Sorry, Daryl. I know you want to keep playing, but come on me. Get at it and move. It's not easy to do. It isn't easy to do so. So I want to stress the listeners like I understand it isn't easy. So we have to make it easier for ourselves. We have to create an environment that encourages to move more, you know, have a standing desk. I that's what I used to say.
Darryl: [00:41:40] I'm standing more. You know, I, I feel uncomfortable when I sit. So as soon as I get that uncomfortable feeling, I will get up and walk around for even in my Xbox, you know, I'll be like, you know, I'm going to stand and play for a while, then I'll sit back down, you know, I'll be cool, pick up my remote control. When I'm watching a TV, I'll create games. I think gaming in the true sense of the word is really important. If you create these games for you throughout your day. You know, every time I go into the kitchen, I'm going to do a squat every time I brush my teeth or stand on one leg. You know, if you if you great if you create this environment of play, then it becomes a little bit easier and becomes a great dopamine hit and a challenge. And you're like, oh, gosh, you know, like maybe I can do a little bit more of this and maybe I can get my family involved. So so that's what I'm trying to create, is ethos of playing more. And then you don't feel as guilty. You don't feel as much pain. There are hormones released, you know, endorphins that are released that reduce pain. So you don't feel that you don't feel as much about physical anguish when you're doing things so to some people. But because they hate, you know, BOPE is a painful night.
Sunna: [00:42:56] Don't tell anyone about evil.
Darryl: [00:42:59] You know, they're evil. Right. So so but there there are activities you can do that will give you exactly the same benefit as a baby but that you can love. I mean, that's the that's the whole point. Why do a burp and hate it thinking that's the only way to achieve that benefit when you could do something else and go, oh my goodness, I fucking love this, I want to do it more?
Sunna: [00:43:23] You know what? I'm going to tell you a quick story of me and my wife. And we this was exactly that in the way that we didn't think we were exercising. We decided we'd go for a walk in a new woods throughout the pandemic because, hey, what else have you got to do? Right. So let's go explore some new words and go for a walk in the day. And what we did, we were we went it was quite amazing as all the kind of nature trails all these days. There's nothing else to do. So they're all grounded. We were like. Don't really like it, like walking with all these other people, I'd rather just go off in the forest ourselves. So we took like a little offshoot of a path. It didn't really seem like a path along the river. And this was down in Surrey. And then we kind of got to a dead end where I didn't really go any further and we didn't want to go back to the only way to go was really up this incredible steep bank kind of alongside the river to try and get to the top of the hill.
Sunna: [00:44:18] But it wasn't a path and it was kind of like, don't go any further. This is safe. But we were like, you know what? It's just nature, right? Like, we'll just figure out what just go up. And it was honestly, it took us this hill turned into what felt like a mountain. It probably took us about 40 minutes to get up this incline, but it was so steep at points, we had to almost kind of run and grab onto a tree to hold onto and then pull ourselves up to the next bit and then take a breather and then run to the next bit and kind of go side to side and zigzag. So it wasn't straight because you literally couldn't walk straight up this thing. It was too steep. And you know what? By the end of that, I was absolutely knackered. I'd used all these different muscles in my legs, in my arms, in my body. But you know what? It was incredibly fun and we just loved it. And we were like, damn, we need to do more than I thought. This was awesome. And I guess that's kind of what you say.
Darryl: [00:45:19] Yeah, exactly. I mean, that's a that's a beautiful description of of, you know, that's you you're in a playful state there, you know, like, you know what? And that's let's do this. Let's explore something else. Let's have a bit of an adventure. And then I'm sure many times through that you like, oh, you know, what should we have? Maybe we shouldn't have attempted this, but that sense of achievement and elation when you do and you realize your body's going, oh, my gosh, what have you done to me? You know, I feel a little bit beaten up by that by that. But you get endorphin rush. You feel really good. Yeah, we need to whatever that is for you, you need to find what you truly enjoy when it comes to movement. You need to make sure that if you do find something that you don't just do only that because because you need a broad spectrum of movement. So like just like you wouldn't say the only thing that matters is vitamin D, right. Exactly. Like you wouldn't. Who would say that I'm some people probably would like, but who would really say that it's exactly the same of movement. If I love playing basketball, don't just play basketball. There were many other things that you can benefit from in when it comes to movement. And so just find out what they are. Trait you your list of go to movement practices, try to do some of that you that you enjoy spending time with and try and do it outside in nature because there's significant benefits of movement in nature over and above doing the movement itself. And and just remember that you, your human and your body adapts to your environment. So if you're again, if you're doing the same thing again and again and again, there is less adaptation over time.
