Reclaiming the Joy of Movement with Darryl Edwards of Primal Play – EP81

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When was the last time you really loved movement? For most of us, it was when we were kids, using the natural environment as our playground—climbing trees, pretending to be animals, or mimicking the moves of our favorite Kung Fu stars. Is there a way to reclaim that joy of movement as adults?




Darryl Edwards is a movement coach, natural lifestyle education, and the creator of the Primal Play Method. Widely known as the Fitness Explorer, Darryl is the author of several books including Paleo Fitness, Paleo from A to Z and the bestseller Animal Moves. He has delivered keynotes at Harvard Medical School, the University of the Arts London and the Ancestral Health Symposium, among many other venues. Darryl’s work has been featured in Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Elle Magazine and Men’s Fitness as well as the BBC documentaries Eat to Live Forever and Doctor in the House.

Today, Darryl explains the genesis of Primal Play, discussing how he transformed his own health through movement and the inspiration behind the Primal Play movement patterns. He describes the inclusive nature of the practice, how it translates to other disciplines, and the benefits of Primal Play for elite athletes. Darryl also shares his insight on chronic disease, addressing the benefits of exercise for patients suffering from breast cancer and MS. Listen in for Darryl’s insight on the recommended exercise protocol for the general population and get his top advice on reclaiming your own joy of movement!

Topics Covered

[1:12] How Darryl came to Primal Play

  • Serious, stressful career as programmer
  • Early onset disease of aging
  • Physical activity to normalize numbers
  • Brought previous work ethic to gym
  • Desire to reclaim the joy of movement
[5:12] Darryl’s advice for getting motivated to move

  • Find joy in practice
  • Take out of comfort zone (challenge)
[7:46] The genesis of Primal Play

  • Pursuing Gym Jones certification program
  • Bored, upset if not at top of leader board
  • Decision to view world around as gym
  • Play out rather than workout
[11:15] How Darryl created the Primal Play movement patterns

  • Explore different methodologies
  • Systematize universal movement patterns
  • Influences from childhood (e.g.: animals, Kung Fu)
[15:13] The inclusive nature of Primal Play

  • Work within limitations
  • Available to everyone (infinitely scalable)
[17:16] How Primal Play crosses over to other disciplines

  • Darryl challenged to dead lift, lifted 550 lbs.
  • Won max power test on bike against elite cyclist
  • Power, strength and speed = natural biproducts
[23:53] How elite athletes can benefit from Primal Play

  • Improve motivation
  • Reduce repetitive stress injuries
  • Focus on experience (mindful, engaged)
  • Exploit natural capabilities as generalists
[26:29] How to learn more about Primal Play

[28:39] Darryl’s insight around exercise and chronic disease

  • Physical activity used as treatment for breast cancer
  • Movement promotes healing, reduces inflammation
  • Gut microbiome improved through exercise
  • Movement patterns as prescription for MS
[33:54] The exercise protocol for the general population

  • Minimum of 150 minutes/week aerobic activity
  • Moderate intensity (Borg scale of 5 or breath test)
  • Two days of resistance training
[36:31] Darryl’s thoughts on the published protocol

  • Only 1 in 10 children, 5% of adults get minimum
  • 300-450 minutes/week = sweet spot
  • View exercise as medicine
[43:00] Darryl’s top advice around exercise

  • Seek opportunities for more movement
  • Choose challenging activities (but not chronic stressors)
  • Return to time when not concerned what people think

Learn More About Darryl Edwards

Primal Play

The Fitness Explorer

Darryl on YouTube

Darryl on Facebook

Darryl on Twitter

Darryl on Instagram


Books by Darryl Edwards

Animal Moves: How to Move Like an Animal to Get You Leaner, Fitter, Stronger and Healthier for Life by Darryl Edwards

Darryl’s Online Courses

Borg Scale of Perceived Exertion

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