My guest today is biomechanist and author Katy Bowman. Katy is on a mission to get you moving, meeting you wherever you are at today. This is not about exercise; this is about movement.
In her latest book, Rethink Your Position, Katy shares practical solutions for people who work and live in the real world. Yes, we must sit at our desks and in our cars. So with that, how can we make our homes an environment that invites more movement for ourselves and our families?
With an M.S. in Kinesiology, Katy understands that as a mother of two, all the tiny little things we can do throughout our days will bring us the most significant changes and positive impacts on our health. Her constant sense of play and willingness to change it up is an excellent reminder to everyone who often feels stuck. We’re not; we need some ideas and inspiration. Enjoy.
– Simple Strategies to Incorporate Movement in Your Daily Life
– Modifying Your Environment to Achieve Your Goals
– Practical Tips to Outsmart Willpower
– Ground Yourself: The Perfect Place to Start if You Feel Stuck
Listen to the episode here:
- The Importance of Hanging [00:04:37]
- Discovering Fitness [00:13:48]
- A Way to Start [00:24:17]
- Psychological Flexibility [00:30:20]
- Awareness of What We Consume [00:44:43]
- There is More Than One Way [00:51:09]
- The Ribcage [00:59:30]
- Mental Health and Movement [01:05:52]
- Standing as Part of Movement [01:10:05]
- Movement in the Digital Natives’ Lives [01:15:25]
- Looking at Your Movement Diet [01:18:54]
- Exercise Is Just One Way [01:22:10]
- Movement to the Ankle Down [01:26:40]
- Movement in the Busy, Sedentary Adult Life [01:35:17]
- On Katy’s Life Partner and Balance [01:41:22]
- On Parenting [01:45:42]
- What Moves Katy [01:50:00]
- Hinges and Overcoupling [01:51:58]
#203 Movement as Medicine | Biomechanist Katy Bowman on Healing Your Body & Mind Through Mindful Kinetics + Science Based Strategies for Dynamic Living & Unleashing Your Potential Through Modifying Your Environment
Welcome to the Gabby Reece Show where we break down the complex worlds of health, fitness, family, business, and relationships with the world’s leading experts. I’m here to simplify these topics and give you practical takeaways that you can start using today. We all know that living a healthy balanced life isn’t always easy. Let’s try working on managing life a little better and have some fun along the way. After all, life is one big experiment and we’re all doing our best.
“We inherit patterns of movement and then we pick it up and it gets influenced by the sports that we do or the injuries that we do like the car accident that we had. A lot of times, we don’t shake the Etch A Sketch enough to clear it out. Ideally, we’re in it for the long game, but humans are prioritizing moment to moment. We’ve got that paradox going in inside of us all of the time. That’s what I’m trying to teach through words. You can steer your ship a lot more than you thought.”
The bulk of the experience we have are physical and when you don’t have a nutritious movement diet, so to speak, it can detract from the non-movement things that you want to do. Unfortunately, movement is still the solution. Fortunately, the toolbox is pretty simple and big but we need to be thinking about it in a different way. I’ve found that a lot of non-movement people are like, “I would love to be able to sit, read, and write because that’s my flow, my jam, and my sport. What are the movements that I need to support that so I can do this non-active thing?” I’m trying to open the conversation and be like, “Movement is huge and it works in a lot of different ways.”
My guest is Biomechanist, Katy Bowman. I’ve known about Katy’s work, I’ve met Katy a few times, and I’ve read tons of her books like Move Your DNA. She has an incredible book for parents called Grow Wild. The idea of all of Katy’s work is how do we create a life where you move more? She has a book out called Rethink Your Position. She does it in such a simple and achievable way because this is somebody who could geek out all day long about movement, patterns, uncoupling movements, and all these things that, a lot of times, can go over our heads. In this book, it’s straightforward.
Normally when she writes, she writes from the feet up. In this book, she went from the head down. It’s mostly because most of us are navigating the neck and the head. For starters, they used to be Dowager’s hump and now it’s called Tech neck. She is trying to address our modern-day living but not make it daunting. It’s like, “This is what’s going on in your body. This is what your body needs to be able to do. If it can’t, here are some exercises and some tests.” There’s no good or bad. There’s no fail or pass or you get gold stars.
In your daily practice, could you incorporate some of these things and acknowledge them? If you’re sitting, you’ve got to do it less so here’s how you can do it less. Here’s how you can offset some of these things. I love Katy because she’s smart yet funny and human and not interested in perfect, just interested in better, and best. I want to say that as an athlete, I can tell you that I’m dealing with a lot of the same issues that a person who is sedentary is.
You would think, “You look fit or you live a fit lifestyle.” Yes, and I’ve also done a lot of things badly and got myself and my body into some bad positions that I’m always trying to do these little homework things to be a little better. I don’t want this to be something that feels overwhelming or one more thing you have to do. This is a simple reminder from people who are qualified that a little bit of this all the time will make such a difference and she tells you exactly how to do it. This book is Rethink Your Position. I hope you enjoy my conversation with Katy Bowman.
Katy, I want to make sure. I know you as Katy Bowman.
That’s it. It’s not Caddy Bowman like every substitute teacher I had. I was like, “Who would name their child Caddy Bowman?” Nobody.
They see some names. You flew in from Costa Rica. Are you here only to promote the book?
Yes. I came in through Southern California. I live in Washington State. This is where we landed.
The tribe is here? The kids?
Everyone’s here. We’re all here together, us and the dog.
Is this your ninth book? It’s a lot. Rethink Your Position, I’m going to try to stay as focused on this particular book. You have other books. I encourage people, especially if they have children, Grow Wild, creating environments, and encouraging movement. I feel bad. I was telling Justin that I have a lot of chairs in my house. I was like, “Katy doesn’t have a lot of chairs.” We have hanging bars outside and ping-pong tables. It’s a great reminder and guide to help people go, “That would be doable.”
In the end, everyone’s houses are different sizes. The idea of, “I didn’t know I could put a chin-up bar in the doorway.” That’s an amazing $20 installation to empower your children and yourself to get a little bit more movement. I’m the experiment of going to the extreme to do the thing and then people can take picks of it and see what works for them.
I love you kind of people, the extremes. That’s the only way. You need that intensivist situation to be like, “I can do 5% of that.”
You need to be able to see the big thing so that you can get gloss off the top for what works.
Let’s talk about hanging right off the bat. We have a friend who’s 7ft so we have a very tall bar for him here. I have a little Yeti box that I jump up and hang. You talk about the importance of hanging, let’s talk about that. For women especially, we think you have to do pull-ups to hang but you’re talking about hang.
It’s that percentage. A pull-up is a great functional exercise but the strength gap for many people is big that they’re never going to get there and that will keep them from even putting their hands on the bar and even dealing with grip strength or taking that first step. I was like, “Hanging is a complete exercise. You can nail it.” A lot of people can’t hang, their grip strength isn’t there, so why not make that the new version of what a pull-up was as a number one exercise that everyone should do? It’s the new version of it. Set it up, hanging is complete, it’s fine, and it’s great.
[bctt tweet=”There’s no determined way humans are going. We’re writing the music as we go. We all are also our own instruments.”]
