Sometimes life can feel like one massive long stress. We wake up first thing in the morning to a loud alarm that startles us out of deep sleep, then we make our way to work – in a rush – on a crowded bus/road or train. After that we will drink a big coffee, you know, because we’re not wired enough already. Then we’ll sit at a desk for hours in the same position possibly while getting shouted at by a boss or an angry client.
After that, we’ll then travel home on a similarly busy and upsetting commute and then have a long list of things we need to do at home. These include: tidying, phoning relatives, sorting out bills, cooking, washing up…
Then we collapse in a heap on the sofa and watch rubbish TV because we’re too tired for anything else, while flooding our brains with cortisol in the form of unnatural light from the television.
Is it any wonder that we’re always looking for stress relievers?
As you can see, the modern lifestyle is unfortunately 100% conducive to living in a state of constant stress and it’s almost impossible to break this cycle without making some major changes.
So what then could be the answer?
One option, and possibly one of the best stress relievers ever made, could be ‘MovNat’.
What Is MovNat?
MovNat is a portmanteau for ‘Movement Natural’ or in other words, natural movement.
The tagline for this movement is ‘the workout that time forgot’ and if you take a look on YouTube you’ll be able to find many videos demonstrating what it’s all about.
Basically, MovNat is all about running through the woods, climbing trees and leaping into rivers. It’s about balancing along logs, jumping across gaps and throwing stones.
In other words, it’s about moving the way that we might naturally in the wild and turning that into a workout.
It could not only be one of the best stress relievers but also the perfect antidote to our modern lifestyles.
Why the Modern Lifestyle Causes Stress
There is nothing wrong with the way we live life currently. It is not ‘wrong’ because really there is no such thing as a ‘right’ way to live life. It’s all arbitrary and it’s all about doing what works for you.
That said, our bodies evolved in a natural environment and are thus adapted specifically to thrive within that environment. The problem therefore comes when we take ourselves out of that environment and when we stop moving, stop getting fresh air, stop getting natural light and subject ourselves to ongoing stress.
Stress in itself is not even a ‘bad thing’, it is simply out of context. In the wild, stress was what would enable us to be more alert and aware of our environment and it’s what let us perform optimally in a hurry.
And the fact that we aren’t moving enough only further compounds stress as it causes us to gain weight, develop aches and pains, become stiff and become tired and lethargic. If you don’t use your body, then you lose it – it’s that simple.
We already know though that exercise helps to make us happier by causing us to produce serotonin (the happiness hormone). This is what causes the ‘runners’ high’. We also know that fresh air helps us to feel happier. Likewise, being in natural environments has been shown to help us feel calmer.
What’s more, doing something physical outdoors is free and it takes your mind off your various stresses.
MovNat combines all these things – it keeps you in great physical shape, it encourages you to get fresh air and sunlight so you’ll sleep better and produce more vitamin D, it gets you moving and working out… in general it is the perfect storm for improving your health and your mood.
How to Embrace MovNat
So how do you embrace MovNat and make it a part of your lifestyle? Especially if you’re looking for stress relievers?
The unfortunate reality is that it’s not quite as easy to get outside and to start exercising in the woods as some videos would have us believe.
For many of us, the weather is a limiting factor here for example. If you live somewhere where it’s cold and wet all the time then those idealistic videos of people leaping shirtless into the sea won’t quite be accurate for you.
At the same time, many people struggle to fit exercise into their regime as it is: nevertheless constant and ongoing activity as MovNat advocates. If you’re already tired and stressed are you really going to want to go out in the rain and start throwing logs around at night. Won’t you just… get murdered?
And do you have to become a certified MovNat member if you’re interested?
The answer to that last question is ‘no’. The MovNat movement is doing exciting things by promoting this way of life and has done a lot of good for the fitness industry already.
That said, they also didn’t ‘invent’ the art of running around in the woods. Nor is this the only way to do it.
Ignore the precise instructions and the community and focus on the message. That message is that we need to make sure we are exercising regularly, getting outdoors, staying flexible and having fun with our bodies. It means we need to remember that all it takes is our body and a log to have a good time and a great workout.
If you don’t have the time or inclination to explore the wet woods then similar stress relievers can work in the same way. For instance, why not play some swing ball in your garden? Or ‘tag’ with your kids? Why not take your dog for a walk and race them? Or try some trail running? Or some sports? And next time you need to go to the shops, why not run and take the scenic route?
You can incorporate all these same ideas of staying active and outdoors without necessarily needing MovNat. The message is that getting back to basics is often the answer and physical exercise outdoors is perhaps one of the best stress relievers there is.