This article came about from my answer to one of Rose’s questions within the group back in March – ‘Have you taken up anything new for exercise in Lockdown?’
My answer was ‘yes’, I had finally started to engage with Erwan Le Corre’s basic MovNat programme, and the exercises related to that. This was alongside my usual morning stretches, some things to strengthen the core, and a morning brisk walk/run which I do a couple of times a week, through our local forest, which I am very fortunate to have literally on the doorstep here, close to the hills of Budapest’s district 2.
At this point, let me introduce myself.
My name is Adrian Eden, and my current health and fitness journey started back towards the end of 2015. I was 58, and after a serious knee injury the year before, I took a good look at myself and didn’t like what I saw. I had put on some serious weight (up from eleven stone to just over fourteen) with most of it coming from some unhealthy evening snacking, and just over a year of being very sedentary.
I decided I needed to do something about this, so over the next couple of years I started to pay more attention to what I was eating, when, and how much. I also got back to some simple forms of exercise – included long brisk walks around my various local parks (then in East and North London).
In 2018, I also undertook a one-year Health Coach training with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, which are based in New York.
The upshot of all of that is that it rekindled my passion for health and healthy exercise – which I was into during my 20s and 30s. Of course, at that time, as a musician, (a drummer), I seemed to get enough exercise just carrying equipment up and down flights of stairs – so I was mainly using a more natural form of exercise anyway!
I also came to realise that what my body needed now having touched 60, was not the same as it had been some 30 or 40 years before, and this led to my research into healthy ageing.
So when I heard about Erwan and his MovNat system, it seemed to tick a few boxes for me.
I first heard about Erwan and his MovNat system back in early 2019, as he started to promote his book – The Practice of Natural Movement.
Everything he was saying about his system, and his reasons for starting MovNat just seemed to resonate with me.
These included information about our general mobility at all ages, and making use of our surroundings, like chairs and tables at home – or benches, tree stumps and rocks in local parks, forests or any other natural area.
I believe he first started to research his system in 2004, and by 2008 was holding small workshops in the USA, teaching the techniques – squats to sitting and then standing, side and forward rolls, crawls etc.
So what is MovNat? Here’s Erwan’s own definition.
‘MovNat is a fitness and physical education system based on a full range of natural human movement skills. The movement system trains physical competence for practical performance. MovNat aims at effectiveness, efficiency and adaptability.’
Basically – it helps us to get back to all those movements we should take for granted, (like getting up from the floor or a chair if sitting or kneeling for instance) but often can’t or don’t achieve, certainly as our bodies age.
Within his system, he now has training at three levels, and each of these has the possibility of a certification course.
The first level covers the basic movements, some climbing, some balance movements and some diaphragmatic breathing.
This is the level I have concentrated on during the last five or six months, as these are the things I wanted to focus on… mobility, strengthening and balance.
I am certainly enjoying incorporating these movements into my weekly routines and starting to see and feel improvements in my abilities.
I’m also loving going out into the forest – to balance on fallen tree branches, and using sturdy ones for pull-ups and climbing skills. It’s also been fun sharing some movements with friends and clients.
I certainly intend to look into the certification at this first level, so will hopefully pop back again, and let you all know once I’m certified!
For anyone interested in looking into MovNat there are some good free resources on the website. A beginner’s ebook and a weekly series of exercises called MAPS (MovNat Adaptive Practice Sessions).
You can find more details here