A couple of times throughout the day. I was talking to Laird because Laird loves to be upside down and also has this neck strength to be on his head. He and I, it’s so funny, I’m like, “Hanging.” He’s like, “What’s the difference of hanging and inversion?” You’re helping a marital conversation right now.
You put me in that space.
He’s not here. You can leave before he gets back.
If you think about how your head would feel if you’re in an inversion, whether it’s a headstand or a handstand or even downward dog, you got blood pushing down towards your head that’s pushing your parts together as far as your shoulder, elbows, and wrist experience. Hang is the opposite, it’s pulling the hand away from the forearm, the forearm away from the upper arm, and the upper arm away from the shoulder girdle. It’s tension versus compression. It’s the opposite and you could do both.
Thinking of breathing and the way everything attaches to the ribs. The way I think about our ability to hang off our arms is the equivalent to our ability to stand on our legs, you take a step with you’re one foot, one-foot exercise. If you’re going across monkey bars, it’s like, “Is this arm to the ribcage and ultimately the spine line of muscles able to hold my body weight?” It’s a strength-to-weight ratio. It’s quite simple.
I love the idea that you don’t have to do the pull-up and do time for yourself, whatever your time is because it makes it achievable. Having long arms, pull-ups are active.
It’s harder. The longer your arms are, the greater of an exercise than having shorter arms. I have long arms too. Hanging is doable. I’m a regular person making meals. My bio doesn’t say dishwasher but that’s what I do the most often relatively speaking. If we’re going to list out by my actual jobs, it’s going to be picking up the house and that’s what I do. Every time I walk through this section of my house, I can fit in five seconds of something, and I feel great at the end of the day and I don’t have that, “I wish I had carved out more time to do the thing.” It’s in the flow of me walking around my house.
I call it also coming up from behind, coming up from the rear. If you leave something out in my house for a few minutes, unless you’re a little kid and it’s a toy or a book, it’s gone. It could be a clean T-shirt that you intend to wear but in 30 minutes, it’s gone. It’s constantly coming up from the rear. You’re writing whichever number book this is, Rethink Your Position and biomechanics. How does a person get into biomechanisms? How do you say, “It’s time for me to write this book.”
My origin story is I was someone who was interested in math and I studied math in college. It was great and I loved it but it was boring.
You didn’t have physical practice. I know that you rethought your relationship to moving and running.
I was sedentary. I’m a nerd and I’m a happy nerd, I’m fine with that. I was studious and sedentary. I was also pretty good at math and science in general. When I went to college, I found movement in my senior year of high school. I’ve always been a swimmer. I’m talking about sports. I was not athletic in the organized sports way. I was never encouraged to do sports in that way. There are not a lot of paths for kids to move in if they’re not into sports or if they come from a family that doesn’t have a strong sports lineage. They get left behind. I got left behind in that way.
That being said, I was way more active than kids now. I was still sedentary by the fact I would read 8 to 10 hours a day but I was still walking to school, I was still riding my bike, and I didn’t come home until dinner, and nor did I want to. There was nothing in my house that was better than what was for me outside. I was still very nerdy and studious and not athletic, not coordinated with the exception of swimming but not in a racing way and not in a, “Here’s the lane and here’s the stroke,” in that way. It’s more freeform, like, “I’m going to see how many times I can dive to the bottom of this twelve-foot pool and I’m going to do it for six hours till exhaustion.” I would call that being athletic but freeform.
Play. We lose a form of play. Water can be an invitation to play.
You’re lighter too. It forgives quite a bit. I have a lot of endurance.
You’re good. You’re in college. You’re good at science and math.
I discovered walking in my senior year. We don’t walk that much. You have a car, especially when you’re 16 and 17. It’s like, “I have a car and I can drive around.” I found myself when I was a senior dealing with the awkward transition of going from kid to adult and having that stress. I didn’t have a car for a period of time so I started making myself walk farther, at first, out of necessity, and I was like, “I feel amazing. I feel great.”
I was walking 4 or 5 miles and walking faster because I had to get somewhere. I feel way less in my head and stressed. I was like 17 and 18 and then I would find myself walking to school, walking home from school, and then borrowing my aunt’s car to go to the beach so that I could listen to music and walk for two more hours. I just started walking. That was my baseline of movement. It turns out I have a high demand for movement but all of it is not necessarily in that athletic range and I felt great. I found a gym and discovered fitness still in high school.
Is that intimidating? Once you’re on a team and then you get shuttled to the weight room as a team so you’re all awkward together and then you have a strength coach and maybe they point you in directions. As a singular female, how do you discover fitness in a gym?
Thinking back to it, I drove up and got the tour that you get when you’re going to the gym from the trainer who’s like, “Here are the twelve sets. Here’s how to do everything.” I was in that beginner mindset, like, “This is amazing. Look at all these complicated machines.” The thing that grabbed me was the group exercise classes. I remember there was a cardio. Even talking in these terms is a throwback.
This is for context, in 1993 or 1994, I was up on the cardio on the StairMaster, which I thought doing for twenty minutes was equal to two hours because it was hard. Looking down at the group exercise, I was like, “I’m going to do that.” I knew that was the pinnacle of cool. I loved Fitness Magazine and Shape Magazine. That’s originally how I learned about you because you were writing for those publications maybe or was at least featured. That was where I set my sights. I’ve always been good at setting my sights and getting there. I set my fitness sites and then I went off to college to study math.
What are you going to do with math?
I don’t know. I was good at it and then I was like, “This is boring.” At the same time, I hated running as I talked about in the book. I could not run. I got on this treadmill in this gym and put on a headset and I was like, “It’s so much easier with music. It’s so much easier when it’s not in this context of school with my peers. It’s me.” In my head, I’m imagining these different situations that I’m in when I’m running. It was more playful and it was internal. I was like, “I ran two miles without a feeling like it was too hard and never even having to struggle or push.” That’s happening, I’m working out, I’m going to the gym, and I’m entertaining this idea, I signed up for it. Do you remember AFAA?
I signed up for the AFAA exercise certificate. I’m going to take this and then I switched from math to physics because I thought physics would be more interesting. Biomechanics is a lot of physics. It was still boring but now I’ve got this full-fledged fitness habit and I feel great. The whole center of my life is learning that I have more control over my body than I thought.
I encourage people, it sounds like, “I know how to walk.” You did a project with Jill Miller about understanding walking, how to walk correctly, and ways to walk. Jill similarly used movement to manage and house her personality. People confuse athletics and, “I have to go to the gym,” always so physical. What I hear from you is also housing your spirit in this. You can say to me, “I look at group fitness.” I don’t know you. We’ve met maybe once or twice but you feel like a loner to me. You don’t feel like a rah-rah person. It’s more like, “I’m with my family,” or, “I’m doing my thing.”
I’m not a joiner. I’m a leader though.
“Stay back and then I’ll go out front and then you guys keep up.” Yes, you’re good in understanding the physiology and the mechanics as much as what it brought you in the feeling good and that sense of moments of homeostasis that we all maybe enjoy. Was there something in there where you thought, “Oh.” If people can connect to this component of movement, they can have that lifelong relationship with it.
