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Natural Exercise

Before beginning natural exercise, please carefully read the Introduction section of
the HumanaNatura health program and be sure to consult with your health care
provider.
Once we begin to enhance our health through a natural diet, natural exercise is our
next step. Like natural eating, natural exercise is a practical necessity and
foundation for reaching higher levels of natural health. Natural exercise, like natural
eating, also contains important learnings about ourselves and our health, and
provides similar opportunities for enjoyment and discovery in its practice.
If natural eating takes us through the threshold of natural health, natural exercise
propels us more deeply and even forcefully into our health. Natural exercise
strengthens and revitalizes us, physically and psychologically, improving our
stamina and expanding our capability for engagement and perseverance in the
pursuit of our health and fuller life. Natural exercise, in truth, readies us for higher
and more demanding challenges and pathways, ones that take us directly to the
truth of our own natural health and the opportunities we have for personal renewal
and new forms of living.
When we talk about natural exercise, we mean simply a series of physical activities
that efficiently promote conditioning and fitness and a more natural experience of
life, by reproducing essential aspects of our ancient human activity patterns in
nature. As you will see, like a natural diet, natural exercise is remarkably
straightforward in concept and simple in practice. Where natural exercise differs,
however, is in the greater demands it makes of us physically. If natural exercise is
more demanding, it also offers a much higher potential for personal growth and
development in its practice.
As we have discussed already, humans in nature are intelligent gathering and
hunting animals active, mobile, highly social, using our physical agility and mental
prowess to compete and succeed. Like all other animals, we are designed and
optimized for a specific range and intensity of physical activities. To be healthy and
fit, in every sense of these words, we require this natural physical activity in our
lives, activity consistent with the conditions of our evolutionary development.
Whenever our natural activity patterns are reduced or distorted, our health and
fitness inevitably suffer. When we lose our physical vitality through prolonged
inactivity, or unbalanced activity, our delight in living and natural impulses to health
and well-being decline as well. Physically, emotionally, and even spiritually, we need
adequate physical conditioning as an integral part of the way we live.
There are, of course, many ways to maintain our natural fitness through exercise.
Team sports, moderate aerobic activities, dance, martial arts, wrestling, yoga, water
sports, and other forms of exercise are all great ways of promoting our natural
health and also of maintaining a network of friends with similar interests.

In the context of an exploration of natural health, however, it is worth asking a series


of questions when with think about the challenge of building a truly natural, and even
optimal, personal exercise program:

What are the most efficient ways to structure human exercise to achieve
natural and balanced levels of physical conditioning?

Which exercises are closest to our activity patterns in wild nature, and best
re-connect us to the physical experience of human living in nature?

What exercises are readily performed by most people, simply, directly, easily,
alone or with others, and without significant cost?

What exercises are most sustainable, most flexible, and most readily made a
lifelong part of our lives?

HumanaNaturas natural exercise program seeks to answer these questions,


building upon the foundation of a natural diet and, in turn, enabling still deeper
exploration of our natural health.
The HumanaNatura exercise program provides a simple, efficient, flexible, and
sustainable means of promoting extremely high levels of health and physical
conditioning, which other activities can complement. Ultimately, these exercises
walking and calisthenics work to reconnect us to our natural sense of physical
completeness and place in the natural world, both essential attributes of our natural
health.
Our natural exercise program is intended to be a daily exercise program, forming an
integral part of our lives. It seeks to balance the amount of time spent each day in
exercise with the overall impact of this activity on our health and well-being. Most
importantly, our exercise program brings important natural human activity patterns
back into our daily life, reawakening us to the natural power and pleasure of our
physical health and place in nature.
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Exercise Principles
The HumanaNatura natural exercise program is based on five principles:
1. The active human body, when engaged in a natural range of physical
activities, will automatically maintain itself at high levels of fitness through
natural physiological mechanisms. We call this process, natural
conditioning.
2. A well-designed daily exercise program can ensure natural conditioning,
greatly enhancing our physical fitness, while requiring only a small amount of
time each day.
3. All exercise programs should be balanced to fulfill four complementary
goals: aerobic conditioning, strengthening, improved flexibility, and increased
agility or coordination.
4. Exercises that emphasize whole body movements are generally the most
efficient and effective forms of exercise, since they promote natural
conditioning simultaneously across large areas of our body.
5. An exercise program should be adaptable to each individual, allowing for
increased or decreased duration and intensity based on our overall
readiness for exercise, on a day-to-day basis and over the course of our
lives.
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Walking And Calisthenics


