The age of the pandemic has led many people to spend more time indoors. And while most of us have come to appreciate the comforts of home more than ever, we also tend to miss certain aspects of the ‘old normal.’
Moving around outdoors feels different than how we usually go about our daily activities within the confines of home. Enjoying the breeze or walking in the yard is not the same experience as heading for a stroll in the park or going on a weekend hike.
A lot of people were already tending to lead sedentary lives, seated at office desks for hours each day. As we brace for a future where the increasing popularity of remote work might further enable this sort of lifestyle, it’s vital to seek out more activity in our lives.
The recent training methodology of natural movement, or ‘MovNat’ for short, can be just the solution you need. Here’s how you can begin to practice MovNat around your home each day.
Natural movements are neglected
At its heart, MovNat is about using our bodies to move according to nature’s design. It sounds simple, but it’s difficult to practice effectively. Why is this so?
Survival of the fittest once selected strongly for physical fitness as well as social skills. Being the ‘fittest’ meant being able to provide a better living for your family. Today, it has become increasingly skewed toward the social and economic aspects. Those with the means to do so will control their living conditions for comfort, not exertion. We associate comfort with status and tend to look down on those who labor manually for a living.
Thus, modern humans have acquired a general distaste for physical activity. Professional athletes and fitness buffs are the exception that proves the rule. The rest of the population is accustomed to minimally using their bodies. Other forms of natural movement fall into decline unless a person makes a deliberate effort to practice them.
Stay in the moment
Think about how an average human moves each day. They wake up lying down in bed, stretch, and stand. They walk downstairs and around the house, making breakfast and preparing for work. They sit down in front of a screen for hours. The same movements are repeated throughout the day. Stand and walk for a bit during breaks, sit down again for work. Stand, walk, make dinner, sit, eat. Stand, walk upstairs, go to sleep.
When you play out this pattern day after day for several years, the other forms of natural movement are neglected. It becomes a challenge to sustain running or jumping with good form. The only way to improve is through practice. And for that to be effective, you have to be slow and mindful.
Mindfulness simply means staying in the moment. And all those devices around your home are effectively a cage for your mind. You’re surrounded by a potential phone call, text message, email alert, or other notification. Even playing your favorite music is a way of taking your mind off the actual motions of the exercise.
Moving naturally is about re-learning how to use your body. Every schoolchild knows that you don’t learn well when you’re distracted. So get rid of the devices and distractions as you practice and focus only on what your body is doing.
Improve for accessibility
When you start practicing MovNat at home, some primary forms of movement will come more quickly, because they are more accessible. You don’t need much floor space to crawl or jump indoors. You can sprint in your yard, or run laps around the block. Weights for lifting and throwing can be improvised by filling up a backpack with packs of sand, for instance.
At some point, you’ll want to add variety and challenge to your routines. This can be accomplished through simple home improvements. Your landscape gardeners might be able to help create a sloping area where you can practice running up or downhill. Rocks of different sizes and weights can be used to test your carry and grip strength. They can also serve as platforms for jumping and balancing.
Climbing is another component of MovNat that you can unlock in this manner. Ropes, monkey bars, and tree branches can provide different tests of your ability. Like the principles underlying MovNat itself, you want to be practical and effective. It’s not the number of sets and reps you can churn out, but how you become adaptable and master the different ways of moving your body.
Eventually, you can take your practice outdoors, but finding joy in natural movement can start at home and continue to improve there for a long time. It’s simple, sustainable, and perfectly suited to our future living.