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Before beginning the HumanaNatura technique of Natural Exercise, please carefully read the Introduction section of the HumanaNatura Personal Health Program and be sure to consult with your health care provider.
Once we begin to transform our health and fitness through HumanaNatura’s initial technique of Natural Eating, bringing Natural Exercise to our lives is the next foundational step in the HumanaNatura natural health system. The technique of Natural Exercise helps us to restore essential dimensions of earlier human life and works to further increase the vitality and quality of our modern lives.
Like Natural Eating, the daily practice of Natural Exercise reflects an important underlying physiological requirement of our natural health, in this case to ensure the critical process of natural conditioning that is common to all naturally healthy life. We need only go without sufficient exercise, or practice unnatural or overly narrowed forms of it, to confirm our strong need for this conditioning — and the strengthening and renewal of our bodies and minds it naturally provides.
Importantly, Natural Exercise does more than simply increase our physical fitness and personal vitality. As is the case with Natural Eating, the technique of Natural Exercise equally enables larger opportunities for progressive natural health and well-being in our lives.
When practiced consistently and attentively, Natural Exercise affords important insights into ourselves and our health, the natural world around and within us, and the essential nature of human life itself. Natural Exercise deepens our interest in our health and increases our capacity to explore health-centered life more generally. And Natural Exercise provides important opportunities for the natural enjoyment of life, for health-essential experiences of the natural world, and for more satisfying and supportive relationships with others.
Defining Natural Exercise
To put Natural Exercise in context, we might say that Natural Eating takes us through the threshold of our natural health, and that Natural Exercise propels us more deeply and even forcefully into higher realization and awareness of our health and well-being potential.
As you will learn in this section of the program, Natural Exercise strengthens and revitalizes us in ways that are both predictable and often unexpected. Natural Exercise normally alters us physically, physiologically, and psychologically, markedly improving our personal fitness and sense of well-being.
As significantly, Natural Exercise readies us for robust and deliberate health-centered daily life more generally, and for the higher states of personal health and progressive modern life now available to us — through the lifelong and lifewide technique of applied health science that HumanaNatura calls Natural Living.
For these important reasons, Natural Exercise is the second essential technique in HumanaNatura’s natural health system and a critical part of our Personal Health Program. At this point, you may be wondering exactly what we mean by Natural Exercise and how it differs from other forms of exercise. To answer this important question, let’s provide two simple but insightful definitions.
First, when HumanaNatura talks about Natural Exercise, we mean simply an intentional system of modern physical activities designed to efficiently and optimally ensure natural human conditioning. Second, when we use the term natural conditioning, we mean to call attention to the way in which any organism’s natural life and activity patterns normally work to strengthen and revitalize its evolved anatomy and metabolic processes, promoting physical, physiological, neurological, and psychological health. Natural conditioning is a key way that natural life ensures natural health.
We will discuss and explain natural human conditioning in more depth next, but want to underscore that Natural Exercise does more than promote physical fitness. It equally and critically encourages a broader, richer, and more natural experience of daily life, oneself, others, and the world more broadly.
As you will learn in practice, the HumanaNatura technique of Natural Exercise is similar to Natural Eating in that it is science-based in principle and remarkably simple and intuitive in practice. Where Natural Exercise differs from Natural Eating, however, is in the greater demands it places on us, both physically and practically.
But if Natural Exercise is more demanding, we would add that it also offers much greater opportunities for personal growth and development, and for transformation of our health and health awareness. These increased opportunities come from the more vigorous actions, broader natural experiences, and altered world relationship that Natural Exercise works to foster in us.
Conditioning in nature
As we discussed in the Our Past section of the program, earlier humans living in wild nature were active and highly social gathering and hunting animals. As descendents in the roughly two hundred million year-old mammalian line of animal life on earth, we naturally lived communally in small bands and had an ancient pattern of health-promoting daily behaviors and activities specific to our lineage and ecological niche.
Our own species, Homo sapiens, is rooted in a line of primates and hominids shaped first by perhaps 40 million years of communal life in trees and tropical forests, and more recently by roughly ten million years exploring and then fully dwelling on open grasslands as increasingly upright bipedal apes.
In our five million year, fully human life of natural foraging in small bands on the savannahs of Africa, humans were energetic, mobile, and highly fit animals. Our pre-agrarian ancestors used physical agility, mental prowess, social cooperation, and simple technology to live and succeed alongside truly formidable grassland animals, ones that were often much larger and more physically powerful than us.
Like all other animals in wild nature, humans are naturally evolved for a particular ecological niche and general pattern of life, including a specific average scope, duration, and intensity of physical activity each day.
For us, this physical activity of course includes extensive walking, owing to our earlier nomadic life regularly seeking new temporary encampments and dally gathering, hunting, and scouting. Our natural activity also includes important behaviors related to play, nurturing and teaching, and display and mating. And our natural activities include defensive and aggressive behaviors to protect and advance ourselves and our social groups.
To be naturally healthy and fit, in the full sense that we can be these things, we require essential aspects of this natural range of human physical activity each day. In other words, we need to live in ways that are consistent with, or at least considerate of, the physical demands and life patterns of our long natural evolutionary development in wild nature, if we are to maintain and optimize our natural health amid modern life.
On this point, we would add that we also need to live in ways that are socially, experientially, and even aesthetically consistent with our evolutionary development — thereby aligning ourselves with other critical natural human health dimensions, ones that we will take up and explain in the Natural Living section of the program.