Utilizing the exercise principles we have outlined, the HumanaNatura natural
exercise program has been designed with two major components:

Daily Walking - 30 minutes or more of walking or hiking each day

Daily Calisthenics - 10 minutes or more of calisthenics exercises 5-7 days


per week

As you will learn in practice, daily walking and calisthenics are complementary
forms of exercise. They are effective methods to achieve natural conditioning and
promote high states of health and fitness. Both exercises greatly improve our
overall physical stamina, expand our connection to our surroundings and the
natural world, and enrich and enhance most other activities in our lives.
Walking and calisthenics each involve natural human movement and are consistent
with the exercise goals and principles we have discussed. They are both simple,
flexible forms of exercise that most of us can perform throughout our lives, at many
different levels of intensity. And because of their efficiency, they allow us to spend
as little as 40 minutes a day in exercise and still achieve high levels of natural
conditioning and health enhancement.
Detailed overviews of the walking and calisthenics programs are provided next,
including instructions and photos for the calisthenics workout. Please also see the
Resources section of the HumanaNatura website for information on downloading a
poster containing the calisthenics photos.
We encourage you to explore the HumanaNatura natural exercise program for
yourself and discover how easily it can become an integral and permanent part of
your daily life. You will quickly understand the power that natural exercise can have,
enhancing your health and fitness, and increasing your personal connection to the
world around you.
After a natural diet, natural exercise is the next key step toward the transformative
levels of natural health that are available to us. Natural exercise is essential to
develop the momentum, and personal strength and stamina, to approach the third
and most far-reaching challenge in restoring our natural health natural living.
Good luck with the exercise program!
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Walking Program
When our ancestors in nature gathered and hunted their food, or moved on the land
to seek desirable encampments, they were inevitably on foot. On two feet to be

precise. Humans are bipeds, and bipedal movement, walking, is central to the story
of how our species succeeded in nature and came to be who we are today. Humans
are remarkable animals in so many ways and our ability to walk upright is one of our
most notable attributes.
Humans are walking animals, as much as we are social animals or thinking animals.
As proof, we would point out that humans can walk great distances without injury
and, in fact, often with great benefit to our physical and emotional health. And when
we do not walk, even if we engage in other forms of exercise, our emotional balance,
our sense of freedom and connection with the greater world around us, and our
innate feeling of naturalness are all diminished to varying degrees.
Walking underlies so much of human existence that it is hard to avoid altogether. But
in society today, especially in industrial society where mechanized travel abounds
and there are great obstacles to walking, it is very easy not to walk nearly enough.
This makes it hard to maintain our natural health and fitness, and to ensure our
natural connection to and sense of scale and place in the world around us. We suffer
more from this constraint than we may realize.
As people, we need the physical and mental stimulation that walking provides. We
need the unfolding landscapes, changing horizons and vistas, and new places and
chance encounters that all are integral parts of walking. We need the feel of the
wind and sun and even rain on our bodies, the clouds and stars passing above us.
Walking, outdoors and ideally in wild nature, provides an essential experience of
what we are as human beings. It helps us to understand how we developed and
succeeded in nature, and restores our natural human psyche. Walking re-connects
us with the world at large, with others and other species, and nourishes our natural
instincts and curiosity to seek growth and new connections in our lives.
Without regular walking, our bodies weaken and our spirits become dulled and
restless. The natural movement and sensory stimulation that walking provides, the
time spent outdoors in nature, the physical exertion and covering of terrain, and the
new experiences that walking opens up for us are all basic to who we are as people
and critical to our natural health and vitality.
As we begin the deliberate practice of walking, two important questions inevitably
arise:

How frequently should we walk? Our best advice is as often as possible.