Movement was healing for me. Anytime you’re attracted to the thing that you do, there’s some lifelong deficit. I don’t want to say injured because that’s too strong but I was malnourished by my lack of movement in my life. When I found it, it was like in a video game when you restock your life force. It came up and I was like, “There’s this thing out here that fills me up that I hadn’t been exposed to.” The contrast might have been greater for someone like me.
I have been since filled by team sports or filled by competition. In this case, it was movement outside of either one of those things. It was simply being introduced to my physical self and I’m glad it came when I was 18. I talk with people and they’ll be like, “It came to me when I was 36.” All those years of not having it as a tool motivates me for what I do now and why I wrote a book for kids. If we can be introduced to this thing early on, we don’t have to grow up maybe feeling something was missing.
I didn’t even know it was missing but I knew something was missing. I came to this accidentally. I don’t know how it necessarily parlayed over professionally other than it was the marriage of my nerdy self and someone who likes to teach with the thing that I found to be most impactful for myself. The passion is there to keep it going.
For example, one of the books you wrote that I read was Move Your DNA. What people need to understand is this work also is multi-layered. It’s not talking about, “We’re talking about your ribcage to support breathing only.” It’s understanding how all of these things flow in and out and are connected to each other. You do an incredible job. The book Rethink Your Position, I don’t know if it’s your practice of writing more and more books. You made this even easier.
It’s so easy. I say this a lot with certain people’s books, your books, Jill’s, Kelly’s, and all these books, they are also tools and workbooks so they’re good to have. These are good conversations for me to have because I’m a person who’s moved a lot. I am bad in many spaces, places, and movements today because I overdid certain movements and I have long levers. There are things that I stay away from.
These are good reminders. People think someone like me knows. Even though we know, you have to always chip away at it. You said this in the book, and I thought it was great, intrinsic movement. You’re looking at something and for some reason or someone moves in a certain way and you’re drawn to it, that also maybe means that’s for you or you need it. For me, the ground has become far away. That’s the thing I’m always trying to work on. I have an artificial knee and things like that.
Books like this, regardless of where you are in your movement world or level, I won’t even say practice, it’s going back like how we’re sitting on the chair. This is for all of us. You’re going to sit here and you’ll change your position 50 times in this conversation. It’s important. There’s athletics, performance, and fitness but then it’s just being a human being and moving around. Even though your book could certainly impact all of those, for me, what we’re talking about is the human expression of movement.
Movement is the big bubble, it’s you changing position, things moving. It’s a big circle, you label it movement. Inside of that sits fitness, exercise, performance, and labor. There are lots of other types of movement that fit inside of that. All of those things are your body parts changing position and changing load.
The reason I wrote Move Your DNA is technical. It’s layperson but I recognize it’s like a nerdy person. It’s technical, hopefully, in a light conversational voice. It’s trying to explain that sometimes the athlete and the couch potato, and I mean that in a non-pejorative way, the sedentary person ends up with similar physical experiences. We talk about movement as a whole body state, “I am moving. I am not moving.” It’s like, “Some of you are moving but not all of you are moving.” That’s why I started the concept of the nutritious movement.
If we could parlay our understanding of diet, micronutrients, macronutrients, and total calories and use that framework and put it on top of movement, it makes so much more sense that what we all have is a movement diet that could use finessing. That’s pretty easy and accessible. Sometimes you might need more movement calories. Sometimes your movement calories are great but you get so much vitamin rowing that the knee or hip is not getting any nutrients. That’s how I talk about it.
If someone is reading this and they think, “I’ve been sedentary. I’ve been working. I’ve been sitting.” An athlete who’s like, “I’m beat up. Certain things are almost just too painful or stiff to tackle.” You go chapter by chapter in the book and break down the complexes of the body. what’s the invitation? What’s the starting conversation? What’s the thread to pull for those people?
Rethink Your Position was written for either the person who wanted to start and who hasn’t moved anything or the person who’s been moving but some big area is not responding or hurts, which we tend to avoid. It was like, “Maybe you can approach your problem part by part whether it’s getting your whole body moving or dealing with this part.” The thread is you have a lot more control over the loads that you’re experiencing in your body than you realize. In a movement-starved culture, we’re going for movement calories.
We’re using movement like a blunt object and it’s like, “Do a squat. Do this exercise.” It’s like, “Did you know that when you’re doing a squat or doing a chess press or doing a pushup, you can control where your elbow is if someone showed you that nuance?” That’s why your shoulder is hurting when you do it or that’s why you might be doing a ton but this isn’t changing. It’s getting that lay of the land. It’s like a map of your body in that way.
People want to know. You said, “We’re getting our movement calories but maybe we’re not getting those right nutrients or the right amount of protein or whatever.” Go for 30 days and see how you feel after that. I have my knee replaced and a lot of it was because of dysfunctional movement, jumping a ton, probably having quads that were way too tight, the load was put on the knee, and maybe if I had done certain things earlier, I could have avoided it, repetitive trauma, or whatever.
When I got my surgery, someone I knew said to me, “This rehab is going to be brutal for the first 30 days. Don’t even have an opinion about it. Be like, ‘Yeah.’ After 30 days, look up a little bit.” Sometimes in these things, do you encourage people like, “Give it a month or six weeks before you have a real feeling about it.”
Yes, because changing habits is hard. That’s the hardest thing. I try to talk about inertia because that’s something that you can wrap your head around. It’s way easier for you to keep doing the thing that you’ve been doing than it is for you to change what you’re doing. Why things like 7-day, 2-week, 30-day, and 90-day frameworks work because you aren’t looking at how the thing is going, you’re just looking at the days that are flipping on the calendar. That’s where your focus goes.
It’s like, “Look at the monkey.” You’re looking over here and looking over here. Meanwhile, the pages are turning, and then before you know it, inertia is more working in your favor. We’re not great at holding our own boundaries in that way. We’re like, “22 days are fine. This came up.” We are at a time where we need to maybe sometimes give ourselves grace. We could all do a little bit better with a little bit more self-restraint. We’re not practiced necessarily in setting rules and following rules.
How do you personally do that? I always say I’m not better at this than anybody else. I’m pretty good at putting a system in place so that I can be successful. What does that look like even for you today? Do you have something that you’re saying, “I’m trying to add a little more of this in my life or practice.”
My big thing is that I always move every single day. The way that it shows up sometimes for me in that parameter is that means getting up half an hour earlier than I thought.That means going to bed half an hour later. That means sometimes dropping down and doing pushups in the living room at an awkward time, place, and in the wrong clothes. If you have that rule of doing it every day and you stick to it, it doesn’t have to look a particular way.
The grace part is recognizing that this is what inertia is. We come with resistance to change. You’re not broken because you can’t do it. You’re working perfectly fine because you can’t do it. The environment, that’s what the issue is, which is why modifying the environment can take you way farther than trying to flex your willpower muscle all the time. I don’t have a lot of chairs in my house because I don’t have the best willpower. I modify my environment so I don’t have to.
That being said, with inertia, constantly doing the thing makes it easier to do the thing. You’re good at this too. It’s two minutes, just do it. Muster the strength to sit down, hit the meditation app on your phone, bend over, and touch your toes. As you’re reading this, do something, do anything. Once you start, it’s way easier to keep going.
