29 Oct Appearance on the Cold Feet Podcast: Intention, Progression and Dedication in Youth Athletes
Every morning I go for a barefoot walk.
Each time I perform this daily ritual, I am transfixed by the sunrise and feel so incredibly at peace, as I admire the tranquility of nature, and the canvas of orange and hot pink brushed across the sky.
Nature is downright beautiful.
I am grateful for all of the treasures it brings, from the medicine from the sun and the plants, to the gift of daily movement, to the calming of the nervous system from the lush greens.
I love nature and I truly believe it can be used as a potent tool for athletic development in youth athletes. Things as simple as:
– Getting outside barefoot to work on foot strength and ankle mobility
– Walking and hiking to build coordination and endurance
– Sun bathing to boost serotonin and immune function
– Climbing on trees to bolster upper body strength
– Sprinting through the forest with friends to improve max velocity
There are endless ways to use nature for physical development, but these should be things as a non-negotiable part of one’s life. Truth is, none of this is training. Hiking isn’t training. Walking isn’t training. Climbing isn’t training. It is pure, innate movement that all should be implementing as human beings on Planet Earth.
Training, rather, is loading in an organized, progressed setting, and it is just as valuable as the daily movement kids do for a lifetime. The movement they do in nature is the foundation to the more advanced movements in the gym. They’re so balanced, coordinated, and pliable that things like Squats, Pull-Ups, and Deadlifts come with more ease.
Movement is medicine. And it’s also progression.
The loaded effort is the icing on the cake so young athletes can build strength, power and speed, and become more injury resilient. The hamstrings, quadriceps, gluteals, and all of the muscles that support the most precarious joints must be stimulated and challenged.
Recently, I did a podcast with performance coach, Sean Haber, on the integration of natural movement and loaded movement. Both are necessary for athletes to reach their potential and grow into robust human beings.
You can LISTEN HERE.
Buckle up. It’s about a two hour conversation. Just two exercise science nerds talking about nature, physics, biomechanics, and psychology.
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