🤒 Immune boosting: what does it mean + how do we do it naturally?

It’s only early autumn, so why is everyone sick?

We’re already noticing a lot of people starting to get sick and it’s only early Autumn (we have theories around why this is) and Winter is getting closer so it’s time to discuss natural immune boosters for the whole family.

This blog we share some expert advice and education, along with our own experiences and tips.

From various things we do that can be lowering our immunity, to lots of ideas on how to boost it naturally.


What is “immune-boosting” all about?

“The immune system is essentially a three-layer system:

At its most basic is the skin and mucous membranes, which act as a physical barrier to prevent invasion from foreign bodies and other antigens, such as parasites, bacteria, viruses and toxins.

The second layer is known as the innate immune system, a broad-acting, short-term, non-specific immune response to pathogens such as bacteria or viruses.

A third layer is the most complex. At its root is a population of white blood cells known as lymphocytes that have a cellular membrane embedded with thousands of identical receptors that are used to recognize and bind to specific antigens and mount an immune response locally. However, if the infection is too large, the lymphocytes secrete a molecule that alerts helper T cells that combine with the molecule as well as fragments of antigens to form a type of cell called a lymphoblast, which then secrete a variety of interleukins that provides a more powerful type of immune response. These cells can also promote the growth of cytotoxic T cells, thought to destroy tumorous cells or cells infected with viruses.

A third class of immune cells, known as phagocytes, meanwhile, work by engulfing microbes or other unwanted products in the bloodstream. The main phagocyte is the macrophage, which means “big eater” based on its ability to gobble up foreign substances.” Mark’s Daily Apple

Getting the body to a point where it can handle exposure to various common sickness ‘contributors’ and not be obviously affected (i.e. getting sick) is a nice place to be!

At the sickest time of my life when my immunity was shot, I was knocked down with a bug of some kind on a monthly basis. I was not living, I was existing. I was miserable.

Since then I’ve had bouts of low immunity on and off and would be out of action for a week at a time. Over the years as I’ve build my foundation health up that’s totally changed and now I rarely get sick and it’s only for short periods. It’s so nice!

𝗦𝗼 𝘄𝗵𝘆 𝗯𝘂𝗶𝗹𝗱 𝘂𝗽 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗶𝗺𝗺𝘂𝗻𝗶𝘁𝘆? 𝗧𝗼 𝗹𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝗹𝗶𝗳𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗳𝘂𝗹𝗹𝗲𝘀𝘁!


Happiness + the immune system are linked

“…research has consistently shown a clear and positive link between happiness and physical health. A significant connection has been made between happiness and our immune system functioning. Eg, undergraduate students exposed to the common cold virus or the flu after being exposed to the happiness condition (funny videos) were less likely to get sick, and reported less severe symptoms in comparison to those not exposed to the happiness condition. Several studies found similar results; those exposed to some variation of the happiness condition demonstrated a more positive outlook on life and a related strengthening of their immune systems.

What is the secret to a healthy immune system? Is it as simple as smiling? Well, no, especially if the smiles are fake! Research shows that when people, especially women, fake their smiles, there is a clearly negative impact on mood and productivity. But, when people focus on pleasant thoughts and memories, and their smiles are authentic, their moods and productivity improve.

Happiness is related to many benefits, including improved relationships, a positively changed immune system and a longer life. So how do we increase our levels of happiness?”

Some suggestions include:

– Identifying negative people, news and situations we’re being exposed to and distance ourselves from them whenever possible. Even just not watching the news every day or unfollowing sad news and upsetting Facebook pages can help!

– Train the brain to be more positive using different methods, finding those that feel helpful and work for you. From positive affirmation writing, meditating (guided or not), finding people to have positive conversations with, seeing a counsellor or psychologist, creating a vision board etc.

– Have self-compassion and forgiveness. Yes it’s important to take responsibility for our choices but we also need to show compassion to ourselves, forgive and move forward.

– Find your values. What’s important to you in your personal and professional lives? What are your short and long term goals? What’s your ‘happy’?