You have two children and you’re in a relationship. I love that you went to Costa Rica and lived in a small space, the four of you. I would be divorced.
A lot of outside time.
Laird would be good because he would be outside. He’d be happy because he’d be living in nature. You have to wear different hats like being a mom. Sometimes moms are these annoying reminders. You set the environment up for the kids. They’re playing outside, they’re doing things, they’re hanging, and they’re all these things.
They’re just kids.
How does that show up? I always find that’s the trickiest. I can be smart almost everywhere else in my life except as a parent.
I’m there with you. It’s tough. It’s way harder.
You would think, “I wouldn’t do it like that.” If I also think back to the way I did it when I was their age, I did it exactly the same way.
[bctt tweet=”I’m a big fan of novelty. Habit is great and habit facilitates so much but so does novelty in an equal way.”]
That’s the time you have to keep looking and be like, “Who’s making these decisions?” It’s like, “I must have been doing a similar thing.”
Has anything shown up besides changing the environment in things that you say, even though it’s about being the example, that you thought, “This seems to work with kids.” I have this with my youngest daughter who’s on her devices the most because she’s the youngest, she’s in the thick of that culture. She is the most playful and wants to be outside the most. We have to keep finding the environments. It’s this weird mix. That takes effort so it’s a pain but yet she’s the most playful and loves games, “Let’s go surf. Let’s go pickleball.” You’re going from Costa Rica to a different environment. Are you going to do anything different with your kids that helps get them on the go?
The best advice that I got was from Dr. Diana Hill. She talks a lot about psychological flexibility and she introduced me to this idea. I’m always like, “How do I get everyone on the same page as I am?” She was like, “You’re insisting that everyone come to your page. There are other ways to be on the same page, maybe it’s not yours.” I was like, “Right, of course.” She tuned me into the fact that my children are always asking for me to get on their page as far as movement goes but it’s not the movement that I want to do because I’m like, “I’m a mom. I don’t have time to do this.”
I have all these barriers to movement in my head. I’m like, “I don’t want to do your movement. I don’t want to roll around.” I was realizing they don’t want to do my movement. Who’s going to give first? It’s going to be me at least some of the time to model what it’s like to be like, “I can get on your page.” They’re way more likely to get on my page. Oftentimes, I don’t tell them but I can get their page to eventually become my page through that portal. It shows up.
My son is always like, “Do you want to arm wrestle?” I was like, “No, I don’t want to arm wrestle even though you call me bro all the time.” I was then like, “I want to arm wrestle. Do you want to leg wrestle? How about a sprint?” The cool thing about having these older kids now is they’re competition oriented and riding that wave of going, “Who can do this? Who can do that? What about break dancing? Can you do that?” It becomes fun and play.
Because the inertia has been started by something they wanted, now they’re not ready to sit back down and do the thing.We’re already moving. What movement is next? It’s like, “Now let’s go outside.” I’ve utilized that tool. It’s a kid-led movement but it’s not going to look like what I wanted at first. The reason I don’t want it is because it’s too hard for me.
I don’t want to do handstands and now I’m doing handstands, which is exactly why you go to a trainer to be pushed to do something outside of your comfort zone. When I had kids, I don’t need to go to an ashram to figure out how to meditate and develop equanimity. I can get it every single day in my life as a householder, including complex movement suggestions. I flip myself around and that’s helped.
It’s one of my favorites, Byron Katie, “If you want to change your environment, change yourself.” You said, “I flipped myself around.” It’s so hard to do. Let’s say you have a book deadline and your husband is like, “I need more time and attention.” Those are the moments. Someone is going to want dinner at some point. These are always interesting spaces for me about trying to do it even still then.
That’s why I wrote Grow Wild. Grow Wild is all about stacking. We all have the same needs. At the end of the day, we can categorize our needs into the same 7 or 8 categories of movement, food, play, work, education, relationships, and sleep. One of the problems with society right now that is pushed against us is that we have a habit of isolating our tasks and then doing them in series one after another. We do a lot more non-essential stuff in a way that we’re not meeting our essentials anymore. We’re meeting many non-essentials.
It’s called social media.
What’s a single task that allows multiple needs to be met? I set my family up from this early on so they expect it where when everyone needs a little bit more attention, we find some movement to be the backbone of that period of time. You can get frenetic. My family squabbles and fights and I’m pulling my hair out. What I have found is everybody is outside to a place where you can’t get back inside so that means we’re going to a park, we’re throwing firewood in the back of the truck, and we’re bringing the dinner that we have. Cooking competition at the fire became a big thing for us.
Shift the environment a little bit and now kids are leaping off picnic tables. You can invite your friends. The answer to, “Can I bring my friends,” is always yes. We’re social creatures. I get why people are on the phone all the time. Kids want to be with their peers 100% of the time. It’s not a nutritious dense way to be with others. How I do it is walk to the grocery store. It’s usually a night walk. I don’t care if it’s 10:00, a full moon walk, let’s go.
I’m a big fan of novelty. Habit is great and habit facilitates so much but so does novelty in an equal way. If it’s something radically different, everyone’s in, everyone’s engaged, and are like, “That was amazing.” All the parts of my childhood that stood out the most were these one-offs. There was a mix. I try to do that as much as possible. It is more work but I have to remind myself that I wanted more work.
What the question started with is, “How do I get more?” You’re not doing more tasks. You picked a different task that took a little bit more energy to think outside but that’s what you were wanting. You were asking, “How do I get more richness, depth, and density?” It’s by sometimes doing that little bit of extra work. It’ll pay off in relaxation on the other side.
It’s a practice. Once you do it, it gets easier. I’m more guilty. Laird is better, the novelty. Steven Kotler talked a lot about it. He wrote a book called Gnar Country and he talks all about the importance of novelty and novelty outside and with people that you have a relationship with. You’re tapping into something and that was in connection to flow, which doesn’t mean when kids are jumping off picnic tables, “I’m in flow state.”
There’s something so much to be said for tapping into that part of ourselves. Increasingly, we hear this conversation right now about AI. The biology of who we are, I’m fascinated to see how quickly we’re willing to abandon and not keep reconsidering everything we’re doing. No matter what, I don’t care what AI is going to be able to do.
At least for a while, we better stay connected to our biology in some way and it does take more work. The more you’re trying to be successful in the world, that is pulling you further and further from the things that probably are going to make you feel that enrichment, that satisfaction. It is an interesting dance.
I think about it all the time being someone more trained in the biological sciences. It’s interesting when you think of what determines successful humans. I had a friend who said one time, “The people who sit the best the stillest will do the best.” We’re usually doing this financially. You end up crafting humanity in this way. There’s no determined way humans are going. We’re writing the music as we go. We all are also our own instruments.
You get to pick the music you want to play and advocate for or amplify your point of view and find community in whatever way you can find it. We don’t have good use practices. I don’t think it’s particularly novel that humans come up with something that has unintended consequences and a branch falls off of humans or there’s a pivot and that’s where humans end up now. I wonder about how reading was such a unique thing.
We’ve done this multiple times. This isn’t a new thing. I do think about good use practices and pace and rate and then you just look at the evidence to see how it’s panning out for people and decide how far down you want to go and what balance you want to create. The same thing with cigarettes and foods that are created. Now we got to go back and add this to the education of how you have to balance the creativity of humanity with what’s best for you. Everything that’s created, every technology that’s created, it’s not equivalent to something that enhances full stop. There’s a way. There’s a method.
