Movement Matters

A few months ago a good friend of of mine died. James had Motor Neurone Disease (MND), a severely life-shortening condition that progressively damages parts of the nervous system. This leads to the loss of muscular control, making activities such as gripping, walking, speaking, swallowing and breathing (all things most taken for granted) increasingly difficult. Eventually these activities become impossible.

There is currently no cure for MND.


Events like this stop you in your tracks. They make you take a long hard look at what really matters. They make you realise what you have to give thanks for. MND robs people (both sufferers and families of sufferers) of so much.

For years I have taken my ability to move my body for granted. Most of us do. As adults we forget the sheer joy of movement so beautifully expressed by young children. We sometimes look at their boundless exuberance and need for movement as them being ‘fidgety’ at best, or having some form of attention deficit disorder at worse. “Why can’t you just sit still for a while?”

As babies we constantly move. We twist, we turn, we rock. We reach out to touch this new strange world around us. This is how we learn.

Then comes propulsion. We lift ourselves up and we crawl. This very act is the foundation of our movement for the rest of our lives. It builds our muscles, focuses our nervous systems, it trains our bodies for what is to come.

We crawl, we climb, we walk, we run, we climb higher stuff, we run some more. Kids seem unable to not run.


Then we go to school and are sat down and punished for moving. We are told to ‘stop running in the corridors’. We are told to ‘Get down from there!’ and ‘Sit still!’

Whilst I understand the  need for education and safety, I dislike the way movement becomes demonised.

This stays with us through out most of lives. Movement is a luxury, frivolous, something to feel guilty about trying to fit into our busy schedule.

When we do move our bodies it is often to play a sport. Our focus becomes the outcome of the activity not on the movements themselves. The element of ‘play’ has often disappeared.

If ever there was a time to reclaim our sense of wonder at the miracle that is our own movement it is now.

In a survey looking at activity in office environments, it was shown that ‘[a]lmost half of women (45%) and almost two fifths of men (37%) working in UK offices spend less than 30 minutes a day walking around at work’

Add into this the fact that many people commute by car or public transport, which usually involves more sitting.

When we finally haul ourselves home we are tired and for many of us we just want to eat and drop to the sofa to relax. For many this means a total of 10 hours or more of inactivity in our waking day.

This inactivity is literally killing us.

In a recent study it was shown ‘that twice as many deaths may be attributable to lack of physical activity compared with the number of deaths attributable to obesity’.

One of the largest studies to date on the effects of sitting found that compared with those who sat the least, people who sat the longest had a:

  • 112% increase in risk of diabetes
  • 147% increase in cardiovascular events
  • 90% increase in death caused by cardiovascular events
  • 49% increase in death from any cause

Finding a solution to this will be different for every individual. Whether it is using a ‘stand-up’ workstation, taking regular movement breaks, walking to work, or ditching the lift for the stairs, what is evident is that we need to move more.

Movement is medicine. 

Whatever your ability, whatever your range of motion, use it. Make time for that hand in hand walk with a loved one. Dance like there’s no one watching. Run for the sheer joy of knowing you can. Climb that hill to get into perspective what is really important.


For those who would like to find out more about MND or who wish to donate towards helping sufferers and carers please visit

or MND Australia (James’ homeland)

Keep moving.



New Courses Starting Soon!

Book Below

This month sees the start of a new season of fitness and well-being classes starting in and around An Coire and Drumnaph Nature Reserve, Maghera.

With the nights drawing in, and the cold winds starting to blow, it’s very easy to let our health and fitness slip. The battle between that run in the drizzle and the sofa (by the fire, with the comfort food) is either an epic one, or over the second your backside hits the cushions

Having a training partner is a huge benefit for over-coming the hibernation instinct. Just having someone to push you, someone relying on you is a real boost

Another option is to join a class. Committing to a regular class is a perfect way to give you the shove out the door and the incentive to get on with it.

Anyone who was with me on the recent Drumnpah C25K programme will agree that working as a group really aids the ability to commit to a schedule. The days where people were running by themselves were not so easy to stick to (you know who you are).

