MovNat and the Mature Athlete
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At the age of 51, I jump out of bed every morning and I can’t wait to get to the gym or park to train, move, and enjoy all the physical activity my body can do. So it caught me off guard recently when someone referred to me as a mature athlete? Me? I train and teach MovNat and kettlebells - and I can keep up with the young ‘uns. (If you're not familiar with MovNat, read this explanation from founder Erwan Le Corre.)
But for many of us, staying healthy, injury-free, and highly physically active becomes more challenging as we move into our forties and beyond. Prior injuries, everyday aches and pains, hours of desk-sitting, work/family/life stress, and health issues that sometimes sneak up on us due to heredity, or a breakdown in our daily self-care, mean we might have to adjust our fitness programming to feel better, move better, and perform better.
So how do we use MovNat to get better each year? There is no one way of course, but in my experience teaching MovNat to trainees of all ages and athletic abilities, I have found that using a consistent and instinctual training approach builds resiliency and keeps the mature athlete progressing and even reaching new strength and conditioning goals.
MovNat is not necessarily something to quantify, but rather it's about learning to tune into your natural instincts. We could quantify how we train, but at MovNat Ohio, we encourage experimenting with fitness freedom - taking a break from the traditional approach of focusing on WODs, reps, and sets and instead tuning in to how the body is moving, your mindset that day, how well you are adapting to the environment, and how your body is responding to the movement - and adjusting the intensity accordingly.
Sample MovNat Combo
Here is a taste of a MovNat combo (combination of movements) that one of my groups enjoyed recently in a small wooded area along the river:
- Run the hill (using the MovNat efficient running technique)
- Balance the 100-yard curb carrying a kettlebell or sandbag
- Climb on a low, horizontal branch (techniques vary based on your fitness level)
- Jump the creek using the leg swing jump or broad jump
- Clean and press a fallen log
- Climb over a large rock with a sandbag on shoulder or with a chest hold
Repeat a few times depending on the training goals and the fitness level of group. Keep focus on the movement and scale the conditioning to the fitness level of the group.
Here's another example of a beginner combo workout. For more videos click here.
MovNat Benefits for the Mature Athlete
Here are a few key points about MovNat that make it an ideal training program for the mature athlete:
Become a Really Good Mover
Moving with confidence, grace, and mindfulness is a thing of beauty. No matter how much lifting you do in the gym, or the number of marathons or triathlons you’ve completed, I promise you that MovNat training will give you a new perspective of conditioning that will up your endurance and explosiveness, and most importantly, it will get you excited about training. Are you in rehab mode? MovNat is also great for you with gentle, yet impactful movements, such as the supine and prone foot-hand crawl and unique ground-based movements and stretching.
Develop Mental Toughness (Nature + Training = Unpredictable)
Sharpen your mind and your senses by moving and conditioning in a changing environment - where what you jump on, run and walk on, and climb can change - requiring you to adapt to your environment and think about your movement strategy. MovNat trainees tell us it’s invigorating and it doesn’t feel like work as they concentrate on the movement and adapt to the conditions presented in the park or woods. The beauty of MovNat for the mature athlete is that it is mind stimulating without a high risk-to-danger ratio. Safety is primary in MovNat, and knowing you are moving with safe and efficient form allows you to tackle the physical challenges with confidence.
Increase Mobility, Stability, Flexibility and Strength
It is amazing to see how moving well and learning to engage certain muscles to master the movements can result in increased mobility, decreased pain, strengthening of stabilizing muscles, and improved flexibility. Here are some testimonials from some MovNat trainees in a four-week class (eight sessions). Through efficient and progressive movements, they began activating muscles they hadn’t been using and feeling good again:
“I had been having problems with my lower back and hip and the MovNat stretching has been so beneficial.”
“I have noticed an increase in flexibility and balance since the MovNat class.”
“At the age of 52, my alignment is off, and I want to build some strength and muscle - and I am able to work on all of this with this class. I was able to take some of the exercises home to do them with my spouse.”
“The MovNat experience has improved my flexibility tremendously. I’m able to touch my toes and my hamstrings are no longer as tight. The focus on using my core has increased my range, strength and overall mobility. I have suggested this class to my co-workers.”
Balance the Body
MovNat balance cues focus on mindfulness, good posture, and diaphragmatic breathing yield nearly immediate improvements in balance. We teach how (and when) to relax and tense certain body parts and how (and when) to shift and distribute body weight.
Training Outdoors with Elements of Play
Don’t get me wrong, we can notch MovNat up or down for the elite athlete or the beginner. No matter where you are on the fitness intensity spectrum, training outdoors increases the enjoyment factor. Being in nature is revitalizing, stimulating, and freeing. Savoring that is important. I also add an element of play to each training session. We may be working on our running or climbing, but I will throw in a small jump challenge on a log or over the creek, or some exploratory walk or run down the river shore - which is why I like to call this a movement and conditioning session instead of a workout.
The MovNat Lifestyle
At any age, small lifestyle changes can make a big difference in how we manage daily stress. Eating whole and natural foods, tuning into when we are actually hungry, paying attention to how much sleep we need to recover and feel good the next day, socializing, getting outdoors, and simplifying what we do and how we do it are part of the MovNat lifestyle that helps athletes of all ages stay active, happy, and vitally involved in life.
Learn more about MovNat on the main website and explore your true nature.