By this we mean every day, more than every day if possible, if you have the
time and stamina. We encourage you to walk everywhere you can, to get out
of doors and experience the natural power and energy of a good walk
whenever you can. Walk when you feel restless. Walk when you feel
exhilarated. Walk in town and in the country. Walk up hills and over them.
Walk with friends and family. Walk alone. Walk as recreation and as more
than recreation, even as meditation. Walk as an integral part of your life, as a
defining act of who and what you are. Walk to get things done, and to see
people and be seen. Walk to reconnect to the environment and to the sights
and sounds that are all around us. Walk for discovery and learning. Walk

into life and for life. Walk for natural health.

How far should we walk? Our advice here will vary by person, your physical
condition, and your surroundings. But what if we said, to challenge your
thinking and perspective, as far as your body and spirit will carry you? In all
seriousness, most people greatly underestimate our ability to walk, and the
enormous positive impacts that extended walks can have on our health and
personal sense of well-being. Walking to your local market is a good start. But
walking across town, or to the next town, or across the land broadly may be
where you need to set your sights over time. Walks of a day or more allow us
to fully explore the natural conditioning, the emotional renewal, and the
enriched connection to the world that extended walks offer.

Time spent walking is, literally and figuratively, steps toward new levels of personal
health and vitality, and to new and more natural outlooks on life and our human
condition in the world today. Walking is time outdoors in nature, time nearer our
natural human state. It time with others and with other viewpoints. It is time under
sky and against earth. It is time re-discovering our natural human feelings of
personal power, engagement, adventure, and self-reliance.
Walking is exploration too, of our ability to move great distances at will and to be at
ease, to be whole and complete, on the land. It is a chance to be one with ourselves
and with nature, in movement and discovery. Walking is time in the ancient natural
world that created us and therefore offers us a returning to nature too. When
walking, we again feel and become an integral part of the natural world.
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Getting Started
As a start, try to walk outdoors at least 30 minutes a day, at a comfortable pace that
can quicken or slow with your mood and surroundings.
In your daily walks, try to walk without interruption, over a variety of terrain and in

varying locales around where you live. Walking affords both health enhancement
and exploration. Your walks should be enjoyable, a chance to experience and be a
part of the world around you.
After walking for a few weeks, you may want to begin to walk even more at least
an hour a day and then to consider making extended walks of several hours at a
time (with rest breaks) a regular part of your life. You will quickly discover how
physically invigorating and emotionally satisfying both daily and extended walks
can be, and discover how walking-friendly the world immediately around you is, or
is not.
Walking is so basic and natural for people that most of us need little coaching in it,
but there are a few important considerations before you walk:
1. As you begin your walking practice, match the intensity of your walks to your
level of stamina take time to build your strength and endurance gradually
so you can walk for life. Don't overdo it and increase your risk of injury.
2. This matching of your activity level and stamina applies both over time and
day-to-day. If you are tired or not feeling at your best, it might be a day to
rest or scale back your walking for that day. Just as the body needs activity,
it also needs rest, especially after a day or series of days of relatively intense
exercise or activity.
3. Always consider your safety. You need to walk where you are safe. This
means ideally away from or at least facing vehicular traffic. It means
taking great care at intersections, along the outer edges of curves in roads,
and in areas with uneven terrain. It means avoiding natural and humanmade dangers in your walks. It means being conscious of and carefully
selecting the time of day when you are walking and the places you are
walking to and through. It may mean walking in groups to promote safety. It
may even mean having a map and carefully planning your route for longer
walks. Be sure to be safe to walk another day!
4. Comfort and protection from the elements are essential considerations. You
will need comfortable boots, shoes, or sandals that do not irritate your feet or
expose them to harm. You will need layered clothing you can wear or carry
so that you are neither cold nor hot as you walk. You will need a hat and
other protective clothing when walking in the sun, in the cold, and in
precipitation. You will need water and food when on extended walks so that
you stay hydrated and nourished, and you will need a pack to carry your
things in so your hands and arms remain free as you walk.
5. As you begin walking regularly, pay close attention to the manner in which
you walk. Your stride should be comfortable, your hands free and arms
swinging naturally in harmony with your stride, your head level and back
straight, and you should breathe freely through your nose.
6. As your stamina builds, add variety to your walks, increasing both the
distance and intensity of your walking routes to enhance your level of fitness
and overall enjoyment from walking. Including hills in your walks is a great
way of improving the health benefits of your walks, as is walking and hiking