Sunna: [00:47:02] Yeah. And I saw a horrible, horrible stat on Instagram, but it was by Dr. Jema McConkey, who's a leading immunologist. So I trust its credibility and its source. She said by the time we're 80, we've spent 72 years in the house as well. And I was just like, whoa, what is going on? Like that isn't right now, because, like you said, we're natural human beings right there. Yeah, there are. Forget the name of them. They're like chemicals that the trees release. The like actually can help your body, your immune system when you breathe in the sunlight gives you vitamin D. Yeah, yeah. You know, we are natural beings that were designed to be outside and to sex. We've just forgotten that. And basically spend the majority of our life inside is scary because we don't know the implications of that, although arguably we're starting to see them in the national health.
Darryl: [00:48:01] Oh, yeah, we are. We do. I mean, I suppose the good thing is we do. We know some of them. We know, for example, you know, with air pollution. Right. I mean, I live in I live in London, you know, obviously concerned about air pollution, but the pollutants indoors are far worse than those outside. Just that point when you think, hold on a second, that doesn't make sense. But lots of studies on that. It's worse. It's worse being indoors with all the airborne pollutants indoors and outdoors. You go outside the color green in nature will automatically bring stop reducing blood pressure. Lots of studies on that. Looking at trees, looking at the grass, we use a pressure. You boost immune function when you're out in nature, even looking at those studies with prisoners and getting prisoners just to look at pictures of nature. So you had half the prisoners who didn't. Half the pictures who looked at me didn't even go outside just looking at nature. There's a reduction in violent incidents from prisoners who have access to these images. There was less sickness, but cold and flu and the like in those prisoners. Just looking at pictures of nature and that term, it's called Biophilia. And that was coined by Edward Wilson is a book he wrote on that subject. But but, yeah, we have an innate love and appreciation for nature and its symbiotic. So we we we feed off the energy of nature.
Darryl: [00:49:29] And and there's a physiological response. There are health benefits just being in nature. And if you're exercising in nature, which is even better, you get greater benefits from the physical activity. So so, you know, it's again, it's a win win. If I had the choice between working in working out, I would rather work out out in terms of being outside, you know. So, yeah, I think it's it's it's really interesting that the more we recognize our affinity with nature. The more that we recognize the our evolution didn't exist in isolation, it existed in the context of an environment that we were in, the foods we ate, the way that we moved, you know, the dependence on vitamin D from the sun, our reliance on the sun and, you know, daylight and night time, what happens are hormones that are produced at different times of the day to help us, to sleep, to help us stay awake. All these things only occurred because of evolution that didn't just pluck out of thin air. And in the 21st century, the more we recognize that relationship with our evolution, I think the healthy would become, you know, so so if we go well, you know, I don't need vitamin D, you know, I don't need some access to sunshine. You know, I'm okay being indoors all day. It won't take long for nature to say that's a problem.
Sunna: [00:50:57] Yeah. I mean, vitamin D is used by countless processes in the body. Yeah. I can't even remember the number, but it is so many and you just go, oh yeah, we don't need that. We can just like dust up in one of the frustrating things for me about lockdown and I know the pandemic's been terrible, but, you know, we've actually been going against nature with the pandemic. We've said stay inside, you know, sterilize everything with alcohol sanitizers. Yet, you know, one of the main things about the immune system, the fascinating thing I read over the course of the pandemic, which they did a study of all the isolated groups where they could test the entire population and understand who had it, how many people are asymptomatic and so on. And so there was like the cruise ship that was stuck off the coast of San Francisco, the quarantine, the whole thing, they tested everyone. They worked out the case ratios, slightly older population, dunning that did it in care homes. They did it with the homeless people. They brought off the street and put them in hotels when right at the start of the pandemic. And then they did it also with the military when there was that Navy ship that had an outbreak and got quarantined. And the most fascinating part about that, right, is who do you think had the highest rate of asymptomatic cases, as in, you know, they that their body just dealt with it. They didn't experience any symptoms. They got the virus, didn't experience any symptoms. The population at the highest rate, you would assume, and you would probably say the Navy ship, right? Oh, young, fit, healthy.