Do we have the discipline?
Also, the time. The increase in podcasts, specifically about how we work, it’s probably why they’re becoming more popular because I don’t think folks understood the complexity of themselves and how reactionary we are to the environment.
We were living closer to it so we didn’t need to know that.
There wasn’t that much to know about.
I interviewed Dr. Dave Rabin. He’s a neuroscientist and psychiatrist. He does these highly measured psychedelic trips. It’s interesting that we’re going back to plants because we’re stressed out. Everyone’s triggered and everybody has trauma because we’re having to go back and understand this because we’re getting further. I have too many chairs in my house and I spend too much time online. Everyone’s plugged in.
Also, if we can be aware through our day that it’s there. I don’t think we have to beat ourselves up or figure it out all at one time. That little voice doesn’t go to sleep and it’s like, “Maybe we’re going too far in this direction. Let’s pull back.” Even what you’re saying about, “Everyone in the car, let’s go. We’re out.” Sometimes people don’t realize the value of that. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture all the time. It’s staying aware and doing your best. They think, “If I don’t pull out and do a whole plan and program, no change ever occurs.”
Your book is talking about that and I want to dive in a little bit to the chapters. I love the conversation around inertia. You start obviously with the head and the neck. People think, “Stand straight,” and then you’re like, “That’s great but probably not for your lower back and maybe not even for your head.” Maybe we could lightly journey through your book and identify why you did it not only in this order but why these things were important specifically.
I organize it in parts. This all goes back to how much time you have and it’s not very much. People would say the time barrier is the biggest barrier to why they’re not able to make any of the changes. It’s always time.
Do you think it’s time? I feel like through this time, I’ve gotten heard this enough that I’m like, “No, it’s not important enough.” We have time. Everybody has time. We’re stressed out but I feel like we haven’t created this as a value. We haven’t committed. We say it. I’m guilty of it. When I say it, it’s because I’m familiar with it. When it’s a priority, you make it happen. Do you know those friends that live next door that you don’t even like that much and you never have time for them and you can have a friend that lives three hours away but somehow you see them more?
There are probably different sides of the same coin, which is of the time that we’re willing to allot, you pick what’s most important to you. I always say, “What’s your YouTube video viewage or your social?” There are apps that we might not want to put on our phones because then you can see the number of minutes which turn into hours of consuming things that you probably didn’t even know that you were consuming.
The time is often there. It’s not there for everybody but it’s often there. Either you’re not aware of it or the thing that you want is not high on your value list or you think it is. These things are all valuable to us. If you write out a big and long list, if I keep putting this above, or I keep doing this above, that’s the psychological part of digging in to see if you are living your values.
You said the word grace earlier. For me, it’s a constant conversation with grace and 100% accountability. Mm-hmm. Don’t BS yourself, give yourself a break, be straight, and take it easy. It’s the constant of both of those so we can get to that list.
Don’t BS yourself is you need to see yourself accurately and that’s what this book is about. The first step is to see and we’re not often willing to take that step because it hurts sometimes too much to see. A lot of people don’t even want to go do movement in front of a mirror. They don’t want to see themselves moving. There’s a more metaphorical, “I don’t want the social media app on my phone to show me 78 minutes because I have a narrative of all the things that I can’t get done.”
This was non-essential and I would say it wasn’t even important but it’s like, “I can’t get out of this.” If you ever go to a zoo and watch an animal pace, they pace inside. We always have a social media lap that we’re doing, a mindless lap. It’s like, “This app, this app, flip, and check.” That happens to me. You’re walking these mindless laps and that is sucking time. I did organize the book. At least for people who identified themselves, like, “I would like this book,” it’s like, “What body part?” You don’t have to read it through. I wrote it in essays. This is a book for the times. It’s short essays. They’re longer than Instagram posts.
This is an incredibly achievable book. It’s also to the point. You do it by body parts. You have the head and neck. I’ll say the chapters. You did the ribcage. If I would say to anyone, “If you’re going to start somewhere, maybe start here because it’s connected to breathing.” You talk about shoulders, arms, and hands. I love that you added hands. Nobody ever talks about hands. Also, your spine, your pelvis, your hips, legs, and knees. You get into the Psoas and other things, ankles. and feet. Of course, you can’t ignore Align Your Mind.
There are exercises, stretches, and markers. It’s like, “On the wall, bra straps.” I can tell you this, as somebody who is pretty strong and moves pretty well in a lot of ways, I move worse than most people in certain positions that are probably out there, especially when it comes to my hips and my knees. Doing some of this quietly and privately and trying to get a little better at it. I don’t know why that’s a thing but it is. You make this possible with this book.
I want it to be small. It’s these small numbers. You still look at Instagram, it’s full of people demonstrating exercises and you can see, “That’s a big exercise, and here’s me.” Spread your fingers away when they’re flat. It looks like something so much smaller but there are a lot of different ways to value something. What I know is more of you are going to have a problem gripping with your hands. That’s going to be the deal breaker in life.
That has everything to do with longevity.
It has everything to do with aging well and autonomy. I’ve picked these small things for a reason, “Look, she’s standing on one single leg again and moving her hip twenty degrees.” What I’m bringing to the table is I know if I don’t see that in someone’s gate cycle, they’re not going to be walking in a well-balanced way for as long as someone who did have that. We are not attracted to the small, we are attracted to the bigger and large.
We’re humans,we are sensory through our eyes, and things that register go into this primitive software as more. It’s how we organize things from bigger to smaller, it’s quite natural that we feel that way. Volume is another way to measure. It’s like, “Can your toes spread and move?”It’s yes or no. It seems small, it’s twelve degrees. Toes are so small and quads are huge. Every single step that you take that day will need that toe to do that five-degree thing. When it doesn’t and you’re doing it for 10,000 steps a day, 10,000 is a high volume.
You said something in the book that struck me that I don’t know that I thought about. I thought about it maybe a little when you guys did your walking project. There are people out there counting, “10,000,” and you’re like, “Great. You’re not even using your hips.” You talk about that where if we’re not even in a certain position or moving in a certain way or using our arms let’s say, you’re like, “Cool. In all those steps, you have not used your hips.” This is why books like this are important because sometimes even the connection to the idea about what’s happening, most of us don’t even know that as a starting point. “What do you mean? I’m walking. Of course, I’m using my hips.”
Walking is walking. There are a lot of words in this book and there are a lot of exercises but there are a lot more words to talk to what you’re talking about, which is even trying to highlight the importance of why the way that you would walk would matter. There are many exercises you can do to fix it and we have those but it’s the idea that there is more than one way to walk, more than one way for you to walk, the person reading who feels like, “I have my gate.”
We all have our gate but our gate is malleable in the same way that accents are malleable. They’re movements and we inherit patterns of movement and then we pick it up and it gets influenced by the sports that we do or the injuries that we do like the car accident that we had. A lot of times, we don’t shake the Etch A Sketch enough to clear it out. Ideally, we’re in it for the long game but humans are prioritizing moment to moment. We’ve got that paradox going in inside of us all of the time. That’s what I’m trying to teach through words. You can steer your ship a lot more than you thought.
