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Movnat®: the perfect fitness practice when you have kids?

When you have kids, your life changes in many ways, some universal and some specific to your family and lifestyle. Among the changes that seem universal though, are the following two:

  • you have much less time for yourself than ever before
  • your priorities shift from what is best for you to what is best for your kids

For both reasons, Movnat (primer here) becomes even more attractive as a fitness practice if you are a parent because it allows you to train even with less personal time and it makes your kids much more likely to be physically active as well.

For you as a parent: you can train more than with other approaches

You can train Movnat with your kids around

No matter their age(s), you can practice Movnat even if your kids are close by and you are the parent who watches over them. You can do that indoors at home, outdoors in nature or playgrounds, etc. Movnat doesn’t need heavy or dangerous gym equipment and you don’t need to be in a gym—though you can certainly practice Movnat in gyms, there are many licneed Movnat gyms!

So all the time you are the primary carer for your kids and need to, at least, watch over them, you can still train without danger to them. That’s the not case for all fitness practices, far from it.

You can train—nearly—anytime, anywhere

Movnat can be practiced indoors, at home or in the gym; and outdoors, in natural or urban environments. And since you don’t need any specific gym equipment but can improvise with what you have accessible in your environment, this makes it much easier for you to train with enough training volume once you have kids and your personal time dramatically decreases. You can still attend gym classes for example, but this becomes trickier with a newborn or toddler to care for. So you can complement the fewer gym sessions you get by training at home or outside the same you’re learning in the gym.

Movnat gives you that very precious flexibility.

Benefit for you as parent: much more flexibility

This flexibility to train anywhere and even while looking after your kids gives you unparalleled flexibility to keep or increase your training volume even as your personal time decreases with kids in the picture.

For your kids: a healthy habit of physical activity for life

Kids learn a lot by imitation and their strongest role-model are their parents of course. They will naturally want to imitate you and in that way, you shape the habits they are developing over their childhood. As Erwan Le Corre (founder of Movnat) puts it in his book on Natural Movement:

“The number-one reason why some children lose their instinctual drive to move the way they’re naturally designed to isn’t just the lack of example of healthy, vibrant adults—or other children—who are physically active daily, but the ubiquitous presence of the exact opposite example: adults and/or other children who limit themselves to standing up and walking a few steps to the next seat.

Next to the strength of instinct, mimicry is the most potent behavioral instinct that shapes who we become. (As the saying goes, monkey see, monkey do.) This is because humans are highly intelligent, social animals who learn a lot through direct observation of older humans. If a young child’s adult role models for movement behavior provide poor examples, it is likely that the child’s movement behavior will not be as “rich” as it should be.”

What’s critical about these habits is that they are incredibly sticky and will persist to a great extent in adulthood.

So if your kids develop a habit of having a regular physical activity, they will have a lifelong advantage for heir health (and happiness, we can argue!). Movnat as a fitness method practiced by parents really maximizes this role-model effect.

They see you train

First, since you can train with them around, they are exposed to your role model when you train. Essentially, when you train in front of your kids, you’re training two generations at once because the next thing your kids will want to do is train.

If you train exclusively away in a non-kid-friendly gym environment, then they never see you train and do not benefit from your positive role-modeling.

They see you incorporate physical activity in your daily life

Movnat’s influence on your kids goes further than just your structured training periods however. With most standard fitness methods, fitness is limited to your workouts. Movnat advocates an approach where workouts are important but incorporating a variety of movements throughout your day is as important. so when you practice Movnat, you naturally tend to start incorporating exercising in your daily life. You carry more things in your arms rather than use strollers, cars or other equipments. You walk more, balance and jump while you walk outside, etc.

And since your kids will be with you in many of these occasions, again they see you move, and they imitate you, thereby creating a virtuous cycle of habit building.

This is even further reinforced by the practical nature of the techniques learnt in Movnat, which lend themselves to many uses. Need to move a heavy object? You’ve learnt how so you just do it. Need to help another person move because they injured themselves? You can carry them over short distances because you’ve learnt how, etc.

So not only are your kids exposed to movement, good techniques an physical activity when they see you train, they become increasingly exposed to it as part of a normal day.

They want—and can—imitate you

The last point I want to make is that Movnat is, by design, fun, attractive and accessible for all kids. you don’t have to push: mere exposure will get them to practice it and get their physical activity in.

The movements repertoire used in Movnat follows closely the movements naturally required by an early Homo Sapiens lifestyle (hunter-gatherer model). Nearly all of these movements are instinctual for us and part of the normal developmental growth for our children. Jumping, crawling, climbing, etc. is universally enjoyed by kids of all origins. And not only do they want to do these moves, they can do them without much help or assistance. So they can readily imitate you. And like their parents, they can also train anytime, anywhere, without required equipment.

This seems obvious and trivial but is really unique among modern fitness approaches. Think about Crossfit for example, which is a method that Movnat is often compared to. First, olympic lifting is an integral part of it, yet nobody makes kids learn olympic lifting because it’s not appealing to them and is even dangerous at those ages. Second, they may be interested in other Crossfit moves that are more adapted to their age, but they would still need to learn the technique required for these moves AND to find themselves in a location that has the necessary equipment.

You might be interested in...

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Our specie, Homo Sapiens, appeared around 300.000 ago. What are the implications for our health today?

Is “natural” always beneficial for our health?

Daily physical activities of the evolutionary lifestyle

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