๐—ฅ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ด๐—ต๐—ต๐—ผ๐˜‚๐˜€๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด + ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ด๐—ต ๐—ฝ๐—น๐—ฎ๐˜† ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ฟ ๐—ธ๐—ถ๐—ฑ๐˜€

Roughhousing. Horseplay. Wrastling. Whatever you call it, itโ€™s one of the best things about being a dad or uncle. I’ve always loved chasing the niece and nephews around the house or yard, picking them up and putting them on my shoulder to run around, shoving each other, wrestling on the ground.. I especially like doing it with the kids I work with. I enjoyed doing it with my dad and siblings as a kid, I now see the benefits it had on us and see how much fun kids I do it with have. They absolutely love it!

Unfortunately, in recent years, roughhousing and rough play in general has gotten a bad rap and is often avoided in the family home and in schools. Parents, concerned about safety and preventing ADHD, limit the amount of rambunctious play their kids participate in, and it’s certainly not acceptable behaviour in schools.

“Research has shown that roughhousing serves an evolutionary purpose and actually provides a myriad of benefits for our progeny. In their book The Art of Roughhousing, Anthony DeBenedet and Larry Cohen highlight a few of these benefits and the research behind them. Instead of teaching kids to be violent and impulsive, DeBenedet and Cohen boldly claim that roughhousing โ€œmakes kids smart, emotionally intelligent, lovable and likable, ethical, physically fit, and joyful.โ€ In short, roughhousing makes your kid awesome.”


๐—ช๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜ ๐—ถ๐˜€ ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ด๐—ต๐—ต๐—ผ๐˜‚๐˜€๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด + ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ด๐—ต ๐—ฝ๐—น๐—ฎ๐˜†?

Roughhousing and rough-and-tumble play are when children do things like climb over each other and other people, they wrestle, roll around and even play fight.

Rough play is a basic human instinct that helps children develop many skills โ€“ but mostly children like this kind of play because itโ€™s fun!

I roughhouse a lot with my nephews (my niece and I used to, but she’s in high school now so that’s not her ‘thing’ anymore lol) and with some kids I work with. As an adult who’s stronger and smarter (I think?!) I can regulate and moderate the rough play to keep it as safe as possible while allowing as much benefit as possible. This isn’t so easy for parents today because it’s really a dying practice in modern households, often a male isn’t around often to do it confidently with kids, and kids today have more challenges in terms of ASD sensitivities and behavioural issues.

But we need to bring back rough play for kids, it needs to be a normal part of growing up again, not just for boys and dads/uncles but for girls and even mums!


๐—ง๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐—ณ๐—ถ๐˜๐˜€ ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ด๐—ต๐—ต๐—ผ๐˜‚๐˜€๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด + ๐—ฝ๐—น๐—ฎ๐˜† ๐—ณ๐—ถ๐—ด๐—ต๐˜๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ฟ ๐—ธ๐—ถ๐—ฑ๐˜€

There’s a story further down of a really wonderful example but generally I see incredible benefit with the kids I rough house with; physically for sure but emotionally more so. The confidence they get from it is incredible.
Here are some expert reasons why rough play is so good for kids…

“Roughhousing is essential for kids. Laughter transforms the body chemistry to reduce stress hormones and reduce anxiety. Laughter creates more oxytocin, the bonding hormone, so when children laugh with another person, it strengthens that relationship. Physical movement helps work out emotion and is essential for brain development.
Roughhousing even builds self esteem, as children experience their own physical strength — especially for kids who are less assertive, or smaller than other kids their age.

And like other young mammals, when kids “play” fight, they learn to manage aggression, which makes them less likely to lash out when they’re angry. ” – Aha! Parenting

And benefits listed on the Essential Kids website include:

“Physical play teaches kids about morality, right and wrong, and following rules. Roughhousing helps kids learn to take risks and boosts resilience.

Roughhousing makes kids smarter.

Physical play builds children’s – especially girls’ – confidence, assertiveness, academic achievement, and increases the chances that they’ll stand up for their friends.

Roughhousing is great exercise.

Lack of rough-and-tumble play is associated with negative developmental, emotional, and physical problems”

๐˜ฟ๐™ค ๐™ฎ๐™ค๐™ช๐™ง ๐™ ๐™ž๐™™๐™จ ๐™ง๐™ค๐™ช๐™œ๐™ ๐™๐™ค๐™ช๐™จ๐™š?

๐—–๐—ต๐—ฎ๐—น๐—น๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ด๐—ฒ๐˜€ ๐—ฝ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜๐˜€ + ๐—ธ๐—ถ๐—ฑ๐˜€ ๐—ณ๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐—ฒ ๐˜„๐—ถ๐˜๐—ต ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ด๐—ต ๐—ต๐—ผ๐˜‚๐˜€๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด

Will letting my kids play fight lead to violent acts later in life?

What if they really hurt each other?

I’m a single mum, I just don’t know how to rough house with my kids.

And if I do, what if they hurt me?

My child doesn’t want to do any form of rough play even though I encourage it.

If my kids wrestle at home will they be likely to try it with other kids unsafely?

My child is on the spectrum and doesn’t have the same level of empathy and social understanding as many other kids.

My child on the spectrum isn’t as confident or physically developed as many other kids, how can rough play be good for them? Or how do I get them into it safely?

There’s no male around to rough house with my kids.

…….

These are some of many common questions, concerns and challenges parents today face with the concept of rough play for kids. I work with ASD children at varying levels of physical ability, emotional awareness and energy levels. I notice a lot of them get over energetic when we play and wrestle and don’t want to stop, some are just not confident initially and need a lot of support and guidance to help them become comfortable giving it a go, some are low in energy and fitness and give it a go but tire out really quickly, others just have very limited understanding of how to do it but are keen to try.

Many families today are split so dad-time is limited, the men in kids’ lives simply don’t rough plat or there just isn’t a male role model around to do the rougher type play with kids. It’s not natural for mums and other older female family members to rough play; they might have done it when they were kids but it’s not a natural instinct as women age. It’s traditionally and genetically not the main role of women either, it’s generally ‘men’s business’. But not so much today.

๐™‡๐™š๐™ฉ ๐™ข๐™š ๐™ ๐™ฃ๐™ค๐™ฌ ๐™ฌ๐™๐™–๐™ฉ ๐™ฎ๐™ค๐™ช๐™ง ๐™—๐™ž๐™œ๐™œ๐™š๐™จ๐™ฉ ๐™˜๐™๐™–๐™ก๐™ก๐™š๐™ฃ๐™œ๐™š๐™จ ๐™–๐™ง๐™š ๐™ฌ๐™ž๐™ฉ๐™ ๐™œ๐™š๐™ฉ๐™ฉ๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ ๐™ค๐™ง ๐™ก๐™š๐™ฉ๐™ฉ๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ ๐™ฎ๐™ค๐™ช๐™ง ๐™ ๐™ž๐™™๐™จ ๐™ฉ๐™ค ๐™ง๐™ค๐™ช๐™œ๐™ ๐™๐™ค๐™ช๐™จ๐™š.


๐—œ ๐—น๐—ผ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ ๐˜๐—ฒ๐—น๐—น๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐˜๐—ต๐—ถ๐˜€ ๐˜€๐˜๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐˜† about confidence

This isn’t the day it happened but the girl in the photo, Grace, came to my first ever kids class maaaaany years ago, all shy and quiet. I hadn’t met her before and didn’t know she had low confidence and self-esteem, and often felt overpowered by her older sister.

During class we played one of my favourite roughplay games Bull in the Ring where I drew a circle in the sand and everyone jumped in and had to try and push each other out, to be the last one inside the ring. Pushing, shoving, pulling, by whatever means necessary (with obvious safety rules and guidance of course!). It was a lot of fun.

A couple years later, when these photos were taken, Grace’s mum was chatting to Aimee while I played Hip Tiggy with Grace and mentioned how when she got home after that first kids class she was “like a different kid” with an air of confidence about her her parents hadn’t seen before.

Aimee was amazed and told me about it later. I remembered the class and the game of Bull in the Ring and how I had ensured Grace actually won a couple of games against me and other kids to try and make her feel good about herself. And it apparently worked and had a long-lasting effect!