Working as a group can offer you many things; from camaraderie, support, advice, friendship, and even a bit of friendly competition if you choose.

The courses we run emphasise the way our bodies are designed to move, moving naturally and freely. The strengths and conditioning gained will be ‘real world’ functional gains

All of our courses are friendly and informal. The emphasis is on each person’s individual goals and fitness. You choose how hard you want to go. You will be encouraged, not bullied. This should be a fun experience. Sweaty, yes. Tiring, yes. But fun and enjoyble.

Beginners Circuit Training Class – 6 weeks.

30th September 2015 7pm – 8pm – An Coire, Maghera

The focus of this session is to build functional strength, fitness and conditioning by utilising aerobic activities and dynamic resistance training. Using conventional and unconventional movements and equipment, we will aim to build upon the necessary elements needed for ‘general physical preparedness’, the ability to deal physically with whatever life throws at us.

Whatever your ability, you pick the intensity that you want to work at. Fun and friendly atmosphere.

All abilities welcome.

Cost – £24 for 6 weeks or £5 per night.

Book Here or call into An Carn.

Flexibility and Mobility – 4 weeks

11th November 2015 7pm – 8pm – An Coire

Join us in a gentle workout focusing on the improvement flexibility and range of movement. Through stretching and the natural movement we can increase our general quality of mobility which has a far reaching benefit to multiple aspects of life. Catering to everyone’s individual range of motions, we will aim to iron out the niggles by using movement, stretching and games. Expect potentially sore abs from hysterical laughter.

Suitable for all abilities.

Bring a yoga mat if you have one. (I do have some).

Cost – £16 for 4 weeks or £5 per night.

Book here or call into An Carn

See you there.


Welcome to Wild Fitness

Welcome to the Wild Fitness Blog.

It is my hope that this blog will arm you with some of the knowledge and skills to look at health differently.

My interest in health has evolved from a niggling feeling that conventional wisdom seemed not to quite hit the mark. The endless drudgery of exercise sessions left me bored, sore, and with little of the desired effect I was after. Sticking to a ‘healthy’ diet made me feel miserable, obsessive about when I needed to eat, and ultimately feel like a failure when I fell off the wagon (usually after an epic gym session).

My profession at this time was as a survival instructor specialising in primitive skills and foraging. It was this interest in paleoanthropology, and ethnobotany (the study of plant use by humans) that really piqued my interest in our ancestral health. How was it that our ancestors (and contemporary hunter-gatherer societies) were able to survive on relatively low calorific diets yet maintain  naturally athletic physiques, achieve feats of dynamic athleticism without formal structured ‘training’, and seemingly have an absence of the various metabolic and lifestyle related diseases of the modern age?


This interest lead me to look at what foods were available to our hunter-gatherer ancestors within the natural environment, and at what movements were required to obtain these foods.

Along the way I discovered others who were leading the way in popularising this approach to looking at the diets and lifestyles that we are optimally evolved eat and live.

Loren Cordain’s ‘Paleo Diet‘ was the first piece of information that seemed to make sense to about how we were meant to eat. Then came Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint, which for me did well to marry paleo/primial principles with a modern lifestyles. Diet was just one aspect to the Primal Blueprint, with exercise/movement being another. This in turn lead me onto commentators such as Erwin Le Corre and his wonderfully complete MovNat system of human movement; Ido Portal’s Movement Culture; and Darryl Edwards aka The Fitness Explorer, and his excellent take on Movement and Play.

From the readings of these great commentators, there was suddenly a open door to a wide, varied and infinitely fascinating world of ancestral/evolutionary health and fitness for me to delve into. This world has allowed me to learn from a remarkable community of individuals and groups, devoted to understanding how we are designed to eat, to move, to live.

It will be a lifelong study for me to just scratch the surface. The more you learn, the more you realise there is yet to learn. And this excites me.

The aim of this blog is to pass along the information and practices that work for me, to question the information that we are told, and to share in the fun of finding your place within our natural world.


Be a part of Nature.