𝘽𝙤𝙤𝙨𝙩 𝙝𝙖𝙥𝙥𝙞𝙣𝙚𝙨𝙨 + 𝙗𝙤𝙤𝙨𝙩 𝙞𝙢𝙢𝙪𝙣𝙞𝙩𝙮!


8 ways to weaken the immune system

From environment, to food, medicine + lifestyle, we’re surrounded by things that supress our immune system.

🍬 Sugar
In particular refined sugars and high-sugar fruits. Yep fruit! We’ll myth-bust another day but a common one is that fruit is a health-booster. It’s not, and the sugar in fruit along with standard processed sugar significantly lower immune function. Even healthier versions like coconut sugar. The only moderately healthy sugar is local raw honey.

😴 Poor sleep
You may think you sleep fine but it’s hard to tell when you’ve had a truly good nights sleep and are getting it regularly. We’ll look at sleep as topic another week but if you think you MAY not be sleeping brilliantly, it could be impacting your immunity.

🍷 Alcohol
Pretty obvious, but even that glass of organic wine every night could be compromising your immunity. Sugary alcohol is even worse but alcohol in general has major impacts on our health.

💊 Drugs, medications + antibiotics
This is a big category and one that is often unknown to parents, especially with so many kids being on ASD meds. There’s research on hundreds of different drugs are suggesting they increase a person’s susceptibility to infection by crippling immune function. Researchers found that certain people taking antibiotics had reduced levels of cytokines – the hormone messengers of the immune system.

🥪 Grains
Grains, in particular modern and refined, are highly inflammatory. Even that organic ancient-grain sourdough bread you switched to. Grains are grains and the human body does not process them well.

😞 Chronic stress
Humans are designed for short bursts of stress, like when we used to have to try and get away from predators, not long-term worries. When something eats away at us over a long period of time it massively reduces immune ability.

🏘️ Lack of sun + nature time
We need direct sunlight exposure at various times of the day, fresh air and earthing to heal and to improve immunity. Most of us get no where near enough sun or nature time.

🧪 Chemicals
In food, body and cleaning products, antibacterial gels etc. Chemical over-load hugely contributes to impaired immunity.


Immune-booster myth-busting

This could be a really long post but we can fit so many characters here! So let’s focus on some less common and probably more shocking myths around immune-boosting…

Myth: Fruit + veggies are good immune-boosters

Plant foods contain natural defences that the human body doesn’t cope with trying to process all the time. There are more anti-nutrients than nutrients and only way to reduce the level of anti-nutrients is to slowly lowly cook them down or soak them out, and aim for the least inflammatory types in general. E.g. berries + avocado are much easier on the body, and slow cooking root veggies to break them down and allow the gut to process them goes a long way.

This goes for green smoothies + green veg too!

We actually get more and bio-available (easily digested) essential nutrients from animal foods (meat, eggs, fat, offal). Fruits and veg don’t contain all of the vitamins and minerals we need either whereas eating nose-to-tail can.

Myth: Wearing sunscreen is healthy

Wrong! For one thing most are full of chemicals which definitely reduce immunity and another, blocking the nutrients from the sun absorbing into our skin means we don’t get essential Vitamin D which is one of the most effective immune boosters.

Myth: Regular detoxes are good

The body can detoxify itself effectively on a daily basis if given the right environment. Short bursts of specific detox protocols can have a short-term noticeable improvement but actual long-term negative impacts to our health if done regularly. Simply reducing inflammatory foods and lifestyle habits can help the body detox naturally, then by adding in nourishing foods like bone broth and offal can enhance detoxification and boost immunity.

Myth: Chicken noodle soup is good if you’re sick

A paleo version yes! But standard types? No. Why? The grains in the noodles and the inflammatory ingredients in the flavourings are the main culprits here. The slow cooked veggies are ok but a better option would be plain organic bone broth. Add some konjac or zoodles in, some cooked chicken and low inflammatory herbs for flavour.

Any of those surprising to you?


Tips for boosting immunity naturally

Here are some ideas you can implement to try to boost immunity naturally..