Being an adult who can easily steer a roughplay session and who wins and loses is very handy. It can help the over-cocky kids learn that losing is part of life and that they can cope when they lose. And helps super shy and low confidence kids realise their potential and feel good about themselves and their abilities.

It’s something I’m very aware of with every child I work with, 1;1 or in group situations and it’s something parents and educators can be aware of and utilise when appropriate.

Do you have a shy child who could benefit from a rough play win?


๐—š๐—ถ๐—ฟ๐—น๐˜€ (+ ๐˜„๐—ผ๐—บ๐—ฒ๐—ป!) ๐—ฐ๐—ฎ๐—ป ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ด๐—ต ๐—ต๐—ผ๐˜‚๐˜€๐—ฒ ๐˜๐—ผ๐—ผ!

From Aimee:

Here’s a story about me (Aimee) and rough play. I didn’t really do it as a kid. An only-child, dad not around much, more into playing with my Barbies than wrestling. I ended up becoming a bit of a wuss to be honest with you, and I’m not ashamed to say it but I know I’d have been a lot less of a princess if I’d had more rough-and-tumble-play as a kid.
When Clint got into MovNat and play it included wrestling and he eventually got me into it. I could really see what a baby I was that’s for sure! But it helped ‘toughen’ me up. It also became a really enjoyable way of ‘exercising’, another huge bonus! Just the other day we wrestled a bit before doing a movement workout at the park and I laughed so hard the entire time, even though Clint beats me 99.9% of the time! And when I win it’s cos he lets me haha.

But I don’t mind. I find I’m more determined to try harder to TRY and beat him, I get banged and bruised but I don’t mind, I feel more resilient and confident in myself, I have to use my brain, rough housing really is an incredibly beneficial activity!


So if you have daughters please encourage them to rough house and wrestle, with other girls or with boys, with you even! If you’re a mum I encourage you to wrestle a bit with your kids, there are so many games you can play that aren’t flat out wrestling but still rough enough to get the benefits and have some fun.


King of the Beam, Sternum Tag, Bull in the Ring, Hip Tiggy, pillow fights, if you need more ideas ask Clint, he has heaps of rough play games up his sleeve!


๐—ฅ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ด๐—ต ๐—ฝ๐—น๐—ฎ๐˜† ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ฟ ๐—ธ๐—ถ๐—ฑ๐˜€: ๐˜€๐—ผ๐—บ๐—ฒ ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ฝ๐˜€ ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ฟ ๐—ฝ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜๐˜€

๐™‚๐™š๐™ฉ ๐™˜๐™ค๐™ข๐™›๐™ค๐™ง๐™ฉ๐™–๐™—๐™ก๐™š ๐™ฌ๐™ž๐™ฉ๐™ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™™๐™ž๐™จ๐™˜๐™ค๐™ข๐™›๐™ค๐™ง๐™ฉ
Rough housing is incredibly beneficial and important for kids of all ages, abilities and for both girls and boys. So parent, get comfortable with the idea of them being in discomfort of they want to be in it! Kids like feeling the discomfort from wrestling for many reasons and they like giving it to others for just as many reasons. If your child is keen to do it, have an open mind and a positive view on it, instead of “NO FIGHTING, EVER!”. Once you get past the discomfort of being comfortable with the whole idea of your kids play fighting you can learn how to encourage and allow it safely and positively so they can get the most out of it when they do it.

๐™Ž๐™š๐™ฉ ๐™˜๐™ก๐™š๐™–๐™ง ๐™—๐™ค๐™ช๐™ฃ๐™™๐™–๐™ง๐™ž๐™š๐™จ / ๐™ง๐™ช๐™ก๐™š๐™จ – probably the biggest one
Whether I’m working with kids or playing with my nephews I always set clear rules for rough play before it begins. My main rule is “whatever you do to me I can do to you” because so few kids these days understand, through experience, physical discomfort, their own limits and those of others. So when an adult who’s bigger and stronger can whack them back after they whack, they end up learning their own and others’ physical thresholds!

Some rules to include for kids rough housing together might be:
– no head shots
– no biting
– no intentional groin hits
– say “tap out” and if they do so, stop immediately
– rough play in a suitable place/environment only (home only, not school etc)
– always ask permission from others before starting
– only do it when an adult is present
– if one person wants to, or the adult says to stop, it’s time to stop and everyone is going to be ok with that
etc

๐™…๐™ค๐™ž๐™ฃ ๐™ž๐™ฃ
Some kids are shy, not confident in their physical abilities, or just don’t know how to do it. If you initiate it and make a game of it it can encourage shy and timid kids to have a go. You can start by mild teasing and nudging, setting goals and dares. Use your imagination and what you know about your child in terms of how they cope and react but pushing them a little outside of their emotional and physical boundaries, a bit at a time, can be hugely beneficial.

“๐™ˆ๐™ฎ ๐™ ๐™ž๐™™๐™จ ๐™ ๐™š๐™š๐™ฅ ๐™œ๐™ค๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ ๐™–๐™ฃ๐™™ ๐™™๐™ค๐™ฃ’๐™ฉ ๐™ฌ๐™–๐™ฃ๐™ฉ ๐™ฉ๐™ค ๐™จ๐™ฉ๐™ค๐™ฅ”
I find it helpful to set a time limit at the start of the rough play session with verbal agreement from all participants or, and set a “two minutes left” timer alarm then the alarm for when the time is up. If everyone knows beforehand that there’s a time limit (similar to time limits set for tech time and online gameplay), and then there’s a really clear alarm to indicate to kids when time is almost up, it helps prevent the seemingly never-ending rough play sessions!

If your kids aren’t likely to adhere to this then go the next step of creating a consequence for not stopping when time is up then stick to it.

๐™๐™š๐™–๐™ง๐™จ ๐™–๐™ง๐™š๐™ฃ’๐™ฉ ๐™ฃ๐™š๐™˜๐™š๐™จ๐™จ๐™–๐™ง๐™ž๐™ก๐™ฎ ๐™– ๐™—๐™–๐™™ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ
Of course parents don’t want to see their kids crying but tears aren’t necessarily a bad thing when it comes to rough playtime. Often, kids begin to cry when they get a big bump while roughhousing. Sometimes those tears are appropriate to the injury and your child is ready to get back into the action after a quick hug or reassurance from you.

Sometimes, though, kids cry wildly, clearly over-reacting. That’s good! It means all that laughter has loosened up some pent-up emotions and they’re using this time to let out pushed down or unprocessed feeling. After a good cry, your child will be so much more relaxed and happy, since those emotions will be released.

One of the rules for rough housing could be that if serious tears are happening that everyone needs to stop and check in on each other, and verbally agree to continue or to stop and do something else. It all comes back to getting used to continual open and clear communication and understanding.

๐˜ผ๐™Ž๐˜ฟ ๐™ ๐™ž๐™™๐™จ + ๐™ฌ๐™ง๐™š๐™จ๐™ฉ๐™ก๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ/๐™ง๐™ค๐™ช๐™œ๐™ ๐™ฅ๐™ก๐™–๐™ฎ

“Because ASD affects the development of social skills and communication skills, it can also affect the development of important play skills, like the ability to copy simple actions, explore the environment, share objects and attention with others, imagine what other people are thinking and feeling, respond to others, take turns” (Raising Children)

๐˜ ๐˜ง๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ข ๐˜ญ๐˜ฐ๐˜ต ๐˜ฐ๐˜ง ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฌ๐˜ช๐˜ฅ๐˜ด ๐˜ ๐˜ธ๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ฌ ๐˜ธ๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ฉ ๐˜ด๐˜ช๐˜ฎ๐˜ฑ๐˜ญ๐˜บ ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ’๐˜ต ๐˜ธ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ต ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ “๐˜ธ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ” so I incorporate rough-ish behaviour/actions into games and activities we already do or new ones. By using a pool noodle as a sword and linking it to a game they like that includes sword fighting, they respond well and then the play intensity can increase with how hard we hit each other, where on the body etc without it seeming so ‘rough’ to the child.