in natural terrain and inspiring natural places.


7. If you are in good physical condition, as an option, you can work wind sprints
into some or all of your daily walks for added natural conditioning. To do this,
first walk for at least ten minutes. Then, in an area free from hazards, pick up
your pace anywhere from a slow jog to a fast sprint for 5-30 seconds. Then
return to normal walking for a few minutes. Repeat this until moderately
winded, but do just a few wind sprints at first, as they can be very
challenging!
Walking is perhaps the most natural of human movements, and with practice and
persistence, unfolds with deeper learnings and meanings, much in the way the
landscape emerges and offers new insights in our walks themselves. In time, you
may find that walking is our greatest and most basic means of revitalizing
ourselves, of restoring ourselves and our ancient human connection to the natural
world.
Please enjoy your walks and the world that unfolds before you as you walk. Walk
purposely, even if your only destination is your natural health. Who knows, as you
reach new levels of personal health, you may one day see bold new horizons, in
the land or in your life, that call your renewing spirit forward and into them.
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Calisthenics Program
If we watch animals in nature, we see that most are physically active for hours each
day wandering, running, jumping, flying, swimming, climbing, wrestling, fighting in
feeding, play, mating, and conflict.
This activity, and high proficiency in one or more of these specific activities, usually is
essential for survival in nature. It is of course through this natural activity, in

combination with a natural diet and other aspects of life in nature, that animals
achieve natural conditioning and maintain themselves at high levels of health and
fitness.
This same need for varied and periodically intense physical activity occurs with
people too. Like all other animals, we require a range of activity, consistent with our
evolutionary lineage, to achieve natural conditioning and reach the high states of
health and fitness that is our natural state.
Observations of other omnivorous primates in the wild, such as baboons, reveal they
spend about a third of their time sleeping, and then divide their waking time between
traveling and finding food, and socializing. Occasionally, of course, our primate
cousins must run from or chase away a hungry pack of cats or dogs. It is both
impressive and insightful to watch them rise as a group to these natural challenges,
underscoring that nature affords no individual life to primates in their evolutionary
niche.
For humans, walking of course forms a key part of our natural activity pattern, but so
do many of the other activities mentioned above. To optimize our health, we need to
incorporate additional physical activity into our daily lives, beyond walking, to
reproduce our natural activity pattern and achieve complete levels of natural
conditioning.
There are many forms of exercise you might add to your walking to enhance your
fitness and achieve complete natural conditioning. The calisthenics exercises that
follow are intended to provide a balanced and extremely efficient exercise program,
working your entire body for added conditioning in just minutes a day to complement
your walking and other life activities.
The word calisthenics comes from the Greek words 'kallos' for beauty and 'thenos' for
strength. Calisthenics are an old, simple, flexible, and very effective form of human
exercise. As you will learn in practice, calisthenics do indeed bring us both beauty and
strength, and greatly enhance our physical fitness and personal stamina.
There are a total of seventeen exercises in the HumanaNatura calisthenics program,
divided into three groups:

Core exercises - eight Core exercises provide a basic workout of our body
and are meant to be performed on a daily basis, both by people just beginning
to exercise and by people following our calisthenics program at the
intermediate and advanced levels.

