Your body craves more movement. From your head to the tip of your toes, each part of your body needs a daily dose of stimulation in order to function at its optimum. Further, since your body originally evolved to move in particular ways (ie, the ways that allow you to move through nature) there are certain movements that are a more effective in keeping you mobile, supple, and strong for a lifetime. Although a diverse, full-spectrum practice of Natural Movement is ideal, your body (and mind) require at least the most “essential” movement vitamins in order to thrive in a furniture-bound, movement-deficient world.
Here’s a list of the 6 essential natural movements you should be doing each day:
1. Ground Movement
Ground Movement is actually a whole class of vitamin-rich movements that are required to navigate the world from a non-standing position. Ground movements include floor sitting, lying, kneeling, crawling, and various other transitions that link these movements together. These movements are actually how you originally built your strength and suppleness, as you went from a helpless baby to a curious toddler.
2. Deep Squat
The Deep Squat is a ground movement (when resting in the low position) and a way to get up to standing (and get back down). The question is…are you actually resting when you are in your Deep Squat? If you struggle to maintain this position and fully relax (like most of us modern H. Sapiens), it’s a good indicator that your ankle and hip range of motion need some attention. Practicing this movement (and all the others) gives your various restricted or unstable parts the stimulation they need to function properly.
In the practice of Natural Movement, hanging is the foundation for climbing movements. From a physiological standpoint, hanging teaches you how to release tension from the shoulders and upper back, as well as build grip strength. Hanging movements are a great way to counterbalance all that forward flexed, arms down computer time and open yourself up to new movement possibilities.
Balancing is ability to walk on a narrow or uneven surface. Balancing is excellent for building a supple, strong torso as well as challenge your brain to engage with your environment. Balance can have a calming effect, as it stimulates your nervous system to focus your attention on your kinesthetic senses (proprioception, exteroception) and off the hustle and bustle of work.
While all the other movements will teach you how to relax, lifting will do the opposite. Lifting is the skill of organizing your body in a way that helps you generate the tension required to elevate something. When a lifting movement, such as the Deadlift, is executed properly it will help you build strong hips and protect your spine – making lifting another essential ingredient in any movement-nutrient rich diet.
Jumping is one of those movements that gets taken off the table - for various safety related reasons - later in life for many adults. Yet, when done properly, jumping may just be the fountain of youth we are all looking for. The key is in the landing. Landing technique performed improperly can lead to an injury, while a well-executed landing can be exactly what’s required to stimulate the body to maintain its elasticity.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
Start spending some time practicing each of these movements daily to get a much needed, deep dose of mechanical nutrition while you reconnect with your inner child.
Here’s an example day that incorporates all 5 movements:
Upon Rising – 5 minutes Ground Movement
AM break – 10 Deep Squats
Lunch break – Hang on a tree branch and balance on a curb, 3 x 30 seconds each
PM break – Lift something and practice some Jumps, 5 x 5 each
Before Bed – 5 minutes Ground Movement
If you wanted to learn more about these movements and how to expand on them get in touch with the MovNat team! Use the code 'vivobarefoot' for a 10% discount on a 2-day workshops and Level 1 certifications. It's valid until May 31st at midnight EST. https://movnat.com
Danny Clark is the Performance Director and a Master Instructor at MovNat, the official source for Natural Movement® Fitness.