Some kids respond well to gentle ‘picking on’ communication and actions and it coaxes them into rough play, while some kids who want to wrestle and beat me up who have a hard time toning their aggression and physical intensity level down need more conversation around empathy, limits/boundaries, consequences, lots of explanation on their level and me being attentive to their level of understanding and progression. I have to adapt to each child and work with where they’re at at the time.

Even a simple game of King of the Beam can be ‘rough play’ but doesn’t seem like it and can suit a lot of kids, even the shy ones. Two people balance on a beam and try to get each other to touch the ground, whoever lasts longer is the king!

There’s no one formula for the perfect wrestle/rough play session, but thorough communication is always important

Would you rough house with your kids?



Get in touch with me if you have any questions about my experiences with roughhousing and rough play for kids


I hope this information and our perspectives and experiences help you and your family on your journey to better health and happiness! Please comment if you have any questions.

Clint

Primal Fitness Coach| Visit our website:ย Primal Influenceย | Follow us on socials:ย Facebookย +ย Instagram

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๐Ÿ‘ฃ Balance for Kids: the importance of this skill + how to help kids become better at it

Balance is like a muscle. If we donโ€™t use it we lose it. And we need to have good balance at all ages. This blog focuses on balance for kids (another post will be all about adults) from why having good balance is so important, why some kids don’t have good balance, how to get kids balancing better (including ASD kids) + more.

It’ll be a nice balanced approach… ๐Ÿ˜‰ (with hopefully a couple more puns thrown in cos puns are great! haha)

Having good balance not only helps kids physically but also emotionally. Having good balance in an indoor environment is totally different to outdoor environments, and different outdoor environments have pros and cons with balance, so there’s a few things we can dig into this week that should provide new perspectives and ideas to you guys – especially if you’re a parent or childhood worker/educator.


Why kids need good balance + what that even looks like

Technical jargon time…


Balance is the ability to maintain a controlled body position during task performance, whether sitting at a table, walking the balance beam or stepping up onto something. To function effectively across environments and tasks, we need the ability to maintain controlled positions during both static (still) and dynamic (moving) activities.

Static balance + the ability to hold a stationary position with control. Dynamic balance is the ability to remain balanced while engaged in movement.

Technical talk outta the way…


When we talk about kids needing good balance we ultimately mean that they can walk across a branch confidently, comfortably and with control. Many of the kids we work with would say they have “good balance” and can get across a balance beam easily, but what they actually have is momentum and speed! Most kids these days can’t walk along a balance beam on the ground with control let alone up on a higher object or from object to object.

Good balance and coordination allows a child to be involved in the sports and other physical activities with a reasonable level of success as it aids fluid body movement for physical skill performance. This is helpful in maintaining self regulation for daily tasks and developing a social network and achieving a sense of belonging in a community or social setting.

๐™Ž๐™ค๐™ข๐™š ๐™—๐™š๐™ฃ๐™š๐™›๐™ž๐™ฉ๐™จ ๐™ค๐™› ๐™œ๐™ค๐™ค๐™™ ๐™—๐™–๐™ก๐™–๐™ฃ๐™˜๐™š ๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™˜๐™ก๐™ช๐™™๐™š:

– reduced risk of injury
– stronger joints, muscles and bones
– confidence and self-esteem
– the ability to get more out of natural environments


Why some kids have bad balance + what to look out for in your child

Some of the many contributors of poor balance ability include:

– ASD which can contribute to poor motor skills
– Too much indoor time
– Lack of environmental variety exposure (e.g. child uses one particular playground and doesn’t play in other types of environments including nature spaces)
– Too much tech-time (this can lead to simply not enough physical movement time, and also the looking down and forward at a screen effects neck mobility and structure which can effect balance ability)
– Over-protective parents/caregivers who disapprove of nature play and balancing on various objects at various heights
– General low confidence and self-esteem which can prevent kids from playing and exploring what their body’s are capable of
– Eyesight and ear problems
– General lack of physical strength and capability (poor core strength etc)
– Diagnosed balance disorders

Kid Sense ๐™๐™–๐™จ ๐™จ๐™ค๐™ข๐™š ๐™–๐™™๐™ซ๐™ž๐™˜๐™š ๐™ค๐™ฃ ๐™๐™ค๐™ฌ ๐™ฉ๐™ค ๐™ฉ๐™š๐™ก๐™ก ๐™ž๐™› ๐™ฎ๐™ค๐™ช๐™ง ๐™˜๐™๐™ž๐™ก๐™™ ๐™๐™–๐™จ ๐™ฅ๐™ง๐™ค๐™—๐™ก๐™š๐™ข๐™จ ๐™ฌ๐™ž๐™ฉ๐™ ๐™—๐™–๐™ก๐™–๐™ฃ๐™˜๐™š ๐™–๐™ฃ๐™™ ๐™˜๐™ค๐™ค๐™ง๐™™๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™–๐™ฉ๐™ž๐™ค๐™ฃ…

If a child has difficulties with balance and coordination they might:
– Fall easily, trip often or canโ€™t โ€˜recoverโ€™ quickly from being off balance
– Move stiffly (e.g. run like a โ€˜robotโ€™)
– Avoid physical activity (e.g. playground use, sports)
– Be late to reach developmental milestones (e.g. crawling and walking)
– Be slower than peers to master physical skills (e.g. bike riding, swimming or tree climbing)
– Be less skilful than their peers in refined sports participation
– Push harder, move faster or invade the personal space of others more than they intend
– Be fearful of new physical games or scared of heights that don’t faze their peers
– Have difficulty getting dressed standing up
– Have trouble navigating some environments (e.g. steps, kerbs, uneven ground).
– Tire more quickly then their peers or need to take regular short rest periods during physical activity.

These are very common with the kids we work with and we LOVE helping kids overcome these challenges and balance better!


Balancing indoors vs on playgrounds vs in nature

You guys probably think we’re going to say we believe ultimately kids should be capable balancers in nature… and you’d be right about that! But why do we feel that way? And do we think any other environments are beneficial? ๐Ÿค”

Indoor environments

Have a lot of benefits to kids needing help improving balance. Heck, half of our clients come from local OT’s who work indoors and for good reason! Practicing physical skills indoors removes a lot of issues associated with kids who have a variety of sensitivities with weather, light, noise, textures, animals/bugs etc, common for kids on the spectrum. Also, it’s safer. For kids who need to begin in a controlled and minimal environment, indoor balance practice is perfect. Starting here with the intention of getting them outdoors eventually is ideal (why many OTs send kids our way, we can help them when they’re ready for that next step).

But.. let’s compare this kind of scenario to say a gymnastics child who’s a competent balancer indoors on high beams… it doesn’t mean they’ll be awesome at balancing outdoors, maybe ever, because the environment inside is so controlled and limiting. Outside balancing is totally different!

What about playgrounds?

Well they’re outdoors so that’s positive and those build more ‘natural’ and with different levels, surfaces, thickness of objects etc is great but if a child is usually playing at the one playground, or never really plays and balances in other environments, they’ll be missing out. Playground equipment has a place, for sure, but can definitely be very limiting. Playground play doesn’t fully equip a human with how to move in their most natural way and in the most natural surroundings (i.e. nature).

Balancing in nature

Is ultimately the best environment. Being capable at moving in different weather elements, on varying surfaces, at varying heights, in various ways is what all kids should be. But it’s not possible for all kids to be good at balancing in nature at all times.

So we believe kids should be ‘Jacks of all environments’ and play indoors, outdoors, everywhere!


A simple better-balance exercise to do with kids

One of my favourite ways to get kids to slow down and control their walking across a beam (so it’s not just their momentum getting them across) is to incorporate stepping over a pool noodle. It’s soft and safe, if I’m holding it I can adjust the height for the individual child (making it easier or harder for them), it’s fun and the addition of stepping over an object requires more focus and stability.

Simply place a timber beam (2×4 timber from the hardware store) on the carpet or grass, position yourself halfway along crouching down and ask the child to walk across the beam and step over the noodle you’re holding out over it.

