What is the best fitness regimen for a tiger (or a tigress)?
Does the question make you smile? Does it sound irrelevant or stupid? And, most importantly, what’s the answer? How would you train a wild tiger so it can be fit? Would you train it by doing weight lifting and cardio training on the side? Could you imagine a tiger running on a treadmill while checking its pulse rate, without cracking up? Or could it be that it doesn’t need to exercise at all, being genetically, i.e. naturally fit?
Here’s the right answer: in order to become and stay optimally fit, a tiger needs to move the way tigers move in their natural biome. It is that simple. Tigers will move naturally when they’re free to live the natural life every tiger should live; as will all other wild animals.
Throughout their entire life and without discontinuity, wild animals will move the way nature and evolution intends them to, simply because in nature, moving naturally and staying fit is essentially a matter of survival. If you can’t move, you’re inexorably condemned to an imminent death. Every newborn animal will start developing his or her species-specific movement aptitudes very early for this very reason.
The young “human animal” possesses the exact same drive to move. He wants to move naturally all the time, even in artificial, man-made environments. Call them “hyperactive” or “ADD” as much as you want, but kids know what’s important and priority, and moving is important and priority to them. It is a “built-in” program, a fundamental part of their genetic agenda, just like in any other young animal. Can you expect children to become healthy and fit if you deprive them of their evolutionary birthright to natural motion? Should you wait until they are in their teenage years to expose them to “real” fitness and give them video games to play in the meantime? Lastly, why should such an evolutionarily natural movement activity be reserved to and practiced by only children?