Sunna: [00:52:30] It wasn't me and it was actually the homeless population, which was like mind blowing to me. Right. Because they're not into the gym. They're not, you know, eating healthy, doing anything. But what they are doing, if they're outside every day. Yes. They're probably getting good level of vitamin D because I sat in the sun all day. But they're also exposing themselves to bacteria, germs, you know, with their hands. And that builds a robust immune system. It's well proven that if you have a dog, you bring in more microbes to your house and a dog has a beneficial effect on your gut microbiome and your health has been proven. Yet throughout this whole pandemic, we said stay inside. So you're not to get any vitamin D and we've said, you know, sanitize everything, you know, alcohol, sanitizer all over your hands all the time, which I get it. And there are certain situations we need to use it in medical context. It makes total sense. But to do it every day religiously, how I see people do it, they do it when they leave their house and then they get to the supermarket, they do it again. And then when they leave the supermarket, they do it again when they're back in their car. And before, you know, you've just destroyed all the good bacteria as well that your immune system is using to, you know, work with. Yes, yes, yes. That's a bit that the frustration that I've had a bit over the pandemic and we need to get back to nature.
Darryl: [00:53:56] Yeah, no, I mean, that's a really that's a really, really good point. And I think that's why you're producing the products, the products that you are and why we do the work that we do. And I think, you know, it just I'm just so touched on that point. This was a good final point is, you know, physical activity is really beneficial for supporting good immune function. And and and I think the one good message probably that did come out during this pandemic from the government was go outside to exercise. The only thing that was there any kind of very overt message that we had is, yes, they and stay inside, don't go to work stain's. But if you do go out, go out to exercise and go out for an hour and and hopefully people who have the option do go out into an actual environment and do make the most of that. So I did prioritize that pretty much every day without fail. I've spent at least an hour since the pandemic started, an hour outside day minimalizing and cold rain, whatever for my mental health. As well as my physical health and and I do you know, I do get down and dirty in my local park, I'm crawling on the ground, crawling on the ground. I'm getting access to microbes. I'm I suffer from hay fever. The best thing I did, actually, was to stop taking antihistamines. And I started like, literally, you know what, trepanning pollen is a problem for me. Grass pollen is a problem. But I want to do only exercise on the grass.
Darryl: [00:55:29] I'm going to have to kind of expose myself to this. And I it was painful, trust me. But I just I just I just slowly started to increase the amount of exposure. And then it's like, oh, I didn't have to take antihistamines this year. Like, my eyes are running less. There's less congestion now. So, you know, even as an older guy, I was still able to to make my immune system make better decisions about something previously that was just like, I can't even go outside. It's just so awful. So, yeah, it's incredible how powerful and how swift certain things can change. And it's really yeah. It's it's really important, you know, but I suppose I hope you don't mind me saying this. One of the thing that's interesting about this, there are I do know a lot of people who also are relying on good immune function, you know, who didn't who kind of said, you know, I'm never going to wear a mask, I'm never going to sanitize I'm never going to do anything at all. My immune system is so robust that I do all the right things. And many of those people also went back, you know, got covid. Some of those people have had long covid, which is probably more of a concern who haven't bounced back like like many people do. So I think, you know, there is certainly a middle ground where most people we know will benefit by just doing better health practices. But there are still always people on the fringes. The exceptions, of course.
Sunna: [00:57:01] And, you know, there's no one size fits. All right. Yeah, yeah. But your point earlier, health and nutrition and exercise is very individual. Right. Why? Someone who thinks their immune system is robust but actually then gets taken down by covid could be to do with nothing to do with exercise, nothing to do with diet. They've got all those boxes ticked, but it could be they have a mineral deficiency that they know. Right. And that's that's where unless you have total understanding and total control of your health, of course, you have to be careful and, you know, just try and do the best you can, but stay safe, wear a mask. You know, I've got my little mask thing around me. I have it on all the time because. Yeah, you know, yeah. For some people, this is really bad. And, you know, we have to take care and hopefully get through this as best as possible. Yes. I just hopefully this time around, you know, I would love the government to create like a workout to help out scheme and discounting exercise and sports, I guess, rather than, you know, rather than eat out to help out, which ends up discounting KFC and McDonald's, which, you know, is going to end up doing the opposite of what we're trying to achieve
Darryl: [00:58:13] There, right? Yeah. The companies that don't need that, you don't need much help from the government. I mean, that's that's the bizarre thing, right? You know, they just. Oh, anyway, yeah, that's the podcast.
