3 Ways to Use Natural Movement to Boost Athleticism and Fitness

In this week’s episode, I’m going to teach you even more about how to use natural movement to build athleticism and fitness very, very quickly, and to gain coordination skills that will serve you well the rest of your life. If you want to be a modern-day athlete who can hone ancient skills to be ready for anything, then this episode is for you. Prepare to get inspired to leave the gym and take your fitness routine to nature—to climb, swim, skip, throw, and jump their way to your own heroic feats.

Ben Greenfield
6-minute read
Episode #241

Here are a three Quick & Dirty Tips for joining the Natural Movement:

1)      Build your own obstacle course

Over the past two years, I’ve transformed the nature trails around my home in Spokane by adding bungee chords for crawling under, cinder blocks that can be dragged by a chain, old tires to flip, vertical ropes hanging from the trees, horizontal ropes extended from tree to tree, a slack line for balancing, monkey bars, and even targets that can be used for spear throwing, bow shooting, or simply throwing rocks. Sure, you need a bit of space to build something like this, but even in my tiny ¼ acre rancher home that I lived in prior to moving to this larger space, my backyard was full of logs and rocks for lifting, an agility ladder for practicing fast foot movements, a pull-up bar, and much of the other equipment I describe in the episode, “How To Train Like An American Ninja Warrior”.

2)      Join a class

At websites like AmericanParkour.com, 3run.co.uk, ParkourGenerations.com, and even by simply Googling the name of your city plus the word “Parkour,” you can find groups of athletes engaged in a form of natural movement that was all inspired by the work of Hebert. Expect to show up at a class with an instructor who can teach you basic moves, such as gracefully leaping over a park bench, all the way up to more advanced moves, such as scaling a 10 foot wall or quickly climbing up on top of a swingset and balancing in a squat pose. The sky’s the limit!

3)      Develop courage

No discussion of Natural Movement would be complete without an emphasis on learning the mental principles, such as slight amounts of fearlessness (combined with respect and law-abiding, of course) and the willingness to suffer. There are simple things you can do each day to build courage, such as:

-Taking a cold shower or cold bath

-Saying hi to a complete stranger

-Going on a run or walk in a new area you’re not too familiar with (just be safe or take a buddy!)

-Learning to fight by taking a local grappling, MMA, or boxing class

-Signing up for an open mic night

-Going cliff jumping or even skydiving

-Riding your bike down a steep hill

You get the idea! There are plenty of ways to go outside your comfort zone and “live life on the edge." While you should be smart and safe, you should also be willing to accept the fact that anytime you’re building courage, there can be a risk of getting hurt, getting embarrassed, getting lost, or getting uncomfortable. In our modern era of leather seats, climate control, a ho-hum daily routine, and comfortable, fabricated exercise machines at the gym, this may be just what we need every now and again. Wouldn't you agree?

If you have your own Natural Movement thoughts to add, be sure to visit the Get-Fit Guy Facebook page and join the discussion there!

Young woman image courtesy of Shutterstock


About the Author

Ben Greenfield

Ben Greenfield received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from University of Idaho in sports science and exercise physiology; personal training and strength and conditioning certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA); a sports nutrition certification from the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), an advanced bicycle fitting certification from Serotta. He has over 11 years’ experience in coaching professional, collegiate, and recreational athletes from all sports, and as helped hundreds of clients achieve weight loss and fitness success.

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