It’s a little all the time. Head and neck. It starts with getting the head in the right position.
It’s looking around. I’ve been living in a place for four months where there weren’t so many people dropping forward over the phone. Even in Central America right now, in rural places, you can still see it’s gone there quickly. It doesn’t matter if it’s a restaurant or a school, if anyone has downtime, the phone comes out and the head is forward.
[bctt tweet=”Parenthood is uncharted territory. This situation that we are in right now, no other parents have been through it before.”]
There is this posture that has been talked about for a long time in fitness publications, physical therapy publications, posture articles, and general health of the Dowager’s hump that comes. It’s been rebranded, it’s now Tech Neck, and you’re seeing it in 20-year-olds instead of in 80-year-olds. In 80-year-olds, it was more cemented and it was the decades-old effect of slow weakness over time. Now, our 20-year-olds are practicing it. This is the first generation that’s going to have these habits cemented during their juvenile time.
Usually, I always start my books feet to head but I decided to go the other way. Anything where you’re forward on the computer, I was like, “Let me give you an exercise right now while you’re investing time in this that would make the entire time you’re reading this better for you.” That’s head ramping, pulling your head back and up and making it so the back of your neck wasn’t scrunched up and you didn’t have these big curves going on. It’s simple.
I love the word head ramping because it feels dynamic, like, “I can do that.” I have a friend who’s a beauty guy, the facials, it’s all about beauty, and he’s in Beverly Hills, it’s the whole thing. Let me tell you that it’s the same story. He’s working on the back of your neck trying to open up that tissue to get that head back so the jaw is pretty and you don’t get that weird chin. Sometimes I don’t care what’s your motivation. If it means that you think you’re going to look more attractive, great. I also thought it was interesting that you slowly have trained yourself to sleep without a pillow. Is this right?
I still do. I feel better without a pillow.
You don’t have the smallest shoulders in the world.
I have broad shoulders. We’ve focused a lot on, “If this forward curled-up position isn’t the best, then the better one is the shoulder is back. Head up one.” That’s true to a certain extent. The thing is, what we’re avoiding is the fact that our bodies need to be moving all the time. There is no optimal single best position for you to be in. I used to deal with headaches all the time and I have tension in my shoulders. My arms are strong and my shoulders are strong. I do a lot in that way.
You mean developed like the fact that you’ve developed up top means your body is carrying a different load than a woman whos smaller.
I talk a lot. I’m thoracic forward. I had headaches a lot and physiotherapists would be like, “Do these stretches. You got to mobilize these things.” I would do them and then I would go to bed and I would be in this single position all night and I’m like, “I wake up so stiff.” I also read that there was a research article that someone did a while ago, and this was probably 17 or 18 years old, where they were looking at the sleep postures of the world.
It’s hard to see cross-cultural data. We’re Euro and maybe even US-centric with our data. It was the two-foot cushion bed and not just 1 but 15 pillows of all shapes and sizes. I was like, “This is a unique environment for a human.” I was reading this paper and the paper was talking about all the different shapes of the spine. I think of my dog and all the other animals sleeping through the night and adjusting and things fold. I’m like, “Look how mobile they are that they can do that.” I was like, “I’m not mobile.”
I’m practicing a single position all night long. I started over eighteen months while also mobilizing my upper body. Removing my pillow was not my only exercise for mobilizing my upper body and slowly downgrading in size. Yes, my head would flop towards my ear a little bit when I slept on my side and my neck was stretching but that’s what I wanted. I would naturally turn over. It wasn’t like I was a fitful sleep, it was just my body slept soundly.
You get up and shift. I never went back to having headaches ever again from that.
People will say to you, “What’s the best position to sleep in?” It’s like, “Come on. It’s a few different positions.” Lairds is religious only about a few things. We joke, like, “Don’t mess with certain things.” When he travels, he has a pillow that is as thick as a piece of paper.
I use a T-shirt sometimes when I want a little bit.
He’s intense about it. I appreciated that reminder. He’s more connected to being wild. The ribcage. Since I read the book, I’m sitting, and I move my ribcage around. I’m aware of a softer diaphragm and trying to breathe from down in there. I’m more narrow in here. For how tall I am, I’m narrow in the middle of my body but also hitting volleyballs made me tight. The obliques are super tight from cranking forward. That was something that I had to pay attention to. You talk about all of the areas of the ribcage, the ribs themselves, and the material in between the ribs. All of this is connected to breathing. There’s a lot of great information about giving love to the ribcage. Who thinks about the ribcage?
It’s a vital place for us. We talk about arms and legs and that’s what goes into a book. What I’m also trying to get across here is this idea that alignment and posture are not about how you look, it’s about how things work. Alignment means this is how you can maximize the function of these parts. It’s in the same way that fixing the wheel alignment on your car is not about how your car looks awesome cruising down the road.
There’s a longevity issue. You’re prematurely wearing things out because things aren’t moving well. In the ribcage, you have a lot of joints in your thorax and they have to hinge and flip. If you imagine these ribs like a basket of ribs coming off of your spine, they all have joints in your spine. There’s a relationship between the mobility of your spinal parts and the ability for your vertebrae to move forward and back to the right and to left and to twist. They’re like a bucket handle of your ribs to be able to articulate. The stiffer your spine, the less the ribs can articulate.
The ribs bucket handling is part of your inspiration and expiration, the ability to breathe process. I don’t think that everyone knows that. It’s like, “This is how my body is.” I’m like, “Yes, but the environment and how you use your body is also part of how your body is. You can’t separate those two.” We are like clay being molded around. There’s a certain determinant of shape for most of our parts but there’s a lot of nuance that comes with how we’ve flown our aircraft so to speak.
You’ve had people that come to your workshops or you’ve seen them personally and everything is at a standstill, it’s a log jam. It’s like, “Where do you begin?” For people, maybe they’ve been sitting and working their whole lives and maybe they don’t have a physical practice, they’ve never been introduced to yoga class, or whatever.
A thing like moving your ribcage around is a small thing. You even talk about you can do it sitting on the floor and surrendering to that. When someone gets in that position, if they’re doing this on their own, what would be a way out, a starting point out of feeling stuck? When you talk about the spine and the ribs, it’s like, “Okay.” You have exercises in the book that are clear. Is it just saying to people, “It’s a few minutes a day, a little bit.”
You were talking about not wanting to get on the floor. It’s far. It’s farther for you. You’re so tall.
I force myself in my workouts to do exercises, even ones where I have to move around on the floor because I don’t like it.
That’s where a lot of people are. If you’re going, “I don’t know where to start and everything is stuck. I’m stuck.” Get down to the floor and get on your back and then roll to the right and left and it’s going to feel like a massage. The hardest distance is in your mind to make yourself do that. Roll on the right hip and feel the right hip bone and the right ribcage pushing into the ground and then roll to the left and feel the ground. Push those parts and go back and forth to the right and the left. Roll over onto your stomach and reach your arms out in front of you and then get back on your back and twist the right leg over to one side and the left leg.