Encourage them to take it slow, think about their steps, steady themselves to step over the noodle without touching the floor/ground, then as they get better at this you can speed things up, make it harder by increasing the height of the noodle, getting them to step over it a couple times in a row, walk backwards and step over backwards, sideways etc. This simple exercise has so many variations and opportunities for increasing the difficulty therefore improving the development and ability of the child ๐Ÿ‘

Turn it into a game, have a go yourself, find ways to make it fun for everyone.


Why barefoot is best + tips for achieving this

Wearing regular shoes regularly changes the shape of our foot which limits mobility, strength and flexibility, impairing all movement not just balancing. We know balancing is a really important foundation human skill, so by wearing shoes we hugely restrict our ability to master this skill.


When barefoot toes can spread, arches can contract, and nerve endings can switch on to what’s beneath and send proper messages to the brain, all making getting better at balancing easier.

Most kids I work with wear shoes to sessions for various reasons, I encourage them to kick ’em off and play without, and balancing is one of the main activities this is so important. When a child’s foot is connecting to the beam or log underneath they can feel it properly, they can grip better with their toes and they can get used to the different textures and temps.


The toes of a human foot are meant to measure WIDER than the rest of the foot for the purposes of gripping! When we spend more time moving naturally without any shoes on our toes can learn to spread.


๐™๐™ž๐™ฅ๐™จ ๐™ค๐™ฃ ๐™œ๐™š๐™ฉ๐™ฉ๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ ๐™ ๐™ž๐™™๐™จ ๐™—๐™–๐™ก๐™–๐™ฃ๐™˜๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ ๐™ฌ๐™ž๐™ฉ๐™๐™ค๐™ช๐™ฉ ๐™จ๐™๐™ค๐™š๐™จ ๐™ค๐™ฃ:

– be the example and balance barefoot yourself- start off on ‘easy’ surfaces re texture. Instead of starting on a rough log, start on a smooth piece of timber or similar

– create goals + rewards for kids balancing barefoot (some of our kids have started going barefoot more often cos they want the ‘Barefoot’ Primal Kids Badge!)

– encourage barefoot time throughout the day, as often as possible, everyday. The more time we spend barefoot the stronger our feet become barefoot and the more used to it we get.

– buy toe socks and barefoot shoes if texture is still a big issue (see previous Barefoot posts)


I hope this information and our perspectives and experiences help you and your family on your journey to better health! Please comment if you have any questions.

Clint

Natural Fitness + Lifestyle Coaching | Visit our website: Primal Influence | Follow us on socials: Facebook + Instagram

Disclaimer:

This disclaimer governs your use of Under the Primal Influence Blog. By using this website, you accept this disclaimer in full. If you disagree with any part of this disclaimer, do not use Under the Primal Influence Blog or any affiliated websites, properties, or companies. We reserve the right to modify these terms at any time. You should therefore check back periodically for changes. By using this website after we post any changes, you agree to accept those changes, whether or not you have reviewed them.

All information and resources found on Under the Primal Influence Blog are based on the opinions of the author unless otherwise noted. All information is intended to motivate readers to make their own nutrition and health decisions after consulting with their health care provider. I am not a doctor, lawyer, psychiatrist, therapist, or your mother, and I donโ€™t play one on the internet.

The author of this site encourages you to consult a doctor before making any health changes, especially any changes related to a specific diagnosis or condition. No information on this site should be relied upon to determine diet, make a medical diagnosis, or determine treatment for a medical condition. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.

NO information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition.

None of the posts and articles on Under the Primal Influence Blog may be re-printed without express written permission of the author. Primal Influence will respond to written requests to re-print parts of posts and excerpts/quotes (10% or less) may be reprinted with attribution as long as all links are left intact.

Benefits of Barefoot: Your feet are stronger than you think!

Why are we such big fans of being barefoot? Two main reasons.

๐Ÿญ. ๐—ฆ๐˜๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ด๐˜๐—ต + ๐—ฆ๐˜๐—ฎ๐—ฏ๐—ถ๐—น๐—ถ๐˜๐˜†. Not only does the foot benefit from being allowed to strengthen and work as it’s naturally designed, the rest of the body does too. The arch is designed to be super strong and stable but using artificial props and cushioning doesn’t allow it to be as strong as it’s meant to be, nor the ankles, knees, hips, back and neck. Walking and being physically active while barefoot, in a variety of conditions and environments, allows the foot to do it’s thing and therefore benefit the entire body. By using props and cushioning for long periods of time we can actually do harm to our joints, the opposite of why they’re worn!

๐Ÿฎ. ๐—˜๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐˜๐—ต๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด. The benefits of earthing are well-known (even by doctors) yet still pretty underrated for the most part. When our feet connect to the earth (rocks, dirt, sand, grass, even concrete works) outside in nature we allow the natural cyclical pulsed negative charge in, balancing out the positive charge created in our body during regular day-to-day activities, which greatly impacts our health.

Strength + Stability: Information from experts

“The feet are a beautifully complex part of the body, with 26 bones, 33 joints, 4 layers of muscle and up to 200,000 nerve endings in each foot! They are our primary point of contact with the ground and so serve as our foundation for both movement and sensation, helping our whole body organise itself and adapt to our environment. This is why it is so important not to disrupt the natural function of the feet – our balance and coordination rely on both the ability to feel the ground and to move in response to the changes we feel! The muscles and joints of the feet also rely on changes in pressure and texture on the ground (for example grass, rocks, sticks, leaves etc. in a natural environment) in order to be healthy.

“our balance and coordination rely on both the ability to feel the ground and to move in response to the changes we feel”

Of course there are times when having some level of protection from the elements (extremes of heat/cold, sharp and/or poisonous things) is very important – this is where footwear can help. Unfortunately modern footwear significantly disrupts natural foot function – layers of cushioning, raised heel, narrow toe box and the rigid body in most shoes (including athletic/running shoes from โ€˜goodโ€™ brands) essentially blindfold the feet and greatly restricts movement. There are now plenty of companies offering โ€˜naturalโ€™ footwear which allow the foot to function as close to barefoot as possible.

Photo from The Foot Collective Australia

So for the health of our feet (and our whole body), one of the best things we can do is spend as much time as possible barefoot, outside and on a variety of natural surfaces! This gives us the chance to build a natural resilience and adaptability that protects us from aches, pains and injuries throughout our lives. If we canโ€™t be barefoot for whatever reason, we need to be wearing shoes that promote the natural function of the feet – this is especially important for young feet that are still developing and are most responsive to challenge and exposure!”

Thanks to James Dooner – Physio + Director of The Foot Collective Australia for this great info!


“For many decades we have been conditioned to believe we need to support our feet with tools such as shoes and orthotics.

But did you know that feet have hundreds of muscles, tendons and ligaments that are more than capable of supporting your feet, whilst optimising your balance and movement performance.

If you have become over reliant and dependant on artificial foot support, I would encourage you to begin rebuilding the strength and connection to your feet rather than masking the dysfunction.” – Paul Thompson The Barefoot Podiatrist

We know from personal experience being barefooters now for close to a decade, we feel a lot stronger all through the body because our feet are strong.

Here’s an interesting story…

A few years ago I did some mystery shopping work and one of the retail stores I had to assess was Athletes Foot. The staff member took me through the process of using the foot print machine to work out my foot structure to then find the right types of shoes for me. When I was finished using the machine he said, sounding very surprised, the results showed my arches were strong and my feet didn’t need any support, just neutral-style joggers. I certainly wasn’t shocked! I knew my feet were strong!


Earthing: What is it and how to get it

Earthing (or grounding) is a process of naturally connecting your body to the Earthโ€™s natural and powerful energy by exposing your bare feet to the ground and natural surfaces. More so grass and dirt but rocks and sand work and even concrete allows some earthing energy through.


Basically it reduces oxidative stress in the body and promotes healing.

The main benefits it can have to our health are:

– improve quality of sleep

– reduce inflammation in the body

– boost immunity and reduce infection

– reduce stress and promote calmness

– promote healing and reduce pain and injury severity

– increase energy level

– improve blood circulation and heart health

How to get earthed when outdoors, indoors, and wearing shoes:

Obviously, the best way to get earthing is to spend time barefoot outdoors on natural surfaces, in particular on grass and dirt, but also on rocks, sand and even concrete work too (not bitumen though). The longer we’re barefoot outside the more benefits we receive and for a longer period.