As we can quickly and directly validate for ourselves, when our natural activity patterns are limited or distorted, our health, fitness, and well-being inevitably suffer, just as they do when our larger environment is significantly de-naturalized. When we lose our physical vitality through prolonged inactivity, or unbalanced activity, our natural feelings of physical and emotional harmony, our innate human delight in life and the world, and our natural impulses to healthy life all decline, and seemingly in proportion to our estrangement from natural life.
Exercise is essential and liberating
Humans, as naturally-evolved animals, need adequate natural conditioning — an essential daily range of natural physical activities — as an integral part of the way we live in our modern setting. This is unavoidable if we are to become and remain optimally healthy, physically and emotionally well, and optimally adaptive and engaged in our outlooks and lives.
Living in pervasive conditions of social health rather than natural health today, many of us greatly underestimate the impact of ensuring natural conditioning on the quality of our health and lives. Lacking adequate natural physical and emotional fitness, we circularly can be unaware of or unconsciously devalue the far more robust state of life engendered by natural conditioning.
Ironically, we generally do this even as the heightened relative state of life from natural conditioning is quickly achieved and enjoyably maintained throughout our lives. And even as natural conditioning is time-creating — through the expanded and renewed perspectives, and greater efficiency, effectiveness, and adaptiveness, that it reliably brings to the totality of our lives.
In this way, we frequently fail to appreciate or greatly underestimate the power and essential need for Natural Exercise to achieve vigorous and naturally vibrant and successful human life. We are unaware of how the technique of Natural Exercise reliably engenders profound new perspectives on our lives and new natural harmony with the world around us. And we lack practical experience of the degree to which both our physical health and emotional well-being are curtailed when we live without adequate natural conditioning.
Optimizing daily exercise
There are of course many ways to promote our natural fitness and vitality through exercise, and numerous approaches for assuring a full and complimentary range of natural physical activities in our lives. Moderate aerobic exercise, dance, yoga, gymnastics, martial arts, wrestling, water sports, and many other common forms of exercise, and even moderately demanding and varied physical labor, all can be excellent ways of promoting partial or complete natural conditioning.
These activities also can be useful ways of maintaining a supportive network of friends who share our health goals and personal interests, and for developing a skilled practice in our lives, steps that can help us to more broadly further our health and lives. But it is important to point out that only a minority of these activities intentionally aim at assuring optimal natural conditioning, and even fewer offer extended and attentive experiences of the natural world – an essential attribute of natural life and health that can be a made a part of exercise and used to greatly increase its impact on our health and quality of life.
In the context of this program, it is therefore worth considering several important questions, as we think through the challenge of creating a natural and optimal modern exercise program. These questions address essential considerations in meeting our overall goals for the HumanaNatura technique of Natural Exercise. These goals include: 1) uncovering and better understanding our underlying exercise requirements to ensure natural conditioning and health, 2) finding techniques that efficiently and directly provide natural conditioning and promote optimal health, and 3) structuring exercise to enable the pursuit and maintenance of natural health and well-being across and throughout our lives.
With these goals in mind, the following questions are ones we have considered at length and will help you understand why the HumanaNatura technique of Natural Exercise is specifically structured the way it is:
- Which widely-available forms of exercise are closest to our earlier activity patterns in wild nature, and thus likely to be highly advantageous for us and even help to reconnect us to essential aspects of natural life?
- What are the most efficient ways to practically structure human exercise to achieve adequate, complete, and well-proportioned levels of natural conditioning?
- What types and levels of exercise have been found by modern research to be most beneficial for us — best promoting health, fitness, and positive emotions, encouraging quality of life and longevity, and presenting the fewest risks of injury and undesirable side-effects over the course of a long life?
- What types of exercise are most readily and enjoyably performed by people — easily, directly, alone or with others, and without significant cost?
- What exercises are most sustainable, most flexible and portable, and capable of being performed at different levels of intensity, and most readily made a lifelong part of our modern lives?
HumanaNatura’s Natural Exercise technique seeks to optimally address all of these important questions, building upon our technique of Natural Eating and, in turn, working to enable and motivate added exploration of our natural health and well-being through the more advanced HumanaNatura techniques of Natural Living and Natural Communities.
Exercise for progressive life
As you will see next and learn firsthand in practice, HumanaNatura’s Natural Exercise technique — based simply, naturally, and entirely on walking and calisthenics — provides an efficient, flexible, and lifelong means of promoting high levels of natural health and conditioning, which other life activities can then complement.
As suggested, HumanaNatura’s approach to Natural Exercise is intended not only to physically condition and physiologically renew us, but also to reconnect us to our natural experience and sense of physical harmony and personal vitality in the world — and similarly to restore our natural emotional strength and readiness for creative action in our lives. All of these attributes are essential aspects of our natural health and together create a new modern foundation for progressive health-centered human life.
Importantly, we would add that HumanaNatura’s Natural Exercise technique is intended to be a daily practice, forming an integral and essential part of our lives. The technique seeks to balance the amount of time we spend in exercise each day with the overall impact of this activity on our health and quality of life.
Natural Exercise also brings essential natural human activity patterns back into our life, reawakening us to the power and pleasure of natural human life, our natural physical fitness and autonomy, and our natural place in and outlook on the larger world.