Don’t worry about form and don’t worry about even the specifics. You’re not granular at all. This is blunt instrument time off the floor creating pressure. Getting on the ground is a lot of movement for a lot of body parts all at once. If you haven’t done that regularly, that’s going to be a lot. Once you get down there, you’re going to want to stay down there for the same reason you didn’t want to go down, “It’s too hard to get up. I might as well stay down here and keep moving things around.” Put your Netflix on.
Make it worth it, the trip down there.
One of the things I mentioned in the book is we’re not good at listening to our body communicate about movement. We were taught about hunger signals. If your kids are hungry, it’s like, “You’re not hungry, you’re bored. You’re hyperactive because you ate too much.” We have no real language around movement and how our body is talking to us about it. When you get down on the floor and start doing spontaneous movements, they’re the equivalent of yawning. Your body knows what it wants to do but it hasn’t been put in an environment so follow that thread, let it unwind, go wherever it wants, and make that your starting practice, do it twice a day.
There are a couple of things connected to things that you’re saying in the book and one is following the instinct. When you see something and you’re like, “I don’t want to do that,” that’s what you need to be doing. The other part of that is an interesting thing where I feel, at times, I have to let my body move in a certain way so that I can liberate things in my personality. It’s almost like I can feel my tightness and my personality, I’m like, “You need to do something that you don’t want to do because it’ll open you up in a way to let that person out.”
You see that with mental health or feelings of anxiety. I’m not saying somebody who has anxiety, people who feel anxious. How do you even get to the place to make the better choices? They drink something or eat something or don’t move or whatever that doesn’t help them get out of it. The movement is like, “You’re feeling irritated and agitated? Guess what? Get on the floor.” Do something different because maybe it will take care of itself a little bit.
That’s what I wrote, one person irritated is fine. If everyone’s irritating you on that day, that might be a sign. You need a little bit more movement. Everyone solves their problems while you’re gone out moving and then no one is irritating anymore when you come back. I have learned from myself that chronic irritation is a sign of under movement in me. We don’t all have the same signals. This is introducing a framework. That is a phenomenon.
Under move signals is a phenomenon and we need to get more curious about the rule of movement in our lives. I don’t think we’re curious, that’s the main issue. It’s 30 minutes, it’s three times a week, and it’s buys and tries. Movement prescription, even in medicine is still this compartmentalized piece, and it has merit but it’s not the full spectrum of movement.
What it removes is our ability to develop that relationship with ourselves going, “How would I know when I’m under moved?” I know how it feels in my head and my eyes. I know how it feels in my uterus and how it feels in my feet and my knees. That comes from a lot of years of paying attention and observing myself when I’m moving a certain way and when I’m not.
I don’t think our toolbox of movement is big. It’s a stone hammer right now. It could be a lot more precise, those tools that are out there. I’m trying to arm people with a little bit more sophisticated movement toolbox so they can figure out how to solve more of their problems through movement. Not all problems can be solved through movement but a lot of them can. We are in a sedentary environment, which means we’re not wielding our movement tools at all.
The medication of movement is a real thing. I joke that I dealt with the majority of my childhood issues through movement. Even if it’s the ability to go, “I can accept that.” One thing I want to tell you that I love is, and for people listening, one butt cheek, your left butt cheek off on one side of the chair, and put your right leg there behind and do it the other side. People have to sit or they choose to sit for their job.
You give stretches in there about putting your arms on the chair and ways to stretch. For people who have to sit all day, is it, “Every 30 minutes, get up and walk around and then do these stretches. Use the chair itself.” Are there other things that we can say to people, “They can be sliding their ribs and moving their spine.” Are there other things that we can encourage people to do? For whatever reason, we believe we have to sit.
We have to be in place, that’s usually what it is. You need to have your eyes on a screen. That doesn’t freeze the rest of your body parts. This is more psychology but when you’re like, “I have to sit for work.” If that’s your mantra, you’re going to have a hard time getting out of that. If it’s more nuanced, if you’re like, “I have to keep my eyes on the screen. I have to keep being productive.”
If that’s more accurate, then make the statement, “Now my legs can go over here.” Maybe sitting is the fluid thing. It’s like, “I have to keep at least one butt cheek in this chair.” It doesn’t say what the other limbs are doing. If your hands have to be on a keyboard or your eyes on a screen, that gives you an opportunity to stand a little bit more.
Let’s talk about standing. I’ve seen you and several things. You have a beautiful reminder about even standing and the distribution of weight in our feet and our knees and our hips. It’s continuously reminding people we’re not in a position.
The reason we came to chairs is because standing all day is also not good for your body. If you have ever done factory labor or have done professions that are on your feet all day, there’s no magic in a standing position. It’s about the volume, it’s repetitive use. We’re trying to get away from repetitive use by cycling through as many different positions as possible. The more nuanced you are with your understanding of position, you know that I can be upright on straight legs but I can have some of my weight on my right leg for a while and then I can shift over to my left.
I can be on a stool where my hips are supportive but my legs are straighter. I can be in a chair with my knees more flexed.It’s called flexible seating and they use it in schools. They usually use it in schools with children who can’t sit still. We all have different degrees to which we can suppress our natural urges. You’re cultivating what I’m doing as we’re talking,it’s one’s freedom to fidget and to not feel like fidgeting makes you less professional, less able to communicate or do your work without a big break. My brain isn’t necessarily shifting away from what I’m doing when I’m shifting but maybe through practice, you get better at it.
To that first part of your question, it’s both. It is one breaking up sitting way more often than we’re doing right now. 30 minutes would be a minimum but you can break it up by standing up. Take your phone call standing up if you know you’re going to talk and have a conversation with someone. We’re kidding ourselves about how much time we’re being productive when we’re sitting. You’re doing your social media laps and you’re looking over here.
How long can we genuinely concentrate? You’re probably way less guilty of this than I am. I sometimes will observe myself and be like, “Are you kidding right now?”
I get that and that’s when I walk. I write a lot of books and I stay moving because I’ve realized that those long pauses of, “I’m not engaging with what I’m doing.”
Do you ever record or do anything on the fly?
I have learned to because I realize those periods of zoning out while I’m in the work position. It’s fatigue. We’re in a weird paradox where we’ve never moved as little as we have and we’ve also never rested as little.
We’re not moving enough so we’re freaking tired.
We’re stimulating. I can’t just throw something in my eyeballs because I don’t know what else to do. I have learned to use those lulls. I hate even the term productivity. It means work productivity like doing my job or work. Like wealth, there are a lot of different kinds of wealth. I can be productive in the non-monetary parts of my life by taking a walk with this time. I have a lot of freedom in the sense I don’t have someone who’s like, “I’m paying you for the butt in the chair.” I don’t have that.
I also think that we’re not fluid and having difficult conversations with people and be like, “We’re getting together with the office and saying, ‘Is this working for everybody?’” We’re not used to setting up spaces that work for us and maybe it’s time that we start those conversations. We have HR departments or even smaller offices talking about how work-office life is going for people.
[bctt tweet=”Changing habits is hard, that’s the hardest thing.”]
I don’t know how many people are going, “The sedentism of this office is not working for me.” What are some solutions that don’t detract from my productivity? I’m about pushing that line and that’s why I set up so many things for families to keep us moving. I’m not comfortable with the amount of screen time going on. What could I offer you and what could you offer me? We are not used to having those conversations.