Clint and I live in a townhouse with a concrete paved courtyard and as I work on a computer indoors most of the time, I can feel it drain me of energy so I make time in the afternoons (on fine days) to take my laptop outside to work, with my feet on the ground. I definitely feel better from it and even find I crave it most days.

Earthing while indoors:

There is such a thing! By using earthing products! We’ve been big fans of earthing bed sheets and foot mats for many years and always recommend them to our clients, especially those who simply can’t get much outdoor barefoot time in their day or week. There’s a huge variety of indoor earthing products to choose from and lots of information and scientific info to be educated on and to back-up the claims that they actually do work.

Personally we use and recommend EarthingOz products – feel free to use our affiliate link to check out what they offer and grab something for yourself and/or your family members.

My mum used to live in a unit with no access to outdoor barefoot time. She didn’t have a yard or a nice park nearby, she wore shoes to walk to the bus to work in the city in an office most days and wore shoes on her days off. She started using a foot mat while watching TV and reading, and a sheet on her bed at night, and reported she noticed definite improvements to her quality of sleep.

Wearing shoes and earthing:

The only way to get earthing while wearing shoes is to wear shoes with copper plates in the soles that touch the foot and the ground at the same time. Not many companies make these one but that does, Earth Runners, have a variety of sandals and even shoe kits to turn your regular shoes into earthing shoes, as long as you don’t mind making a permanent hole in the soles!

Check out my latest blog post and honest Earth Runners review and style comparison here (with a link to my previous review too).

I wear my Earth Runner sandals ALL the time, I absolutely love them and I’ll be a forever fan of them I’m sure. They’re a great shoe for protecting my soles and allowing me to get grounding at the same time.


How to transition to barefoot:

  • Start slow if you’re not already moving around outdoors with no shoes on. Start on ‘easy’ surfaces and build up. Even a walk on soft sand at the beach, for newbies, can be incredibly harsh on the foot and leg muscles and bring on soreness and tension that can last for days. It can help to take the shoes off and walk/move for short periods, put the shoes back on when needed, and build up to longer periods barefoot over time. If you’re rarely ever barefoot at the moment then start with being barefoot inside the house – that’s level 1!
  • Utilise your home outdoor ground spaces even if there’s concrete. Instead of slipping the shoes on to hang the washing up outside, do it barefoot. Walk to the letterbox and take the bins out without shoes on. Sit outside barefoot to eat meals and have a cuppa. Do some gardening and maintenance without shoes on too.
  • Find nearby barefoot-friendly nature spaces such as beaches, parks and playgrounds to take the kids to barefoot, walks to go on (walk off the path to get far more earthing), to play outdoor games at without shoes on… without prickles and spikey seed pods which are common in Australia!
Barefoot beach walks – great for strength, stability and earthing
  • Try out bushwalking without shoes on for even some of the time, if not all. Depending on where you live and what tracks you have access to, some tracks might be ‘man made’ and too hard underfoot but the natural paths are a great place to start becoming used to being barefoot and getting lots of earthing. Take your usual walking shoes but spend some some not wearing them, get your feet used to the different surfaces and textures, putting the shoes back on when you need to.
  • Wear ‘barefoot’ shoes such as Earth Runners or Vibram Five Fingers (aka toe shoes). Or choose from one of about a zillion other brands now on the market! From office shoes to snow boots, to casual laced shoes, there are so many options now to suit most lifestyles and work situations. Starting out by swapping regular joggers/athletic shoes to Dunlop Volley’s is a great option because they’re flat, wide, affordable and long-lasting. My pair were about $25 which was a nice change from the $180+ I used to spend on Asics and all the other fancy unnecessary joggers I wore for years.
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is vibram.jpg
My Vibram Five Finger shoes I wear as my ‘uniform’ and sometimes out walking – they allow my toes to spread naturally and my arches to do the job they’re designed to do
  • Use good foot health practices such as rolling on a plastic spikey ball at night while watching TV to help loosen up the muscles and tendons in the feet (watch this video of Clint demo’ing how to do it), soak your feet in warm Epsom or Magnesium Flake foot baths regularly, and wear toe spreaders to help correct your toe alignment (our toes are meant to measure wider than the rest of our foot by the way!).
  • Practice natural movement by looking into MovNat, finding MovNat, CHEK and other holistic movement practitioners and programs online or in your area. We’re huge fans of MovNat, Clint’s a certified trainer, and we love that they promote barefoot and natural movement together (indoors and outdoors).
Clint doing some natural movement in the trees – walking, balancing, split squats, turning etc while barefoot for better stability
  • Get advice from a barefoot practitioner such as a podiatrist or physio who specialise in and promote barefoot living.
  • Stop listening to conventional wisdom and believing clever marketing telling us we need expensive joggers, arch support and pointy toe shoes for fashion. We don’t. We can heal and strengthen our feet without any of that.

I wish you all the best on your barefoot-more journey! If you have any questions please get in touch!

Aimee

Natural Fitness + Lifestyle Coaching | Visit our website: Primal Influence | Follow us on socials: Facebook + Instagram

Disclaimer:

This disclaimer governs your use of Under the Primal Influence Blog. By using this website, you accept this disclaimer in full. If you disagree with any part of this disclaimer, do not use Under the Primal Influence Blog or any affiliated websites, properties, or companies. We reserve the right to modify these terms at any time. You should therefore check back periodically for changes. By using this website after we post any changes, you agree to accept those changes, whether or not you have reviewed them.

All information and resources found on Under the Primal Influence Blog are based on the opinions of the author unless otherwise noted. All information is intended to motivate readers to make their own nutrition and health decisions after consulting with their health care provider. I am not a doctor, lawyer, psychiatrist, therapist, or your mother, and I donโ€™t play one on the internet.

The author of this site encourages you to consult a doctor before making any health changes, especially any changes related to a specific diagnosis or condition. No information on this site should be relied upon to determine diet, make a medical diagnosis, or determine treatment for a medical condition. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.

NO information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition.

None of the posts and articles on Under the Primal Influence Blog may be re-printed without express written permission of the author. Primal Influence will respond to written requests to re-print parts of posts and excerpts/quotes (10% or less) may be reprinted with attribution as long as all links are left intact.

7 years + 3 different pairs: my overall EarthRunners review with style comparisons

If you’re already a barefooter or minimalist shoe wearer you’ll appreciate the importance of finding the right one, or various few, barefoot-style shoes that not only feel comfy but also last. If you’re totally new to the concept, here you’ll find an honest review of one of the longest running (pun intended!) barefoot shoes on the market and possibly some inspiration to venture into barefoot movement.

When I first transitioned from regular joggers to a more minimalist style of shoe there were hardly any brands to choose from. Now… there are loads! Brands, styles, colours, for a huge variety of uses. From sandals to snow boots and everything in between.

My first flat sole shoe was the good ol’ Dunlop Volleys! They had a reasonably wide toe box, a flat sole, were a bit bendy and definitely good quality. I wore them on long walks and while exercising, for a fair few months, which allowed my body to get used to far less padding and cushioning.

I then spent a lot more time walking and moving barefoot (at home, at parks, even at the shops sometimes) to get my feet and body stronger and more stable, and to toughen my feet up. I even started barefoot bushwalks with gravel and rock surfaces to really allow my feet to adapt to a large variety of natural surfaces and become more comfortable.

But, as I mention in my last two blog posts about going barefoot, there are situations and environments that going barefoot just isn’t do-able and I had to find a ‘barefoot’ shoe option. I chose to try EarthRunners sandals way back 7 years ago, and have been a fan ever since!

I’ve tried the three different soles they offer and different laces over those years so I want to share my honest experiences and recommendations.

In the last barefoot blog I posted with a review I had tried one thickness of sole with 100% leather laces and since then have tried two other soles, and nylon laces.

My first pair has the Circadian sole with full leather laces (which no longer exist), and multiple copper discs in the sole. The second pair had the Elemental sole style without the moisture-wicking cotton on top, with nylon laces. My current pair are the Alpha sole style and leather conductive laces. The company stopped adding multiple copper discs at one point, and realised one was enough, with conductive stitching on the laces. So the second and third pairs just had one copper disc underneath each sole, and conductive laces as opposed to 100% leather.


