Natural Movement: The Training Method for Our Time in History


May 30, 2024

 by Rob Bratcher
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In a world where technology and urban living dominate our daily lives, our bodies are yearning for something more primal, more natural. At BAREFIT Movement Co-op in Louisville, KY, we believe that natural movement is not just another fitness trend—it's the essential training method for our time. Let's explore why modern life has distanced us from natural movement and how embracing it can transform our health, mental wellbeing, and overall quality of life.

The Decline of Natural Movement

Modern Life vs. Traditional Life

In traditional societies, movement was a necessity for survival. Our ancestors walked, ran, climbed, and lifted as part of their daily routines. Modern life, however, has drastically reduced these natural movements:

  • Sedentary Jobs: According to the American Heart Association, sedentary jobs have increased by 83% since 1950, leading to prolonged periods of sitting and inactivity.
  • Urbanization: With 55% of the world's population living in urban areas (a figure projected to increase to 68% by 2050), natural spaces for movement are becoming scarce. Parks and green spaces are often limited, and the built environment encourages sedentary behavior.
  • Technology: The average American spends over 10 hours a day on screens, reducing physical activity and increasing the risk of musculoskeletal issues.

The Consequences of Movement Deprivation

Lack of natural movement has profound effects on our health:

  • Physical Health: Sedentary lifestyles contribute to obesity, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes. A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that prolonged sitting is associated with a higher risk of death from all causes.
  • Mental Wellbeing: Physical inactivity is linked to higher rates of depression and anxiety. The World Health Organization notes that regular physical activity can reduce the risk of depression by up to 30%.
  • Longevity: Regular movement is crucial for longevity. The Blue Zones, regions known for high life expectancy, emphasize natural movement as a key factor in their residents' long lives.

The Benefits of Natural Movement

Health and Fitness

Natural movement focuses on functional, holistic fitness:

  • Strength and Flexibility: Movements like squatting, crawling, and climbing engage multiple muscle groups, improving overall strength and flexibility. This contrasts with the isolated, repetitive motions often found in traditional gym workouts.
  • Injury Prevention: By mimicking natural human activities, we improve our body mechanics and reduce the risk of injuries. A study in the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy found that functional training can enhance neuromuscular control and prevent injuries.

Mental Wellbeing

Natural movement also boosts mental health:

  • Stress Reduction: Engaging in natural movement outdoors has been shown to lower cortisol levels and reduce stress. Ecopsychology research highlights the calming effects of nature on the human psyche.
  • Cognitive Function: Physical activity stimulates brain function, improving memory and cognitive abilities. The British Journal of Sports Medicine reports that regular exercise can enhance brain plasticity, crucial for learning and memory.

Longevity and Quality of Life

Embracing natural movement can extend our lifespan and improve our quality of life:

  • Functional Independence: As we age, maintaining mobility is essential for independence. Natural movement helps preserve balance, coordination, and overall physical function, reducing the risk of falls and enhancing our ability to perform daily activities.
  • Chronic Pain Management: Natural movement practices can alleviate chronic pain by promoting proper body alignment and reducing tension. A study in the Journal of Pain Research found that functional movement exercises significantly reduced chronic lower back pain.

Natural Movement vs. Modern Fitness Trends

Cardio Boot Camps

While cardio boot camps offer high-intensity workouts, they often lack the holistic benefits of natural movement:

  • Sustainability: High-intensity routines can lead to burnout and injury. Natural movement encourages sustainable, lifelong fitness habits.
  • Functional Fitness: Cardio boot camps focus on calorie burning rather than functional fitness. Natural movement, on the other hand, enhances everyday activities by improving strength, flexibility, and coordination.

Olympic Lifting and CrossFit

Olympic lifting and CrossFit emphasize strength and conditioning but can be overly specialized and injury-prone:

  • Complexity and Risk: The technical nature of Olympic lifts and the intensity of CrossFit can increase the risk of injury, especially for beginners. Natural movement emphasizes safe, accessible exercises suitable for all fitness levels.
  • Holistic Approach: While CrossFit promotes general physical preparedness, it often lacks the natural, integrative approach of natural movement, which includes varied, full-body activities that mimic real-life scenarios.

Why BAREFIT's Natural Movement Approach is Ideal

At BAREFIT Movement Co-op, we are dedicated to restoring the natural movement patterns that our bodies crave. Our approach offers:

  • Holistic Training: We focus on a wide range of movements, from crawling and climbing to balancing and lifting, ensuring a well-rounded fitness regimen.
  • Community and Support: Our cooperative environment fosters a supportive community, making fitness enjoyable and sustainable.
  • Connection to Nature: Whenever possible, we train outdoors, reconnecting you with nature and enhancing the mental and physical benefits of natural movement.

In a time when modern life has distanced us from our natural state, embracing natural movement is not just a fitness choice—it's a necessity. Join us at BAREFIT Movement Co-op and rediscover the power of natural movement for a healthier, happier, and more fulfilling life.