Do you remember throwing rocks into a pond, climbing trees or balancing on a fallen log as a kid? Those are some basic movement skills that many adults have forgotten over the years. MovNat is reintroducing them.
Erwan Le Corre is the creator of MovNat, a health and fitness discipline that reconnects you with the ways your body moves naturally.
“It encompasses the skills of breathing, ground movement, walking, running, jumping, vaulting, balancing, crawling, climbing, swimming, (and related aquatic skills), lifting, carrying, throwing, catching, and self-defense skills such as striking and grappling,” Le Corre says. “You don’t have to be fit to move, you have to move to be fit.”
Le Corre developed the concept for MovNat in 2008 and it has been growing in popularity ever since. IMPACT Editor Brenda Drew recently spoke with Erwan to find out more about this unique approach to fitness.
Q&A with Erwan
How did you come up with the idea for MovNat?
“It’s a long story, which I describe at the beginning of my book The Practice of Natural Movement. When I was a kid, the house was right by woody hills scattered with large boulders; that was our preferred playground, so I organically had tons of natural movement practice growing up.”
Did you continue this kind of physical activity as you grew up?
“As a young adult I trained in Paris with a small group, led by a larger-than-life character with unusual views back then on the meaning of a ‘healthy’ lifestyle; we’d jump from roof to roof, scale bridges, balance from heights, run barefoot in the woods and the city and immerse in freezing waters. We could say it was extreme, but it taught me a lot.”
Did you take up any other sports?
“I practiced a variety of ‘practical’ sports such as rock climbing, trail running, martial arts, Olympic lifting, and free diving. In my mid-30’s, I studied the history of physical education and resumed a varied and complete training of my body. The MovNat method is a synthesis of it all, though it is mostly an optimized reminiscence of ancient ways of physical training.”
What are some of the benefits of MovNat?
“The list of benefits is truly phenomenal, the main reason being that you will be moving in many diverse natural ways such as ground movements, get-ups, balancing, stepping, running, jumping, vaulting and landing, hanging and climbing, lifting and carrying and so forth, which is in itself a complete workout. You’ll learn many techniques that make your moves efficient. They will make you agile and strong physically, and mentally energetic and confident in your body. All of this carries over to your day-to-day life.”
Can anyone do MovNat?
“The method adapts to your individual abilities, which always keeps it challenging yet safe, and, most importantly, enjoyable. One of the reasons it is so enticing has to do with the variety but also the useful aspect of the movements you do. In addition, you don’t need gear. However you’ve got to interact with and adapt to diverse props and surfaces that are basically simplified, safe versions of the kind of obstacles you find in the wild.
“Many people have reported significant improvements in physiological ailments, [by practicing MovNat.] This may explain why so many healthcare practitioners learn MovNat and teach particular drills to their patients.”
Do you see MovNat as a way of life rather than an exercise program?
“Natural movement is a lifestyle, not just a workout, as everything is connected. We encourage people to move more during the day, to [get quality] sleep, to eat as naturally as possible (unprocessed, local, seasonal), and to spend more time in nature. All of these … are scientifically proven to support good physical and mental health.”