Sunna: [00:58:25] But thanks. There always been a fascinating conversation. And like I said, we could talk for hours. But before we go, could you tell us one thing that you do to maximize your health, that you swear by it and you love your you love our listeners to kind of take on
Darryl: [00:58:46] Treat sedentary time like smoking? Oh, well, basically, that's what I would say. So I'm a non smoker and I'm a non smoker in in the sedentary sense, too. So I do whatever I can to avoid sedentary behavior because it's that bad. It's it's it certainly is. It's one of the worse. It's one of the worst things we can we can do is to be sedentary. Pretty much all of our body systems are dialed down, so even maintaining health is dialed down. Our immune system is less efficient because mobilization of our immune system is also important. So there's so many things and probably as a headline, you know, you can you can reduce your risk of chronic lifestyle, disease of premature death by up to 50 percent, comparing physically active individual to a sedentary individual. And there is nothing else. Any intervention that has the same evidence base supporting that benefit, so that that gives us an idea of how how important this is, everything you can think of, heart disease, cancer, stroke, type two diabetes, you know, dementia, Alzheimer's, mental health. I like, you know, osteoarthritis. I mean, pretty much anything you can think of all cause mortality is what what it's called in the. So every single cause of death you can reduce the risk of by up to 50 percent with physical activity. So that would be my one one
Sunna: [01:00:18] One somber note is one. Well, whilst we all thought we were doing great banning cigarette smoking everywhere inside. The reality is we've all been doing just bad by sitting at a desk looking at a laptop screen.
Darryl: [01:00:31] Yes, but good. But the good news is it's it's it's it's easier to to fix. Yeah.
Sunna: [01:00:40] All that plus Netflix is pretty addictive, I have to say.
Darryl: [01:00:44] It is the phones are addictive. Screen time is addictive. Yeah. That's, that's, that's certainly is difficult. But hopefully there are solutions like probably to give people more ideas around more.
Sunna: [01:00:58] Well listen, I think you're spreading an incredible message. And, you know, it's just something we have to find a way to integrate into our daily life, like you say, in fun ways and engage in ways that make us do it because we enjoy it, not because we have to, you know, even though we do have to genuinely. So, listen, thanks for sharing your message. And where can people find out
Darryl: [01:01:23] The best places? My blog, which is Primeau play dot com. I'm known as a fitness explorer on my social media, Instagram, Twitter and so on. And my latest book, Animal Moves or even My Animal Moves Fitness Cards, which you probably can't me just kind of see. Oh, there you go. Got it. Got it. So, yeah, I have a range of cards that you can play like a game, like a movement game. So we've got lots of little tips and tricks on my website. So like who
Sunna: [01:01:54] Knows. But you know.
Darryl: [01:01:55] But moving to move on. I love it.
Sunna: [01:02:01] Go I'm going to have to get some because I definitely like has really struggled actually in this last lock down, just not doing enough because it was cold and I was getting up at six a.m. That was the academic exercise between six and seven. And it was like, it's where it's cold, it's dark. I'm not into this at all. But, you know, I've got to fix it. You know, we're allowed to be outside again. It's 22 degrees outside right now. It's one of those hot April, not April, March days know we're having. So I'm going to go outside and enjoy the sunshine and maybe walk and get my lunch. Does that count as movement?
Darryl: [01:02:35] Yeah, just make it brisk. Make it brisk
Sunna: [01:02:38] Brisk. OK, I
Darryl: [01:02:39] Like you're getting your last ever sandwich. That's the speed you want to go.
Sunna: [01:02:43] I'm like, oh my God, they're going to sell out.
Darryl: [01:02:47] Yeah.
Sunna: [01:02:50] Awesome daro. That's been wicked. Thank you for your time and thanks for joining us.
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