Going paleo
By reducing/eliminating common inflammatory foods and adding in healing foods we can greatly improve the function of our immune system. An initial detox period can make us feel worse before we feel better but this is natural and ok. We are so much healthier since going paleo 10+ yrs ago.

Upping mineral intake
Most of us are deficient in essential minerals. Siim Land has some amazing info on this but what we do is eat animal-based paleo (offal in particular contains essential minerals) and drink Sole once or twice a day. If you want more info on Sole let us know!

Lots of sun + nature time
Exposing the skin and eyes to natural direct light at various of times of the day, including Vitamin D time, getting fresh air and earthing all greatly help improve immunity.

Try alternative therapies + practices
We like to think of every method out there as ‘tools in our toolbox’ and that no one way is a fix-it-all. We like to use acupuncture, massage, NLP, meditation, journaling, psychology, chiropractic to name a few, when we need. And there are lots more out there!

Make time for ‘happy’ time
We’re ALL busy. Who do you know who isn’t?! But no matter how busy we get it’s important to make time for ‘happy’ time daily. Whether it’s chilling out watching your fave TV show, hobbies and interests, going for a walk, getting some retail therapy… whatever it is that makes you feel genuinely happy, do it!

Low-tox living
See our previous blog to find the info about how to reduce chemical use, especially on the skin and swap for natural options.

Move more + move better
Chronic over-exercising will deplete your system, especially cardio but a balance of natural movement, play, strength training and walking are wonderful!

Bluelight blocking
Avoiding artificial bluelight at night is so helpful, especially in the eyes by wearing amber glasses.

Sleep well
Good, deep, long sleep at night, most nights, hugely improves immunity. A cold room and earthing can help!


Aimee’s experience with really low + really good immunity


Bonus: nutrient-dense immune-boosting recipe

Offal is by far one of the best types of foods to consume to help improve immune function and overall health and well-being. Packed full of essential and bio-available minerals animal organs such as heart, liver and kidney are worth bringing into the family diet but we know that can be challenging as we have personal experience with hating offal and slowly getting more and more used to it then eventually loving it!

So we’re here to help and a great recipe to try is beef mince and liver patties, along with an optional tomato sauce recipe which is there mostly for the really sensitive/picky eaters who need to drown out the meat flavour with sauce! The patties with a side of pastured eggs is a far better option but the sauce could get you over the line getting family members just eating offal, and that’s a win in our books!

Check out the recipe here

If eating offal isn’t an option, or if you and the kids can only manage a little (which may not be enough), another option is to take offal capsules. We’ve recently started doing this and are noticing instant improvements to our health. It saves buying and cooking offal, so it’s definitely a convenience option.

Check out the website for our friends at Ancestral Nutrition and stay tuned for another blog all about our experience with offal whole and supplements!


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 + 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 don’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.

👣 Balance for Kids: the importance of this skill + how to help kids become better at it

Balance is like a muscle. If we don’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… 😉 (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.

𝙎𝙤𝙢𝙚 𝙗𝙚𝙣𝙚𝙛𝙞𝙩𝙨 𝙤𝙛 𝙜𝙤𝙤𝙙 𝙗𝙖𝙡𝙖𝙣𝙘𝙚 𝙞𝙣𝙘𝙡𝙪𝙙𝙚:

– 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 𝙝𝙖𝙨 𝙨𝙤𝙢𝙚 𝙖𝙙𝙫𝙞𝙘𝙚 𝙤𝙣 𝙝𝙤𝙬 𝙩𝙤 𝙩𝙚𝙡𝙡 𝙞𝙛 𝙮𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙘𝙝𝙞𝙡𝙙 𝙝𝙖𝙨 𝙥𝙧𝙤𝙗𝙡𝙚𝙢𝙨 𝙬𝙞𝙩𝙝 𝙗𝙖𝙡𝙖𝙣𝙘𝙚 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙘𝙤𝙤𝙧𝙙𝙞𝙣𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣…

If a child has difficulties with balance and coordination they might:
– Fall easily, trip often or can’t ‘recover’ quickly from being off balance
– Move stiffly (e.g. run like a ‘robot’)
– 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? 🤔

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 👍

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.


