From early in our childhood development we "moderns" are discouraged from climbing. We are told to stop “horsing around”, to stay off the table, the counter tops, the shelves. Perhaps for a time we are allowed to climb trees, jungle gyms, and other features of our landscape, but for most of us, as we developed from younglings into adults, we slowly and incrementally began giving up this “child’s play” in favor of the flat, predictable, evenly surfaced floors, sidewalks, and manicured trails of our mono-planar domesticated human habitat.
Why climb when you can take the stairs?
Why take the stairs when there is an escalator?
Why take the escalator when you can just stand in the elevator?
You get my point.
As days go on and years progress we begin to see the world differently, as the magic and wonder of childhood is trained (and educated) out of us, and the lackluster mono-tone of adulthood overlays our environment — degenerating it from a 3D habitat to be scaled into a 2D surface to be walked upon.
There are those who make climbing their recreation (read: re-creation, re-creating a natural experience), a rebellious and often shaggy bunch, who hang about on the fringes of culture, seeking routes up rock faces, boulders, or even the walls of gyms which, like temples of ascension, are designed and designated for climbing. The rest of us usually haven't brachiated since the schoolyard days of monkey bars and jungle gyms, which are, almost always — in both size and convention — reserved for the recreation (again: re-creation of natural movements) of children.
Your shoulder girdle requires hanging, swinging, and climbing to engender the traction, lubrication, and myofascial development necessary for healthy reange of motion. These movements are as fundamental to the strength and well-being of your shoulders as walking and running are to the health of your hips. While humans are adapted to the ground in a way that some of our ape relatives are not, we were (and are still) destined (if not designed) to climb, as many of our natural food, fuel, and tool resources are arboreal. These truly wonderful bodies we have inherited are designed to be taken climbing!
Like taking your dog for a walk, so too might you take your body for a hang...
This was an excerpt from Primal Movement — Dispatch 3 of ReWild Yourself! magazine. Go here to gain access to the rest of this article and much more primal movement inspiration.
In the below video, I take you through my personal home obstacle course, all of which I built myself relatively easily and inexpensively. I hope it inspires you to create a health-promoting habitat in your home and yard where you can brachiate, funambulate, climb, crawl, etc.! Consistent and reliable natural movement is a crucial component of a holistic ReWilding approach to physical health and development!
Set up a place in your habitat where you can brachiate. This could be as simple as finding a good tree limb in your yard or installing a pull-up bar in a doorway or above your workstation. If you're looking for a weekend project, you could build a set of ape (aka monkey bars) in your backyard! Doing a simple Google search for "how to build monkey bars" will give you quite a few plans to get you started!
If you already have a brachiation station in your habitat, I challenge you to use it daily!