Natural movement versus movement designed with a very specific outcome in mind 

There’s an entire cottage industry dedicated to teaching humans to move as intended or they were built to move. 

But this begs the question:

Is there an optimal way to move? What is the opposite of natural movement ? Is it contrived movement ? Or is it no movement at all? 


What is movement might be the mother of open ended questions that can go in many directions. 

So instead let’s stick with why move? 

The simplest answer would be to get things done. 

What needs to get done? For a good chunk of our history, we moved for food, shelter, mating, finding a mate, protecting food and shelter, find and killing/harvesting food and not dying were the main motivators. 

The environment required us to move to survive. And safe to assume it was random movement. Bending, rolling, climbing, throwing, walking, running and carrying would have been among the things we did. 

We did not live for very long. But we moved a whole lot for basic necessities as long as we were around.

Symmetry, optimal body composition, longevity or muscle mass were not why we moved. 

Now that we don’t have to move as much for those things, what does our environment demand of us?


Movement is whatever our environment and our definition of surviving and thriving needs it to be. 

In that sense, there really isn’t a category called natural movement. There is just movement you are capable of performing. And movement your environment forces you to engage in. 

Our environment now demands our joints last for many more decades than our ancestors. 

Our ancestors had an environment that demanded mobile and strong joints that could help them survive. And what they did to survive gave them mobile and strong joints. 

Our modern environment provides no such stimulus. Yet we need mobile and strong joints to live what we think of as a quality existence. 

So we have to simulate an environment that forces us to use our joints and muscles to move. 

Have we removed all the random movement that we would perform as we reacted to a dynamic environment full of predators and competition? 

Sure. We do make rather safe, controlled and sanitised choices when it comes to exercise and training. We reduce risk and randomness. Often to a counterproductive degree for our mental and physical well being. 

But that’s only when we overly narrow down our toolbox and choice of exercises. 

Training is best thought of as a substitute for all the movement our environment would ideally have us do. But does not. 

You throw, jump, carry, squat, push, pull, drop and roll in awe of all your ancestors did to survive, but you now do for fun and to thrive.

Mindful movement