𝙏𝙞𝙥𝙨 𝙤𝙣 𝙜𝙚𝙩𝙩𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙠𝙞𝙙𝙨 𝙗𝙖𝙡𝙖𝙣𝙘𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙬𝙞𝙩𝙝𝙤𝙪𝙩 𝙨𝙝𝙤𝙚𝙨 𝙤𝙣:

– 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 don’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.

𝟭. 𝗦𝘁𝗿𝗲𝗻𝗴𝘁𝗵 + 𝗦𝘁𝗮𝗯𝗶𝗹𝗶𝘁𝘆. 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!

𝟮. 𝗘𝗮𝗿𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴. 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 ‘good’ brands) essentially blindfold the feet and greatly restricts movement. There are now plenty of companies offering ‘natural’ 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 can’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 Earth’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 don’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 🙂

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 don’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.

Be a hands on teacher

I was at the children’s playground one day with my niece and nephew, and being the big kid I am, I decided to climb a tree. You’ll never guess what happened…19

There’s  no doubting the importance of free range time for children when it comes to learning and discovering the world around them,  but I believe there’s something much less spoken about, albeit equally important.  Their thoughts, behaviours and beliefs are largely influenced by their parents. Parental actions, words and behaviours play a huge role in kids’ development and are highly beneficial in all aspects of life.

Children are the world’s biggest sponge.

They observe you, the babysitter, the TV.. all the words, beliefs and actions and will mimic a lot of it.

Do you have doubts about this?  Then, have you ever seen your child cling to your mobile phone like you do? Or drop the occasional swear word… just like daddy (of course)? Or do something around the house the way you do it?

 

While we have to watch what we do around these little spies, we can use it to our advantage, to give them a good start in life, physically and mentally.  The best part is we really don’t have to teach the children anything! Just be mindful of our own actions and words, let them observe what we’re doing and the lessons we want them to lean, and allow their curious nature to do its thing.

Some positive things that you can deliberately teach your children through allowing them to observe you are:

  • Less screen time
  • The importance of outdoor play for children and adults. Remember that the “I’m too big to play” line is burning an impression into their brains
  • It’s ok to fall over. In fact, you can make it quite a celebrated achievement, and therefore confidence around it, with the right attitude!
  • It’s ok to get wet and dirty!
  • How to handle adversity. The “she’ll be right” attitude to help them get over upsetting situations quicker and be less impacted in the future
  • Empathy for themselves and others
  • Balancing and agility, jumping, climbing… basically more confidence moving in everyday life
  • How to build and fix things
  • Conflict resolution
  • More appreciation for nature and the environment
  • How to form and grow positive relationships

Really the list of positive things you can let your child observe is endless.   Children are watching and absorbing information regardless of whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing.  We might as well take it into our own hands as much as possible and not the media’s

Oh and about that tree I was climbing… Once I had enough of climbing, I decided to sit down.  I must have left quite a big impression because not long after I’d sat down I noticed the number of kids who left the real playground equipment to climb trees.

_2014_PI_139It was amazing!

 

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 don’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.