Intermediate exercises - as your physical conditioning improves, you can add


some or all of five Intermediate exercises to the Core program on any given
day.

Advanced exercises - with further improvement in your level of fitness, you


can add some or all of four Advanced exercises to the Core program on any

given day.
Once you become conditioned to the intensity of the calisthenics exercises and they
are extremely intense and challenging at first for most people the Core program will
take 10 minutes to perform each day. The full Advanced routine of seventeen
exercises takes about 30 minutes, again depending on your level of fitness and
familiarity with the exercises.
Please keep in mind that it is not necessary to do the full Advanced routine every day,
but you should at least do the Core workout daily whenever possible, with the
exception of planned days of rest.
You will notice that there is no use of either free weights or exercise machines in the
calisthenics program or elsewhere in the HumanaNatura program. The reason for this
is that the use of weights, especially weightlifting machines, is not consistent with our
principles and goals for natural exercise. Your own body weight is all that is required
in HumanaNaturas calisthenics program, making the program not only simple and
natural, but also more portable, flexible, time-efficient, and much less expensive than
weightlifting programs and fitness club memberships.
This is an important point and it is worth adding that most weightlifting exercises and
machines seek to work distinct muscle groups in isolation. This approach is contrary
to the principle of whole body exercise, one of HumanaNaturas key principles of
natural exercise. Whole body exercises are a much more efficient way to foster
usable strength, stamina, flexibility, and agility than either weightlifting exercises or
machines. If you lift weights today, you will quickly understand the power, efficiency,
and advantage of whole body exercise once you begin the calisthenics program.
We would also add that weight and machine-based exercise, generally, fosters the
idea that we are unable to maintain our health through the normal activities of our
lives, and that there are inevitably times of low and high health-promotion during each
day. This is an important, often unconscious, and limiting idea that we would
encourage you to examine. In principle and practice, there is no reason our lives and
our health cannot be fully integrated or that we cannot spend our entire time in healthenhancing activities.
Through daily calisthenics, you may begin to see new opportunities for a more
integrated view of your life and health enhancement activities. Achieving this
understanding of how our daily activity patterns can form an integrated expression of
our natural health forms an important milestone in the HumanaNatura program. We
would encourage you to use our exercise program to explore the idea of and your
potential for a fully health-affirming life.
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Calisthenics Guidelines
Unlike walking, many people are unfamiliar with calisthenics, so each exercise is
described in detail in the HumanaNatura workout summary.

