Are You a Zoo Human?

by Ryan McGowan –  Warwick, RI

Years ago I was working at a fitness center when I noticed a man wearing sunglasses while walking on a treadmill. It was a perfect late spring day and the sun shined brightly through large windows onto the man’s face. I thought to myself, “It’s almost as if he’s actually walking outside!”  Now that’s a healthy concept!

Let’s take a look at our typical 2014 routine: We rise and eventually operate our vehicles to work, where we sit and operate electronic devices in an artificial space with other members of our species. Since we’re “health nuts,” we take our vehicles to the fitness center after clocking out, and we sit and operate machinery in an artificial space with other members of our species.

To fuel all of this activity, we eat who knows what from who knows where as long as it’s cheap and convenient.  Hmmm…

Sure, there are pros to the captive lifestyle (i.e. comfort, easy access food, etc.), but can we thrive?  We talk about how  we used to play until the street lights came on when we were kids, as if it’s exclusively for the young.  This summer, let’s get back in touch with our wild side!

Here are 9 ways to thrive like a wild animal:

  • Get some sun – not too much, and research that sunscreen before slathering it all over yourself.
  • Play in the rain – gear up, you’ll be fine!
  • Move naturally – improve your body’s proficiency by crawling, climbing, running, jumping, balancing, and swimming.  Improved fitness is a benefit of this training.
  • Manipulate awkward objects – lift, carry, and throw logs, rocks, people, etc.  It’s way more challenging than equipment with smooth surfaces or handles.
  • Avoid pavement – we have many miles of trails and sandy beaches in our beautiful state. Now is the time to explore them!
  • Shift gears – spend some time walking, cruising, and accelerating. If you’re feeling fresh, sprinting is extremely effective and useful if you’re being chased or chasing something.
  • Go farm to table – as you read last month, we have awesome farmers markets. Try to get all of your food locally, or, better yet, grow/raise/hunt your own!
  • Improvise – leave the journal at home and forget about programming your workout. Challenge yourself intermittently.  If you’re having a good day, then push it; if not, then just go easy.
  • Make love (responsibly)!
  • Bonus activities: cool/cold water bathing, barefooting, fasting, shelter building, safely starting fires, etc.

See you out there, wild ones!

Ryan McGowan is a former engineer and ironman who left the commercial construction industry to pursue his passion of helping people become healthier and more adventurous. He is currently Rhode Island’s only certified MovNat trainer and implements a minimalist approach to fitness with more of a focus on movement skill and play. His company, Laid-back Fitness, is located in Warwick and is a combination of a fitness center and playground.

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