Working with kids to help them reach their full potential

I’m pretty excited to say I have my first Private Kids Coaching 1-on-1 student! Yay! So I thought I’d take this opportunity to explain in a bit more detail what I do. From a distance, it may simply look like two kids just playing (me being the big kid!) but the reality is there is so much more than just play happening. The first contact I have before I start working with a child is with the parents. This initial chat helps me understand who I’ll be working with; such as the child’s personality, health challenges, general likes and dislikes as well as gathering information around why they think their child needs to train with me.  Communication with parents is an extremely important element of the children’s training so we know we are working towards the same goals and are on the same page. We then tee up a 30min intro session where I meet the child, chat with them and introduce them to some games and natural movements. This is a chance for me to get to know them, to make a connection, and to see where they’re at physically and emotionally with movement – I can see what they’re capable of and what needs improving. From the first moment I meet the children, I am mentally taking notes of how they interact, for example, are they shy, excited, tired, uninterested etc? This initial meeting often dictates how I am going to interact from then on. Say they’re really shy, I need to back off a bit to try and build rapport and earn some trust. If on the other hand, they’re excited and friendly, I need to match my intensity with their excitement level.Once I think I’ve established some rapport with them I start to introduce them to my games.  These games are suitable and modified to suit their current needs and ability level.  At this point again my mental notepad is working over time. I’m noticing how they’re responding to the game, if can they do it easily or with difficulty, if they’re getting bored or frustrated, and how they’re moving in general. If I detect some consistent movement struggles, I will give some suggestions on how to move a little better, than allow them to try again.  I find with children, it’s not about movement perfection, but allowing them the space to develop better skills.  One of the goals of the sessions is to get children outside playing and having fun increasing fitness and Once I think I’ve established some rapport with them I start to introduce them to my games.  These games are suitable and modified to suit their current needs and ability level.  At this point again my mental notepad is working over time. I’m noticing how they’re responding to the game, if can they do it easily or with difficulty, if they’re getting bored or frustrated, and how they’re moving in general. If I detect some consistent movement struggles, I’ll give some suggestions on how to move a little better, then allow them to try again.  I find with children, it’s not about movement perfection, but allowing them the space to develop better skills in a less structured and specific manner. One of the main goals with these sessions is to get children outside playing, having fun, increasing fitness and self-confidence. It’s not about gaining really specific skills and techniques. This mental note taking continues through the whole session as I continually change, adapt and modify the games according to the child. Once the session is finished we sit down and have a casual chat. Here I often find out what they liked most, what they didn’t like and why.  This allows me to change things around for next week’s session to help achieve maximum results and create a general program in my head for the amount of time we’ll be working together. From the outside it may look like play, but in reality every game, every movement and every conversation is working towards the bigger picture of helping them achieve their maximum potential. I really enjoy working with kids, and find it both challenging and rewarding working with those experiencing behavioral issues such as ADHD and Autism. I don’t specialise in these areas but I’ve seen positive results and received fantastic feedback from parents when I’ve worked with these children and it’s made me realise how beneficial what I do is for them. I recently introduced Private Kids Coaching to my list of Health + Fitness Coaching services and am so excited to have started working with local kids. I’m looking forward to meeting and working with many more! If you have any questions for me about what I do please contact me via email info@primalinfluence.com or via the website here and I’d be happy to chat to you. Thanks for reading! 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 don’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.