3 x Style Reviews

Circadian Review

Positives:

  • The sole thickness suited me well, I liked minimal material between my foot and the ground, especially for rock-hopping, balancing etc, I need my feet to grip to the surfaces as much as possible.
  • The original all-leather laces were so comfy, I loved them!
  • The moisture wicking layer underfoot was great and helped prevent my feet slipping and sliding around inside the sandal when wet

Negatives:

  • The moisture wicking wore off before the soles wore through, which made them a little slippery at that point, when wearing in wet conditions
Thickness of sole

Elemental Review

Positives:

  • The same sole thickness as the Circadian

Negatives:

  • All-nylon laces were definitely not as comfortable as the leather – they didn’t squish up and soften enough between my big and second toes and never felt quite as comfortable over the few years I wore them
  • Not having the moisture-wicking material was a downside, as I felt it provided more grip and comfort with my previous pair of sandals
Similar thickness to the first pair

Alpha Review

Positives:

  • The thicker sole may last longer than the other two pairs and not need replacing as soon (why I chose them this time around)
  • The moisture wicking fabric
  • I paid extra to get the new style of leather laces which has conductive stitching on top but leather touching the skin and I’m glad I did because, while not as mouldable and comfy as the original all-leather version, they’re much more comfortable than the completely nylon option

Negatives:

  • The sole is too thick for me. When I first started walking in them I actually felt higher up in them, I could really feel the height difference compared to the thinner soles! I’m used to that now, but when walking on rocks, balancing etc they don’t mould to my feet quite enough or allow for enough ‘feeling’ to what’s under my feet. I miss being able to feel more texture underfoot for sure
Much thicker sole

My overall verdict + style recommendation

I prefer the thinner soles, and even though the Alpha soles may last longer, it’s not worth it to me. Especially seeing as the thinner soles lasted me many years each, while wearing them MOST days and mostly on bitumen and rough natural surfaces! I believe Alpha is a good ‘beginner’ sole because it provides more cushioning. But for someone who needs to feel more and grip better with the surfaces they’re moving on and who’s feet are reasonably used to ‘barefoot’, the Circadian and Elemental are more suitable.

I suggest spending a few extra $ for the leather laces too, they are far more comfortable between the toes and even on the skin on the other parts of the foot. They do stretch a little when wet but the clip is so easy to adjust that that’s not a problem. The leather also look a little ‘nicer’ than the nylon laces, maybe not as a relaxed look about them, so fashion-wise leather could be a better option for those conscious of that!

Each pair moulds easily to the shape of the feet and lets them move quite freely but Alpha definitely don’t mould as much as fast. I can see that with their thickness and how I use them they’ll wear and thin out in certain spots underneath while the rest will stay pretty thick.

They take the shape of the foot which is how it should be

All styles are quick to get on and off. The clips, made of plastic, can break, especially if you’re adjusting the laces a lot (but the makers will send you a replacement pair pretty quickly). I generally keep mine done-up at the same spot all the time and just slip them on and off my feet, only opening the clips for when the laces get wet, a little loose, I have to tighten them slightly to be secure enough for what I’m doing, and then I need to loosen them off a bit when they dry. Other than that I don’t touch the clips.

These shoes can take a lot of beating up! I’ve put them through their paces on bushwalks (on and off tracks) with really rough surfaces, in cold conditions, in water (fresh and salt), while playing and being really active outdoors, for many days in a row while camping, walking on sharp seed pods and, of course, mostly wear them on rough bitumen roads!

I love that I’m getting the benefits of earthing while wearing shoes and protecting my feet against prickles, broken glass and any other hazards at the same time!

After 7 years and three pairs, I’m still a massive fan of EarthRunner sandals and am definitely a forever customer!

I highly recommend them to anyone who wants to become more of a barefooter or current barefooters who want a sandal that allows for grounding while being worn.

If you’re new to being barefoot, keep in mind your toe box will widen so when choosing a size ensure you account for that in terms of the width of the sandal.

View products here

If you decide to grab a pair please use our affiliate link, it provides us with a small referral fee and lets the manufacturers know where you came to them from ๐Ÿ™‚

Aimee

Primal Health Coach

Visit our website: Primal Influence | Follow us on socials: Facebook + Instagram + TikTok

Disclaimer:

This disclaimer governs your use of Under the Primal Influence Blog. By using this website, you accept this disclaimer in full. If you disagree with any part of this disclaimer, do not use Under the Primal Influence Blog or any affiliated websites, properties, or companies. We reserve the right to modify these terms at any time. You should therefore check back periodically for changes. By using this website after we post any changes, you agree to accept those changes, whether or not you have reviewed them.

All information and resources found on Under the Primal Influence Blog are based on the opinions of the author unless otherwise noted. All information is intended to motivate readers to make their own nutrition and health decisions after consulting with their health care provider. I am not a doctor, lawyer, psychiatrist, therapist, or your mother, and I donโ€™t play one on the internet.

The author of this site encourages you to consult a doctor before making any health changes, especially any changes related to a specific diagnosis or condition. No information on this site should be relied upon to determine diet, make a medical diagnosis, or determine treatment for a medical condition. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.

NO information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition.

None of the posts and articles on Under the Primal Influence Blog may be re-printed without express written permission of the author. Primal Influence will respond to written requests to re-print parts of posts and excerpts/quotes (10% or less) may be reprinted with attribution as long as all links are left intact.

The glutes: a holistic approach to strengthening them

“Gluteus maximus is the largest of the gluteal muscles. The general functions of the muscle are believed to be extension of the hip, adduction, and external rotation. There is also evidence pointing to the significant role of glute max in force closure or compression stabilization of the SI joint. While there is some debate in the medical literature of the role of glute max, it is fairly obvious it is an important hip stabilizer.” -Breaking Muscle

glutes

At the Aware Relaxed Connected workshop on Sunday, hosted by one of our mentors and friend Craig Mallett, we learnt a terrific glute activation technique. Yes, there are a lot of them out there; any physio, chiro or PT will have half a dozen you can do on your lounge room floor. And that’s great. And we’ve been given and tried many ourselves over our years within the health and fitness industry as both coaches and also as clients/patients.

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What we liked about Craig’s approach on the weekend though was the truly holistic (whole-istic) perspective. Instead of just lying down to perform a select few leg raising exercises, or some standing up, Craig explained the usefulness and true functionality of activating the glute muscles in ALL movements and angles. From getting up off of the floor in all different ways, standing upright and bending in different directions, to walking up and down stairs. Why set limits?

That was the theme of the day really… move well in ALL directions. Be a ‘generalist’ with movement. Adapt to different positions, angles, heights, environments so you can better handle being in different positions when needed, or when you want to. This really blew our minds! By the end of the day we were happily overwhelmed with this new (but not really ‘new’) concept and have been incorporating this idea into our everyday lives ever since.

So anyway, back to the glute relevance!

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The workshop started with us practising glute activation in all sorts of different positions, heights and movements. We want to share a couple of them with you guys that you can easily start implementing and hopefully benefit from.

SOME GLUTE ACTIVATION IDEAS FOR YOU TO TRY:

Standing position with straight back: bend knees slightly, keep back straight, lean forwards bringing your chest toward the ground. When you feel your butt is at full stretch stop. Then, concentrating, squeeze or ‘turn them on’ and as you continue to keep them switched on, slowly raise your torso back to standing position but take it slightly further by pushing your pelvis forward to finish. Repeat this 10-20 times to get the hang of it.

 

Standing position different angles: this is similar to the previous movement but instead bend the knees at different angles, feel the stretch in one or both glutes and stand to upright position squeezing them the whole time. Play around with every possible angle you can come up with, including a rounded back.

 

Standing from sitting on the ground: sit on the floor/ground in all different positions, activate your glutes as much as possible in each position, then get to standing position keeping the glutes on the entire time. This is a tricky one and takes a lot of concentration (which the brain likes because the brain and body work best together, not separately).

