“Why MovNat?” By Exercise Scientist Jamie Guined
Hello MovNatters and newcomers! Welcome to the first in a series of informative installments that aims to answer the question: “Why MovNat?”
As most of you know, and for those who don’t, MovNat was founded by Erwan Le Corre in 2009 and is primarily inspired by some of the most prominent pioneers of physical education in Europe (mainly Amoros, Jahn, and Hebert), but with significant tweaks and improvements that are based on modern exercise science, kinesiology, bio-mechanics, and strength & conditioning. So what is MovNat, and why?
At first blush, most folks probably associate MovNat with “paleo” or “primal” fitness, and rightly so if they are basing their impression of MovNat on the videos of MovNat Founder Erwan Le Corre maneuvering gracefully through the wild like a modernized version of Tarzan! But don’t be mistaken, despite the “paleo” and “primal” archetype, the truth is that MovNat is so much more.
MovNat is a comprehensive physical education program that promotes the development of more optimized human performance, through the practice and acquisition of fundamental human movement skills. Based on the goals of the client, clinician, coach, or athlete, MovNat can also be used as a fitness program, a therapeutic modality, an athletic development program, and even a pre-habilitation or rehabilitation program. In short, MovNat builds better movers…and movement…is life.
Let’s revisit that last notion…that movement is life. According to the laws of physics, there is no absolute frame of reference with regards to motion, so everything in the universe can be considered to be in a state of constant motion. In other words, motion is essential for existence, and in the absence of motion, life and existence begin to suffer. We can easily see the effects of this in the world today. As a result of the technological advancements of the modern world, people have grown accustomed to a sedentary lifestyle, relying on many creature comforts and conveniences that have reduced the amount of physical activity or movement that is otherwise required to complete many activities of daily living. The resulting changes in the activity patterns of the modern human have led to an increase in the incidence and severity of several hypokinetic diseases, including diabetes, obesity, and hypertension, just to name a few. The two main answers for reversing these trends are simple: proper nutrition and movement.
Get Moving with MovNat
The human body simply cannot thrive without adequate amounts of daily movement. Notice that I said thrive, not survive, and that I also said daily movement and not exercise. Let me explain. Your goal should be to not merely survive and just get by, but to live in a state of optimal wellness where you
truly thrive and are able to experience the human condition with as few limitations and constraints as is possible. In order to thrive and to create a state of optimal wellness, daily movement is an absolute necessity. The goal should be to move a little more today than you did yesterday. The movement should be enjoyable and not dreaded, and it should be purposeful rather than rote. Regardless of your goal, whether it be weight loss, increased athletic performance, or general health and well-being, MovNat should become the foundation upon which all else is built.
MovNat is a return to the basics, a return to the fundamental and governing principles of human movement. The practice of MovNat will assist you in re-establishing the very basics of fundamental human movement, all of which are prerequisites to advanced and complex movement that is common in modern exercise programs and sports. Through the practice of MovNat you can improve range of motion, flexibility, balance, coordination, stability, mobility, and other human performance parameters such as muscular strength and endurance, enhanced coordination, and improved motor control and function.
Thanks to the practically limitless variety available with MovNat programming, ranging from beginner to advanced with varying degrees of intensity and complexity, MovNat can be used as both a physical education system as well as a fitness and physical preparedness system. For a taste of what MovNat has to offer, check out the MovNat Combo Workouts, or visit the Breaking Muscle archives that feature a month-long MovNat program designed by Erwan Le Corre that includes a new workout for each day of the week, that’s a total of 28 MovNat workouts!
In the next installment, we’ll continue our study of “Why MovNat” and examine some of the basics of modern exercise science and motor learning theory that make MovNat a superb program for optimizing human movement and performance. Specifically, we’ll focus on motor skill classification and analyze a few of the discrete MovNat skills and MovNat Combo Workouts (MCWs). We’ll end our installment with a discussion of two approaches to MovNat Coaching: the task perspective and the performance proficiency perspective. Both of these approaches to MovNat Coaching play an integral role in successful and effective MovNat programming.
Until next time, get out and MovNat!
Jamie Guined currently serves as an Exercise Scientist in the Neuroscience Laboratory’s Motion Lab at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.