Become a Movement Hunter

Movement.  It’s what we have a brain for and it’s fundamentally who we are. Without movement we’re dead. movement evolution And with very little good movement and so much time spent being sedentary and in poor posture, we’re sick, injured, sore and tired. laziness So, if this is the case, why do so many people have such a hard time getting movement into their day and week?  Why is the world around us setting us up with opportunities and means to do less movement than ever before?  One thing I know for sure is it’s making us sicker and weaker.  Sure our overall life expectancy has risen, humans are living longer, but what kind of life is it if we struggle to move our body in the most basic of ways?  I’ve decided I am definitely not going to go down the path of limited movement and becoming decrepit when I’m in my older years.  I’ve made a conscious choice to  take control of my life and become a “movement hunter”. A movement hunter is someone who actively seeks out opportunities to move, compared with  most humans who let modern comforts and laziness rule. Every single person living right now has the opportunity to become a movement hunter! Most people today have limited movement opportunities throughout their day and think that movement needs to be in the form of exercise to be effective and drive results in the improvement of health and fitness. For example, it’s a general belief that 30 mins gym time a day is required, or 20 mins a few times a week at home performing pushups, crunches and following a workout DVD is essential, or that going for a 40 minute run with the heart rate being in a particular range is the key to good fitness and weight. These people are stuck inside a box and these perceptions are flawed and limiting. It’s sad humans nowadays need to make an effort to seek out general and truly beneficial movement, but it’s just how it is. And more people need to be aware of this. Job search So many of us as adults are lacking imagination and creativity because of our lazy lifestyles and how quick and easy we access what we want to have thanks to the internet and modern comforts. But it really doesn’t take much searching to find more ways to enjoy more mindful movement in our day! The best thing about becoming a movement hunter is that you open your eyes up to the endless movement possibilities.  Really the only limit to movement is your imagination and the more movement you do now, the better off you’ll be in the long run.  So allowing yourself to generate curiosity, imagination and creativity when it comes to movement, which may feel kind of  challenging at first, will be worth the effort later on. Becoming a movement hunter really isn’t a hard task, but it may cause some minor inconvenience and may slow you down a little. But is that really such a bad thing in such a fast-paced world? We think not! For a year or so now, Aimee and I have been seeking ways to gain more movement within our day-to-day lives on top of the times we set aside specifically for play and natural movement sessions. Some of the ways we’ve adopted the movement hunter lifestyle include:-
  • Sitting on the floor more often and sitting on the lounge less often. Sitting on the floor forces our bodies to change positions frequently as floor sitting can become uncomfortable quicky. Removing the ‘prop’ allows our body to give us accurate feedback and signals of when adjustments need to be made. We’re not relying on the comfort of a lounge to do all the work for us, our muscles, joints and mind are getting a workout while we sit on the floor, and the muscles, joints and mind benefit greatly from that!
sitting 1
  • Sleeping on a thin mattress on the floor. This makes us get up from a lying down position instead of just putting our feet down onto the floor. It means our joints are getting more full-range movements and we’re more capable humans because we can easily get from lying down to standing whenever we need or want to.
bed
  • Walking to the shops instead of driving. We often leave the car at home and walk to the grocery store, markets and butcher. This allows us to get the benefits of walking, fresh air, good conversation time and we see and experience more because there’s always something interesting to see when out and about!
  • Adding to that one.. we carry a basket at the shops instead of using a shopping trolley, then carry our groceries home in eco-bags.
Healthy-Shopping bags
  • Putting the washing basket on the ground outside while hanging wet washing instead of on a trolley at waist height. This makes us have to bend down to pick clothes up so we get a full range of movement in from such a low position to then high when reaching to peg washing to the line.
  • Placing pieces of string between door frames, forcing us to step over each time we want to enter and exit the rooms. This stepping over motion is great for the hip joint, lower back, ankles, knees, basically the entire lower body, as well as the brain because we have to stop and think about it each time. The brain like this!
step over 3   step over 2   step over 1
  • And just for fun and as an experiment… placing pieces of string between walkways to then be able to crawl under to get to where we want to go. We did this recently for a week in the lounge room so every time we wanted to get to the lounge area we had no choice but to crawl. It wasn’t the most convenient method of getting more movement but it was challenging, enjoyable and beneficial. We’re going to use this tool as a sometimes option, taking it down when we want to but making a conscious effort to place it back up and crawl regularly.
crawling 1 crawling 2 As you can see adopting a movment hunter attitude is really easy to implement. There are many more ways in which you can do it other than the ideas we’ve mentioned above, you just need to switch that creativity on in your brain, get it working and come up with some ways you can add more functional movement into your own life. One of movement ‘gurus’ we look up to and greatly respect, Rafe Kelley, coincidentally, posted a video to his Facebook page while I was writing this blog post, about this very same topic. Talk about timing! Watch here for more inspiration on how to add more movement to your day The challenge though is to stick with it.  After time these adjustments will become second nature, if you let them. Don’t become/stay a slave to laziness and the negative effects too much comfort can have. Hunt some more movement, enjoy the journey and reap the benefits! If you decide to become a movement hunter I’d love to hear about it!  Please share any photos on our Facebook page or tag us in Instagram! Thanks for reading! 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 don’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

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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

This blog pro­vides gen­eral infor­ma­tion and dis­cus­sion about med­i­cine, health and related sub­jects.  The words and other con­tent pro­vided in this blog, and in any linked mate­ri­als, are not intended and should not be con­strued as med­ical advice. If the reader or any other per­son has a med­ical con­cern, he or she should con­sult with an appropriately-licensed physi­cian or other health care worker.

Never dis­re­gard pro­fes­sional med­ical advice or delay in seek­ing it because of some­thing you have read on this blog or in any linked materials. If you think you may have a med­ical emer­gency, call your doc­tor or 000 immediately.

