By Chris Pregony

Researchers often look to nature to help improve the human experience. Even the basic principles of flight were found from birds. Throughout human history we have used the world around us to enhance our abilities. So why not turn to nature for exercise? The far east has used animals in developing martial arts for centuries. Fighting styles such as the monkey, tiger or praying mantis just to name a few. If you have ever taken a yoga class, one of the core exercises is downward dog, a pose that mimics the way a dog stretches. Yoga is riddled with poses named after animals. In more traditional exercise routines we see the bear crawl, crab walk or frog jump. There are classes that operate purely around the animal movement concept. Most of these classes go by the name “primal flow.” One of the more interesting companies I found while doing research on the subject is “VAHVA,” which is Finnish for “Strong, able-bodied and powerful. Both physically and mentally. The two owners Samuli and Eero founded the company back in 2015. They are truly remarkable from a movement standpoint. They have several different YouTube videos that will blow your mind. They move just like animals, almost better! They created an entire program centered around animal movement.

So why would we want to move like an animal? We rose to the top of the food chain because of our brains not our body. When you think of our human development, many of the modern- day conveniences that we enjoy are relatively new. We were made to move in a variety of ways. This type of exercise helps develop core strength, as well as many of the intrinsic muscles that get neglected with traditional exercise. You will be sore in places that you never knew existed. Millions of Americans suffer from back pain. This is typically due to a weak core and pelvic muscles, which is further connected to poor posture. Yoga, Pilates, and primal movement all can help build your muscles to help reduce back pain and get you in great shape! So next time you are thinking of trying a new exercise, let your inner animal roar!

FROG JUMPS:

Stand with your feet slightly pointed outward and just outside of your shoulders. Squat down to where you glute almost hits the ground. Generate enough force to jump slightly off the ground, as you land go back in to the squat.

 

BEAR CRAWL:

Start by kneeling with your hands on the ground. Put weight on your hands and feet until you are up on just your hands and feet. Walk one hand forward followed by the opposite leg, repeat this as you cover ground.

CRAB WALK:

Start by sitting on the ground. Raise your glute off the floor using your legs and hands to hold yourself up. Begin to walk your body forward or backward while using just your hands and feet.