When we think about our bodies as we age, there are fourattributes that we want to preserve: mobility, stability, strength, and aerobic fitness. One approach to exercise that checks all four of these boxes, and is quickly expanding in popularity, is “naturalmovement.”
Although there are many different ways to practice natural movement, they all seem to share the premise that a sedentary lifestyle greatly diminishes our body’s mobility and agility. This often results in the common body aches and pains that we grow to accept as we age. To counter this, the vision of natural movement approaches is inspired by taking an evolutionary, natural, and practical perspective to exercise. The premise they hold in common is that “if you start using your body the way it was designed, your body will start working the way it’s supposed to.”
By practicing natural movement, we can maintain the confidence in our bodies that seems to fade for many us as we age and start to feel more vulnerable. So, to get you motivated, Here is a quick run-down of 7 highly recommended human movement skills:
- Balance training: useful for fall prevention, leg strength and stability, and improving posture as a whole. Also effective in reducing knee and hip pain and preventing ankle sprains
- Crawling: great to relearn motor coordination, improve scapular stability, core strength as well as stimulating your nervous system
- Get-ups: confidently getting up from the ground is an essential skill that many of us lose as a consequence of our sedentary lifestyle. This is something that you can easily practice and will actuallyextend your lifespan
- Hanging from a bar: this is great to rediscover and strengthen your shoulders. It’s a great way to improve any shoulder issues you may have.
- Walking mindfully, paying attention to your body movements and placement of your feet. Preferably on different types of terrain.
- Lifting objects with proper form. Any type of resistance exercise will contribute to longevity through increased strength, bone density, and better glucose control among other benefits.
- Swimming. This is the ultimate natural movement exercise in that it ticks all of the boxes of mobility, agility, muscular strength, and aerobic fitness. It is low impact and fun!
These examples are just a small sampling of the type of building blocks used by natural movement-based exercise methodologies. We find their appeal to be very strong as using our bodies to perform the movements they were evolved to do makes a lot of intuitive sense. And they offer a refreshing alternative to the same old workouts we’ve been doing for years.