We’ve all been there. We get excited about a new body, a new look, eating healthy and we join a new expensive gym. This time we’ll see it through. Then nary a month later that same gym membership card is sitting in your wallet collecting dust.
It’s the same old story. We join the gym with the best of intentions, determined to get out of that fitness rut we’re but after a few visits, we find ourselves making up all sorts of excuses to skip it.
The thing is, some people thrive on being in a gym, and some others don’t. Maybe you’re one of the others who just can’t seem to bring yourself to the gym. Well, good news is that there are other fun ways to work out that don’t involve heavy gym equipment, and that is natural movement.
So what is natural movement, exactly?
The natural movement system is a training philosophy developed and popularised by Erwan Le Corre. It forgoes the traditional fitness model many of us dislike, and attempts to place fitness and exercise in a more natural context.
Its basic premise is that, back when we lived in the wild, we got all the exercise we needed from the movements we made in our day to day lives - walking, running, balancing, crawling, climbing and so forth. Since our bodies evolved whilst doing these movements, practicing them is the best way to keep our body in tip top shape.
How does natural movement differ from gym training?
If you think the gym is boring and quite simply not for you, you’re not alone. Most people who join a gym in January (which is, quite unsurprisingly, the most popular month of the year for new gym memberships) will probably stop going by the time May rolls around. That’s less than five months. In fact, most gyms have way more members than they could probably accommodate, simply because that’s the only way they can remain profitable.
Gym training is a sequence of fitness drills geared towards specific muscle groups. It’s artificial (because it trains your muscles in isolation) and repetitive (boring if you have a short attention span). And if you’re just not the gym type, it would take every ounce of motivation you possess to stick with it for the long haul!
Here are just a few ways natural movement differs from gym training:
1. It’s a fun form of exercise
Swimming, playing tag with your kids, and even climbing a tree all incorporate natural movement. So by practicing natural movement, you’re basically tricking yourself into exercising by making it look like you’re not actually exercising.
2. The focus is on your whole body, not just one muscle or group of muscles at a time
The system’s based on whole body movements. Practice often involves several major muscle groups simultaneously.
3. Natural movements are instinctive
No one teaches you how to crawl, walk and run. You learn these movements naturally, and you perfect them over your lifetime. Unfortunately, our modern lifestyle means that many of these movements simply fall by the wayside. Practicing natural movement can change that.
4. It has several practical applications
Crawling isn’t just for babies. After all, if they make you crawl during fire drills there must be a reason for it.
The same goes for other movements.
Rolling is really handy if you trip, because it helps break your fall and absorbs impact. Sadly, we’re so out of tune with our primal instincts that rolling to break a fall doesn’t even cross most people’s minds.
What are the benefits of natural movement?
Practicing natural movements isn’t just exercise for exercise’s sake.
It’ll help strengthen your body and improve your coordination and fitness level. But, more importantly, natural movements have practical applications in your day to day life. They’re useful. It’s also about having fun. Forget about repeating a bunch of movements day in day out. It’s not about getting that six pack by doing mindless drills over and over. It’s about the joy of movement.
And if something’s fun, you’ll want to do it again. Can you say the same thing about tricep dips?