Natural Movement

What is MovNat®?

According to Erwan Le Corre , MovNat founder, “MovNat is a physical education system for developing real world capacity though natural movement”. Lets break this down.

When most of us think of physical education, we think about our gym class in grade school. However, physical education is learning how to be physical or how to use your body properly during a wide range physical activities. In MovNat training quality physical performance is a combination of skills, conditioning and mindset.

Developing real world capacity means creating a body that is ready to meet the demands of life, both routine and the unexpected. During daily life our environments and our tasks change from moment to moment. Many of our tasks are very routine and we know what to expect and how we’ll need to use our bodies, but occasionally situations occur that change our routine and what we need from our body. In MovNat training the tasks are highly varied placing a wide range of demands on the body, creating a body that can handle a wider range of life tasks.

Crawling is a natural movement that improves whole body fitness and function.

Finally, what does natural movement mean? Erwan Le Corre defines natural movement as “the full range of motor skills that the human body has been selected (by natural environment pressures) to perform in order to survive over the course of our evolutionary history. These range from simple skills such as sitting on the ground and getting up to a standing position, to more complex and challenging skills such as running on rugged terrain and climbing over high objects”. In today’s world the average person doesn’t need to run on rough ground or climb, but moving naturally is still important. Our bodies are designed to move through a huge variety of movements on a regular basis and they are the healthiest when we do. In MovNat the idea of moving in nature is translated to a fitness program that can be done indoors or out.

Running on a treadmill isn’t bad, it just isn’t enough.

How does MovNat training differ from other forms of exercise? Many forms of exercise today are very linear and repetitive in nature including treadmills, bicycles, elliptical machines, rowing machines, etc. How we use our bodies shapes our bodies and these forms of exercise create bodies that are very ready to walk on a treadmill, ride a bike, step in an elliptical motion and row. While none of this is bad, it isn’t enough to create a body that is ready for the demands of life. MovNat focuses on a variety of skills including:

  • Breathing- Proper breathing is foundational to all movement.
  • Ground Positions – This includes lying down and sitting positions and transitioning smoothly between them. Deep joint mobility and strength are developed that help with the ability to get up, balance and perform more complex movements.
  • Squatting/ Deep Knee Bends- These create leg strength and range of motion.
  • Get-ups – These skills include multiple ways to get up from the ground creating leg and core strength.
  • Balancing – This skill is foundational to all get-up and standing skills.
  • Crawling – This skills develops coordination and whole body strength. Rolling- prepares for being able to get up quickly and also fall better.
  • Lifting – This is highly functional needed to move a variety of objects (and people).
  • Throwing/Catching
  • Climbing/Hanging
  • Jumping/Vaulting

Learn more about MovNat® here.

Why did I chose to become MovNat® certified?

As an occupational therapist and myofascial release practitioner, my work focuses on balancing the tension in the body to create best alignment. In conjunction with hands on treatment and adjusting life habits (think ergonomics) I give stretching and basic movement homework to pull the body into better alignment. All our body systems function better when the body is in best alignment. Once my clients begin to feel better, they are ready for more. Most are looking for the next step in building a healthy body and lifestyle. In my professional opinion, MovNat is the best next step in getting the body healthy, balanced, strong, symmetrical and flexible.

I also became certified for myself. Just like everyone else, I want to age well. I’m in my 50’s and have young grandkids. I love it and want to be able to keep up with them and all the grandkids in my future. I want to feel great throughout my 50’s and beyond. It isn’t important to me to squat press impressive amounts of weight or to run a 5K under 25 minutes. I want to be able to meet the varied demands of my life including the unexpected.

I want to…

  • Easily get down on the floor to play with my grandkids and stay there for as long as they want.
  • Easily get back up from the floor and chase them around the house without having to work out a bunch of kinks first.
  • Curl my body up into a tiny ball so I can fit in a small space while playing hide and seek.
  • Have a dinosaur wrestling match with my grandson.
  • Move furniture to spring and fall clean.
  • Vacuum the entire house without stopping.
  • Squat down to reach under the couch to retrieve my dog’s toy.
  • Sit for a long car ride comfortably and get out of the car without walking like I’m 150 years old.
  • Chase my dog if she gets out of the yard.
  • Be comfortable in my clothes.
  • Be at a healthy weight.

MovNat has helped me with all these goals. And, it is fun! There is so much variety it is difficult to become bored. The workouts feel like what we naturally did as kids and can be structured into obstacle courses with interesting (but safe) challenges for your body and mind.

When I started training for my certification, I could not do many of the skills I had to do to pass. The idea of jumping onto something knee height was terrifying. I was very afraid of hurting myself so I started by simply jumping in place, then on to a two inch platform. I slowly and safely worked my way up. There were many other skills where I had to start at the most basic level, and I considered myself to be much fitter than the average person my age! Being able to achieve the Level I certification skills helped me create a body I can rely on to easily do all the tasks listed above with the most important being keeping up with the grandkids.

Why do we need to move differently?

This is my favorite quote from Katy Bowman, a biomechanist and author.

 “Watch your habits, for they become your posture. Watch your posture, for it creates your boundaries. Watch your boundaries, for they restrict your growth. Watch your restrictions, for they create immobility. Watch your immobility, for it becomes your illness.” 
― Katy Bowman, Alignment Matters: The First Five Years of Katy Says

We are a culture who has become great at sitting, reaching forward and moving in a straight line.  This shapes our bodies in a specific manner. We don’t use and challenge our full range of motion or strengthen our bodies in multiple planes of motion.  The non-linear movements during daily activities are often where we become injured and life is full of nonlinear movement. MovNat prepares your body for everyday life and its variety of positions and challenges.

A note to my generation and above…

As an occupational therapist and a safety fanatic, I believe the number one skill we need to retain as we age is the ability to get down to and up from the floor easily. MovNat emphasizes this skill. Every MovNat warm-up includes being on the ground stretching and strengthening the lower body joints and muscles. If you are concerned about your balance, get on the floor. Your life depends on it!