The views expressed on this blog and web­site have no rela­tion to those of any academic, hospital, practice or other insti­tu­tion with which the authors are  affiliated.

 

Kids and nature… it should be a no-brainer

Well.. you and I might realise that kids absolutely need nature for their health and happiness, but sadly.. not everyone does.

So we are on a mission. To organise a FREE screening of the doco Project Wild Thing on the Sunshine Coast, with the hopes of reaching lots of parents, educators and anyone else who cares about the health of our kids’ so we can spread the awareness around nature being so crucial for children’s long-term health and wellness.

One of the ways we’re doing this is by raising money at events we hold. On Sunday we held the first… a FAMILY FUN AND PLAY DAY at Point Cartwright. We had about 20 or so people there over the course of the morning and it was a great day out!

We started with a group of kids and adults joining in on Clint’s Primal Play session on the beach; all barefoot, all getting sun and fresh air, all moving their body’s naturally, and all having lots of fun!

Luckily the sun came out for the occasion and with it came some humidity so the location was perfect for play on the sand then a swim to cool off!

Clint took everyone through a variety of natural movements and games including Up Down No Hands, Hip Tiggy, Partner Tug O War, Crab Walking, Crawling, Tiggy and more. It was suitable for all ages and all fitness levels and it was great to see so many people from all walks of life joining in and having a great time!

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After the beach fun we headed to the park, found some shade and set up for a Sensory Connection activity.

It’s easy to have a good time outside in nature when playing at the beach or going for a bushwalk and to head home feeling happier and rejuvenated but most people don’t realise we can get even more health benefits from nature, that can have a longer lasting effect, by making more of a connection with what’s around us.

I wanted to show everyone how they can use nature and simple natural objects to fully indulge the senses and get a more beneficial and uplifting experience.

I’d gathered some items I found on the beach and took the group through a full sensory indulgence session to help them learn to engage their brain in a positive way, without electronic stimulants, in a way that’s really natural and innate for humans. Everyone seemed more relaxed but also more focused afterwards which was terrific and hopefully it’ll help them get more benefit from nature in the future.

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Next… it was time to FEAST!

We were lucky enough to have some fabulous food donated by some very generous and kind local small businesses and we all enjoyed a delicious healthy picnic lunch!

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Paleo sausages from Off the Bone Butcher and onion on the BBQ with some Free Organic coconut oil went down a treat!

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It was great to see everyone chatting and getting to know each other.  Des from Off the Bone Butcher and Andrea had a good chat, while Des’s partner Naomi and Matt from Peachester Farm pastured chickens formed hopefully a new working relationship behind. Matt provided us with a few roast organic chooks which were absolutely amazing!

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With the whole point of the day being to raise money for Project Wild Thing we were delighted to see the jar filling up with cash! It helped too that Off the Bone Butcher donated a $50 voucher to raffle off!!

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Dig in everyone, grub’s up! Salad from Sunshine Organics, paleo sausages, organic roast chickens and yummy bars from At One.. what more could we ask for?!

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My plate! So good, I was so full after!!

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And the winner of the raffle is… <drum roll> … Brenton! Who happens to be Clint’s client and was at another event next to ours but bought a ticket on the day!! Congrats Brenton, enjoy your meat buy!

 

We packed up at about 2pm, with full bellies, pink noses from all the sun, and hopefully all feeling happy! With $150 in the jar, Clint and I are really grateful for everyone who came along and their generosity, including our amazing sponsors and the families who joined in on all the activities. Thank you everyone!!

 

Just $350 left to raise now, so if you’d like to contribute you can keep an eye out on our Facebook page for more events to come along to, or book in for the Primal Trial Pack with Clint of 2x 30 min intro sessions for $10 here
Find out about the movie here

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Help spread the word so we can get this screening happening on the Sunshine Coast soon.. share this blog post with your friends, family and colleagues!

Thanks for your support 🙂

Aimee x

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!

 

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,  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.

 

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.

 

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 🙂

 

Thanks for reading!

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 don’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.