 

Step ups: this one you can do with stairs in your home (we often use 2 at a time to get the full glute stretch) or anything stable you can step up and down with. Simply place one foot up on the step, concentrate on squeezing that glute and stand upright keeping it squeezed the entire time. Do this a few times on one leg then swap to the other leg. Then play around with different foot positions and knee angles. If you automatically step up with your knee facing inward, try breaking that habit and step up with it outward a few times. Change the step height when you can and vary this movement up as much as possible.

 

Easy peasy!

We’ve been making a conscious effort to do these at home. It’s hard, they’re not something we were doing previously so to add the movements into our day has taken some mental effort. But even when we think of it sometimes and just do a few standing with straight back, or we remember to stand up with glutes on from sitting on the floor watching TV, then that’s something. And that’s all you need to do. Practice as many of these as you can manage and you’ll be doing your body some good. Especially your pelvic stabilisation, which is so important.

Remember to check out Craig’s website Aware Relaxed Connected for lots of great resources, grab the current videos on the Tutorials page and check back regularly for new videos. We urge you to spend a few bucks on them and benefit from the content. All the money Craig receives from the purchase of videos and workshop attendance goes toward him learning more from his own mentors and teachers. Eventually that seeps back to all of us.. so it’s really a positive cycle!

Let us know if you have any questions and have fun with your new movements!

Clint & Aimee

 

5 things we’re grateful for today:

  1. Attending Craig’s brilliant workshop last weekend
  2. Forest play time
  3. Meeting new lovely people at all of our recent free library talks
  4. You guys reading our blog posts!
  5. All the cherry tomatoes we’ve been picking from our container garden lately

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Never disยญreยญgard proยญfesยญsional medยญical advice or delay in seekยญing it because of someยญthing you have read on this blog or in any linked materials. If you think you may have a medยญical emerยญgency, call your docยญtor or 000 immediately.

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MYTH: you can be too old to start moving naturally

Yep, true, you are never too old to start moving naturally!

Clint and I always get funny, curious and “I wish I could do that” looks from people when we’re out playing at the beach or the park. And by ‘playing’ I mean actually playing games and doing different natural movements the body is designed to do.

We also often get approached by older folk who aren’t afraid to ask what it is we’re doing and why, often with a response of “I would have been able to do that when I was younger, but I’m too old now”. We hear it ALL the time!

And while we totally respect the older generation, we must say… they’re wrong!

Natural movement isn’t exercise. Nor is there a minimum fitness level required. If you can move any part of your body then you can have a crack at natural movement and some of the types of movements and activities we do.

Sure, we may be able to jump and crawl fast on hands and feet and things like that. Which can look intimidating to some. But we couldn’t always do those things, we started from scratch as anyone would. Plus, jumping, fast crawling and other movements at a similar level are not the only movements people can do. Simply crawling on hands and knees is a good place to start.

Why? Because for some odd reason in this day and age, we go from being children to teens to adults and somewhere along the way we stop playing and moving the way we’re meant to. We instead start ‘exercising’, or not, we do less movement and are sedentary too much of the time.

This is not good! Movements like crawling are basic human movements. They’re not just for toddlers and kids. Same for playing and finding joy in movement. Why can’t a 50 year old play Tiggy with friends and actually have fun?! There’s no reason!!

We could go on and on about the benefits of natural movement and play and why adults should be getting into it. But we’re not going to get into that too deeply in this blog. The point of this post is to show you that YOU ARE NEVER TOO OLD TO MOVE NATURALLY AND PLAY!

I’m going to use my mum as an example. She turned 60 in April (doesn’t look it though, must be all that gelatin and bone broth!) and a year and a half ago was hit by a car while she was crossing the street, which resulted in a badly broken wrist and a shoulder injury. Not to mention PTSD. Plus, she’s spent the last decade+ not doing a whole lot of moving. She used to workout and she used to walk A LOT. She still walks but no where near as much. AND she has an office job. That’s a whole lotta bad right there!

So… being 60, still recovering physically and emotionally from a major injury and not moving much in general equated to a lack of confidence, a lack of awareness of what she’s capable of physically and emotionally, and a lack of understanding of just how to move well.

When one is in that situation sometimes encouragement from someone else, and a little push in the right direction is needed.

We wanted to give mum a little nudge so last weekend we headed to the beautiful Maroochy Bushland Botanic Gardens in Tanawha to have a play with a friend from Brissie. Mum, me, Clint and Amanda. All very different fitness levels, but all just as capable of natural movement and play!

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We started with a game of Frisbee to ‘warm-up’ (not that we think warming up is overly important but your typical not-yet-playing folk seem to think it’s necessary lol!). Before the Frisbee even got close to mum she was verbalising her lack of confidence with lots of “I can’t..” and excuses. Totally normal.

But within a minute, when she realised she could do it. Her words changed. And they continued to as the session went along; through push/pull activities, crawling, throwing, balancing on one leg and more.

At one point I had mum doing a combo of crawling on hands and knees, and throwing a rock. She threw the rock, and then would crawl to the rock, and repeat. I could really tell she struggled with coordination. Why? Because she hadn’t done those two movements since she was a kid! Without practice, of course something is going to be difficult. But the great thing about starting with basic movements is they’re pretty easy to pick up, they’re do-able therefore creating confidence.

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Once the session was finished mum was pretty pooped but felt good. She’d learnt a few areas that need work, such as balancing more on one leg than the other, ย as well as crawling and throwing to become more comfortable with coordination.

To watch a short video on mum crawling and throwing, to give you an idea of how tricky it was for her at first, and how to actually perform these movements, click here.

Mum says she’s now looking forward to making natural movement a part of her lifestyle, because not only does she the need and benefit for her personally, but she’s taken that tricky first step of actually giving it a go and knows she’s more than capable.

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We’re excited to see how she progresses, because we know it’ll only be a positive thing in so many ways, and because we care so much about her we’re keen to see the improvements it makes to her life.

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So, if you’ve been one of those people often saying “I could have done that 20 years ago, but not now” or something similar, then now you know that’s not the case, and that you actually can do at least SOME form of natural movement and play.

We hope this has provided some inspiration to someone out there! Feel free to sneakily share the link in an email to your older loved ones you think might benefit from this, that gentle nudge might be all it takes to get them moving forward ๐Ÿ™‚

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Thanks for reading!

Aimee

Natural Fitness + Lifestyle Coaching | Visit our website:ย Primal Influenceย | Follow us on socials:ย Facebookย +ย Instagram

Disclaimer:

This disclaimer governs your use of Under the Primal Influence Blog. By using this website, you accept this disclaimer in full. If you disagree with any part of this disclaimer, do not use Under the Primal Influence Blog or any affiliated websites, properties, or companies. We reserve the right to modify these terms at any time. You should therefore check back periodically for changes. By using this website after we post any changes, you agree to accept those changes, whether or not you have reviewed them.

All information and resources found on Under the Primal Influence Blog are based on the opinions of the author unless otherwise noted. All information is intended to motivate readers to make their own nutrition and health decisions after consulting with their health care provider. I am not a doctor, lawyer, psychiatrist, therapist, or your mother, and I donโ€™t play one on the internet.

The author of this site encourages you to consult a doctor before making any health changes, especially any changes related to a specific diagnosis or condition. No information on this site should be relied upon to determine diet, make a medical diagnosis, or determine treatment for a medical condition. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.

NO information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition.

None of the posts and articles on Under the Primal Influence Blog may be re-printed without express written permission of the author. Primal Influence will respond to written requests to re-print parts of posts and excerpts/quotes (10% or less) may be reprinted with attribution as long as all links are left intact.

Controversial: Give Up on Exercise!

For many people the word โ€œexerciseโ€ conjures up images of spending hours at the gym sweating, endless repetitionsย of crunches, sharing exercise equipment with the other sweaty people before you, and just all-round general discomfort.

Well guess what? It doesn’t have to be like that.

It might be hard for you to fathom but crunches are NOT an essential exercise! Yep, you read that right.. a qualified Personal Trainer actually saying that crunches aren’t required!

All we need is our body and the natural world outside of gyms in order to be fit and healthy. Whatโ€™s even better is that nature is completely free โ€“ thereโ€™s no joining fee or fortnightly direct debits!