In addition to these descriptions, there are several important points to keep in mind as
you begin HumanaNaturas calisthenics exercises to ensure you optimize your
workouts and, as important, avoid injury:
1. Always match your calisthenics routine to your level of stamina. Start slowly
and take plenty of time to build your strength. The calisthenics exercises are
intense and physically demanding, even at the Core level. As you will
immediately discover in practice, the exercises look easier in the photographs
than they are in reality. Even experienced athletes find calisthenics challenging
at first. Please, don't overdo it and risk injury, whether you are just beginning to
exercise or even if you are physically fit already. You will get significant health
benefits from performing the calisthenics exercises at a moderate level of
intensity and greatly reduce your risk of injury.
2. This matching of your exercise intensity with your stamina applies both over
time and day-to-day. If you are tired or not feeling at your best, it might be a
day to rest or scale back your calisthenics workout for that day. You should feel
no obligation to do the full Advanced routine every day, and you should always
vary your workouts to match your physical readiness for exercise. Just as the
body needs activity, it also needs rest, especially after a day or series of days
of relatively intense exercise. And the calisthenics program will provide intense
exercise, we promise!
3. Another consideration is your safety. The calisthenics exercises can be done
indoors or outdoors, but should always be done in a clean, level area that is
free from dangerous objects and other physical hazards. The area should be
well-lighted and quiet, with good ventilation. You should wear flexible clothing
that does not impede your full range of motion and that ensures you are
neither hot nor cold as you exercise. You should make or purchase a padded
exercise mat for the floor exercises and should use a friend or trainer as a
spotter on the inverted and balancing exercises until you are proficient at
these. Safety first.
4. Always do the Core exercises whenever you do calisthenics and always do all
the exercises you do in the order presented, regardless of which Intermediate
or Advanced exercises you may be adding in that day. The order of the
exercises is intentional, designed to work your body in a complete and
systematic manner.
5. Please read and follow the exercise directions carefully. Be sure to breathe
naturally as you exercise, exhaling with major exertions and never holding your
breath. The moving exercises should be done at a steady pace that matches
your breathing, one that is never so fast as to be jarring or that feels as if you
are hurrying. You should proceed directly from exercise to exercise, never
rushing but also only pausing long enough to catch your breath or to walk off
the strain of the previous exercise. Drink water if you become thirsty.
6. Should you at any time feel any pain, discomfort, dizziness, or shortness of
breath, stop your routine and assess your readiness for that level of activity,
and even your need for immediate medical attention. Build your stamina slowly
and build it for life.
7. If you are exercising above the Core level and are time constrained or want a

bit more day-to-day variety, an option is to alternate the mix of non-Core


exercises you do each day. To do this, always include the Core exercises and
follow the overall exercise order. On odd-numbered days, add the first half of
the Intermediate and Advanced exercises you do. On even-numbered days,
add the second half of the Intermediate and Advanced exercises you do. For
people at the Advanced level, especially, this offers a way to get the full
workout in every other day, add diversity to your workouts, and save a bit of
time.
8. Another variation is to slow the pace of each of the moving exercises, and to
hold each repetition (but not your breath) at the point of maximum exertion to
increase its isometric force. For this technique, greatly slow the pace of each
moving exercise repetition and then hold each repetition at its most intense
point (the lowest point of a push-up or the highest point of a sit-up, as
examples). Some people advocate this approach passionately, others use it
periodically to bring variation to their workouts, and some people never
exercise this way and are in great shape nevertheless. If you have the extra
time, and want variation, this is an optional method to explore and perhaps get
a bit more out of each moving exercise.
By adding daily calisthenics to your walking program and a natural diet, you will
achieve significant new improvements in your health, as well as substantial increases
in your overall level of physical fitness and stamina.
You will have greater physical and emotional energy and focus. You will feel more
poised and become physically much stronger and more agile. You will experience life
much closer to our natural state, with greater feelings of confidence and self-reliance.
You will even begin to have new ideas and perspectives on yourself and the world
around you, emerging from your improved natural conditioning and enhanced
personal power.
You will become ready for the challenge of natural living.

Calisthenics Work-Out
Please click on the exercises below for detailed information on how to perform
each calisthenics exercise. If you have a pop-up blocker, you may need to
temporarily disable it to use these links.

Exercise Level

Level

1. Warm-Up - Jumping Jacks

Core

2. Push-Ups

Core

3. Knee Bends

Core

4. Instep Touches

Core

5. Jump Squats

Intermediate

6. Wrestler's Bridge

Advanced

7. Sit-Ups

Core

8. Shoulder Stand

Intermediate

9. Leg Extension

Intermediate

10. Flat Bridge

Advanced

11. Headstand

Advanced

12. Handstand Push-Ups

Advanced

13. Broad Jumps

Core

14. Balancing

Core

15. Leg Kicks

Intermediate

16. Arm Punches

Intermediate

17. Warm-Down - Six-Way Stretch Core


Download our printable work-out poster