5 ways to set up a successful outdoor movement practice
Yes it can be hard to get your movement practice set up outdoors….
But let’s look at it another way.
Stack your life with movement nourishment
Once you have an outside practice set up, all of a sudden you’re stacking your life with so much more benefits! Done right, your natural movement practice gives you the benefits of not just physical fitness and movement skill development, it also gives you time in nature and a deep connection with your training practice.
An outdoor movement practice gives you…
- Exposure to the sun, which is important for mood regulation, hormonal health, stress reduction, and sleep quality.
- Exposure to beneficial microbes that improve your immune function and elevate your mood.
- It gives you the chance to encounter wild animals, gaze upon beautiful vistas and get up close and personal with trees, rocks, water, and wildflowers. I regularly see bald eagles, osprey, woodpeckers, sharp shinned hawks, harbor seals, and sometimes even river otters and coyotes during my training. This is a huge highlight of natural movement practice that is often overlooked.
- If you can bring other people into your training practice, you have layered in positive social engagement which is something we all need. You will feel a deeper sense of connection and tribe with those partners through exploring nature and roughhousing together, more than any training in the gym is ever likely to give you.
Keep all those benefits in mind as you start up your natural movement practice.
So, how do you actually get started? First, make a plan to to stick to the natural movement practice.
Five key ways to start and stick with your outdoor practice
- Start by committing to six weeks of training outdoors; at least once a week and preferably twice, one day to explore and one day to revisit an old site
- Open Google Maps or another mapping site, and pick out all the local parks nearby that are likely to have good trees, rocks and other elements for natural movement. Plan to visit a new park every week for the next six weeks.
- Keep a journal of how you feel and what you learn after each session.
- Invite as many friends as you can to join you. Recruit friends to train with you. See if there is anyone else in your area on the Evolve Move Play Facebook group, or look for other movement groups like parkour, rock climbing, etc., where people might be willing to go out and train with you.
- When you train, be sure to get into a tree, get on top of a rock, or jump over something every time you go out. You won’t see what is possible in the environment until you start interacting with it regularly. The trees in your local park may not look as perfect as the ones you saw in a video or shared by others, but climb anyway and see what you find. You’ll slowly build up a vision for how to move in your own native natural environment, and the world will become more and more enriched with movement potentials!
Once you have established your outdoor practice, you’re going to be gaining so much more from your movement, the gym will always be there as a back up or means towards specific goals, but you may well find it is hard to to want to go back!