Since you’re probably totally new to this way of thinking and moving, here are some suggestions of fun and functional movements you can perform outdoorsโ€ฆ

1. The Lava Game

This is an oldie but a goodie! For those who don’t remember how to play this, the rules are simpleโ€ฆ

The ground is lava! By using equipment and items nearby you have to navigate from point A to point B without touching the ground or you’ll simply burn up.

This game is great to play in a place where you have obstacles such as a playground or rocks to play on. The main benefit of this exercise besides needing to think is โ€˜mindful movementโ€™ for the whole body.

What do I mean by mindful movement? Mindful movement is movement that requires you to think about it. Walking on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike for example is not mindful movement.

You also get the benefit of explosive movement as you jump from obstacle to obstacle, as well as flexibility as you duck, weave and move.

2. Tiggy

This game requires more than one person to participate, although I must admit it would look pretty funny trying to play this alone!

Once you have more than one person ready to play, start with 1 person being โ€œitโ€. This person has to tag someone else in order to no longer become โ€œitโ€. Then just keep going!

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Itโ€™s a very simple concept but great cardiovascular interval training is a great workout. The reason for this is because you are constantly on the move. Sprints thrown in when someone tries to tag you adds to the overall benefit and fun!

3. Quadrapedal Movements

Do you want abs of steel but hate the thought of doing crunches? Then try some quadrupedal movements in your play time!

Crawling on all fours, monkey walks and ape walks will get every muscle in your body working hard as you transform back to our early evolutionary roots.

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Start with crawling on hands and knees. Yes, babies do this, but give it a go, I bet you find it really awkward? Because you haven’t done it in a long time, yet it should be a basic human movement skill, all throughout life. Practice until you feel coordinated then move onto hands and feet…

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This is much trickier and you’ll feel your abs and quite a few other muscles working hard. It’s a terrific movement to do.

4. Remove One Limb

Choose one of your limbs – a leg or an arm – and play around with moving through a variety of obstacles without the actual use of that limb. For example, place one arm behind your back and attempt to climb a ladder at the playground.

This is another mindful activity because it requires you to think about how to move without using a vital body part.

5. Partner Object Carry

Pick an object that both you and your partner are capable of carrying, such as a rock, a sandbag, a small child etc and set start and end points.

Work together to move your heavy object from point A to point B. Pass the object to each other while each person takes turns to move forward or ahead. This game works really well at a childrenโ€™s playground or in and around a rocky creek.

This exercise utilizes strength, balance, coordination, flexibility and mindfulness to achieve an objective.

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6. Chase the Waves

Next time you’re walking along the beach make a game of chasing the waves. Itโ€™s fun and incredibly effective!

As a wave heads back towards the ocean, sprint towards it as far as you dare. Then when it turns to come in again, sprint back so you donโ€™t get wet. Repeat and after a few rounds you’ll see why itโ€™s great for fitness!

If you’re keen and quick try do some push ups in between each wave! This adds a whole new element to the game.

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Chase waves
“you can’t catch me waves!”

So as you can seeโ€ฆ playing is only limited by your imagination. There are so many fun movements you can create. The options are endless.

Hereโ€™s another gemโ€ฆ try adding some jumping and climbing!

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Now that Iโ€™ve given you these 6 awesome ideas to stop exercising and start playing Iโ€™d love to hear some of your suggestions and experiences. Leave a comment below with ideas you have or games youโ€™ve played and enjoyed.

If you’re feeling self-conscious, unsure, unconfident or would like other people to play with then feel free to join in on the free Primal Play Days we hold every couple of months at Point Cartwright – stay tuned for info on our Facebook page

One more thingโ€ฆ stop reading and go play!!

Thanks

Clint

Primal Fitness Coach | Visit our website:ย Primal Influenceย | Follow us on socials:ย Facebookย +ย Instagram

Disclaimer:

This disclaimer governs your use of Under the Primal Influence Blog. By using this website, you accept this disclaimer in full. If you disagree with any part of this disclaimer, do not use Under the Primal Influence Blog or any affiliated websites, properties, or companies. We reserve the right to modify these terms at any time. You should therefore check back periodically for changes. By using this website after we post any changes, you agree to accept those changes, whether or not you have reviewed them.

All information and resources found on Under the Primal Influence Blog are based on the opinions of the author unless otherwise noted. All information is intended to motivate readers to make their own nutrition and health decisions after consulting with their health care provider. I am not a doctor, lawyer, psychiatrist, therapist, or your mother, and I donโ€™t play one on the internet.

The author of this site encourages you to consult a doctor before making any health changes, especially any changes related to a specific diagnosis or condition. No information on this site should be relied upon to determine diet, make a medical diagnosis, or determine treatment for a medical condition. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.

NO information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition.

None of the posts and articles on Under the Primal Influence Blog may be re-printed without express written permission of the author. Primal Influence will respond to written requests to re-print parts of posts and excerpts/quotes (10% or less) may be reprinted with attribution as long as all links are left intact.

Dreams Really Do Come True

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“Dreams really do come true”

Why did I choose that quote? Because it’s totally fitting for me right now…
I’m inย Sydneyย for the MovNat level 1 trainer certification course. And it’s literally a massive dream come true!

I’ve wanted to become a MovNat trainer for a long time, ever since I first become a fan of the movement (pardon the pun!) and now I’m actually achieving that goal! I’m stoked!

To get to this point wasn’t easy. Seeing the course was coming to Australia andย not having any money to be able to afford itย was heart breaking. Primal Influence is my passion. It’s my lifestyle extended into a business because it’s what I want to do every single day. But it’s a very slow process building it up and creating income from it. Hence the lack of funds for courses and things like that.

I’m a pretty stubborn and determined bloke though. When I get an idea in my head it takes a fair bit for me to change my mind about it. When I decided I was going to do the MovNat course, I knew I didn’t need to know justย howย it was going to happen,ย I just had to find a way!

I’d seenย ‘crowd funding’ย on tellie and the internet and had an idea to create my own version for the goal of getting to Sydney for this course.

You think not having money for the course was hard? Try asking the public to GIVE me money for it!ย Thatย was hard!

But I did it. I put it out there and asked everyone I knew, all of our social media followers and our meetup group members to donate to my cause. Not purely for the reason of it being a benefit to the business therefore a benefit to me financially. But also because of what I want to use it for in the future. I hope to work with kids and charities andย do some really great things for the community, and that can’t happen without some particular skills and qualifications behind me.

When I put the call out there I had a thought that maybe it wouldn’t happen. So did Aimee, she had her doubts. But overall, underneath, in the back of my mind, deep down in my heart…ย I believed it would happen. ย  ย And that’s why it did!

Thanks to many of you, I’m achieving this dream right now! And I’m so excited for what the future will bring after this weekend!

Stay tuned for details of events and happenings – it’s all going to be awesome!

And go for your dreams, cos they really can come true!

Clint

Primal Fitness Coach | Visit our website:ย Primal Influenceย | Follow us on socials:ย Facebookย +ย Instagram

Disclaimer:

This disclaimer governs your use of Under the Primal Influence Blog. By using this website, you accept this disclaimer in full. If you disagree with any part of this disclaimer, do not use Under the Primal Influence Blog or any affiliated websites, properties, or companies. We reserve the right to modify these terms at any time. You should therefore check back periodically for changes. By using this website after we post any changes, you agree to accept those changes, whether or not you have reviewed them.

All information and resources found on Under the Primal Influence Blog are based on the opinions of the author unless otherwise noted. All information is intended to motivate readers to make their own nutrition and health decisions after consulting with their health care provider. I am not a doctor, lawyer, psychiatrist, therapist, or your mother, and I donโ€™t play one on the internet.

The author of this site encourages you to consult a doctor before making any health changes, especially any changes related to a specific diagnosis or condition. No information on this site should be relied upon to determine diet, make a medical diagnosis, or determine treatment for a medical condition. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.

NO information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition.

None of the posts and articles on Under the Primal Influence Blog may be re-printed without express written permission of the author. Primal Influence will respond to written requests to re-print parts of posts and excerpts/quotes (10% or less) may be reprinted with attribution as long as all links are left intact.