We don’t even know it’s an option. We forget. It’s amazing. It is that thing about giving yourself permission. You sitting here and moving from one side to the next in the chair, it doesn’t impact me. If somehow it becomes a new practice that supports you throughout the day so be it. Encourage our kids. The problem is we put them in school and then we’re like, “Sit down. Be quiet.” We know that isn’t great.
I’m curious about young people. We talked about kids and if people want to dive into that, Grow Wild is great and you have so much information there. Let’s say young adults, male and female. Are we seeing patterns of them doing things differently from one another generally? Is it the same on the device, head cranked forward, and sitting? Are there things that we want to encourage them to start to look at throwing into their movement practice? I almost feel like they have it worse because they’ve grown up with technology.
In Grow Wild, I was trying that they’re digital natives. This is the first group of humans that have been born into this landscape. The thing about the juvenile period, and a little bit more than that, is your skeleton is forming for life from 0 to 16 to 20 and you don’t get that back. You don’t get that period of time back. Whatever you do after that fact, you are working with whatever you are able to establish during that period of time. That’s the limit. That’s why understanding biology is helpful.
As great as humans are at tinkering and figuring out lots of things, there are still some constraints that at least right now are constraints. It hasn’t been that long. It’s weird to imagine a world without smartphones when it’s been 10 or 12 years. I have people like, “How could you drive anywhere?” I used to get in my car and drive all around.
Sometimes you ask for directions.
A paper map. I still pull out the paper maps. I like paper maps. As things get faster, they depend on these other systems. You lose your skillsets to depending them. My parenting style is like, “I don’t have that much to offer you except I’m going to keep some of these skillsets intact, whether you use them or not so be it.”
It’s like starting a fire, do you need to know how to start a fire? Probably not. There’s something in the process of learning how to do it. That same argument could be made. Do you need to know how to walk a mile? You have a car, you’re never going to have to walk a mile again. We could argue that the skillset influences other parts of our body and experience outside of the actual skill of being able to walk a mile. I feel that way about environmental awareness.
What’s north? Where’s the wind coming from?
I remember a friend was like, “It’s snowing,” they saw it on their phone and I looked outside and it’s sunny and they’re like, “I was on the wrong city.” They’re like, “We can’t go, it’s snowing.” We’re in a conversation and they’re looking out their phone and I’m looking out the window. The fact that they’re in the wrong city on their phone, that’s the way of knowing.
It can be a great tool but it can’t be commander and chief.
It’s not your lungs. It’s not your backbone.
Someone has grown up and maybe they grew up in a city or a suburb, they weren’t particularly athletic, and they didn’t maybe have a moving family. Now, they are a formed adult.
It’s where I started.
They grew up as tech-native. Let’s say they’re in their 20s or early 30s and they’re like, “I’ve been listening to Huberman. I want to be all I can be or Ben Greenfield.”
Pick a name.
Maybe they didn’t get bone density Sure and accrue the muscle mass that they needed when they were younger. That’s the group. What do we say to them? Maybe it wasn’t the best start ever but who cares? I had a good start and in some ways, I ran into a wall. I’m working my way around.
You specialize early on. There’s no perfect way.
I want to say that to people. As much as we think we’re so smart, we’re not going to let go of our biology but there’s always something you can do. We know through the food and everything. In the movement part, if you were to say in principle, we know sitting is not so great, is there something else that we want to hone in on and go, “We’re not going to get away from this. This is important. This is not going to work.”
Look at your movement diet. Start thinking about having a movement diet and right now would be pretty great. This is in super general terms. Look at your daily movement calories and we like to think about it as minutes or steps. You could look at it in whatever unit works for you. It’s like, “I did 10,000 of something.” Imagine if you had a pedometer that showed how much you didn’t move. You can’t do the number of steps not taken.
Your whole body needs to be moving regularly in diverse ways and steps are a blunt instrument. You can ask yourself, “Do I move every day for 30 minutes, 40 minutes, 60 minutes, 2 hours, or 3 hours?” I don’t mean exercise, I mean maybe go the other way, “How many hours am I in this one position?” That’s probably going to be easier for you to figure out. Think of your body as a constellation. Is it in a chair constellation? A lot of hours a day? Can you reduce some of it? Maybe your work time is non-negotiable and your driving time might be. You could swap a 20-minute drive for a 60-minute walk. It takes a little bit longer to get there.
Your after-work, after-school, weekend, or vacation time are the more malleable places to start with, make those as dynamic as possible. Do not ever focus on the thing that’s least malleable in your life. Always start with where is most malleable. If you’re like, “My work won’t let me move.” It’s like, “What do your weekends look like? What does after-work look like?” If those are still static, start with that. That could be walking more, not sitting in your chairs, but sitting on the floor. Roll around on the ground while you’re watching your entertainment. Don’t even have to reduce entertainment time.
My dog is going to be so happy because he loves it when you get down there and he’s like, “You guys are with me.”
Kids love it too.
That’s important and a great invitation to people. It’s that reminder of movement is different than exercise. You even talk about, and there are so many important things, intrinsic motivation versus health. We have enough structure and things on us that we have to do. You’re not talking about exercise, you’re talking about movement. There is a time for exertion and exercise.
Exercise is great, it’s one way. I’m extremely motivated by health and performance data. I realized now through being in this industry for a long time and also looking at a lot of data for exercise and movement adherence is not the motivation for most people. They have regular lives. They’re not trying to optimize and do this whole thing. They’re not enjoying their regular day-to-day or things that they like. This could even be to that younger population you were talking about, you list for me the three things that you’re most interested in doing with your body.
When you start with that, it’s a weird Madlib. You fill it in with what you would like to do. Athletes are like artists in that way, they’re specialized in their performance and that’s important to them even more than longevity sometimes, especially when you’re in the thick of competition. The same can go for the military. It’s like, “I’m here to do my job. The idea of optimization over the long game, I’m willing to trade that for my values here and this performance that I want to do.” That phenomenon goes for all people.
The bulk of information put out about movement is coming through the health-centric fitness lens and it’s leaving a tremendous number of people behind. I’m trying to broaden it to say, “This is about that trip you always wanted to take because you’re an artist and you want to be able to physically move through the space and soak in the art of these people.”
This is about that group of people that when you’re with together, you don’t want to be like, “My back hurts and it hurts so bad. I can no longer focus on being with the person in front of me because the pain takes up so much of my energy.” I can just not exercise, not even move, but sit with them in a way that gives them my full concentration. That might take some movement to get to that state but it’s not about me moving and the thing that I want to do. Understanding that movement isn’t always to serve the end goal of even more movement necessarily. It’s about the bulk of the experiences we have are physical.
When you don’t have a nutritious movement diet, so to speak, it can detract from the non-movement things that you want to do. Unfortunately, movement is still the solution. Fortunately, the toolbox is pretty simple and big but we need to be thinking about it in a different way. Non-movement people are like, “I would love to be able to sit and read and write because that’s my flow, that’s my jam, and that’s my sport. What are the movements that I need to support so I can do this non-active thing?” I’m trying to open the conversation and be like, “Movement is huge and it works in a lot of different ways.”
Even if you’re interested in being fit, longevity, and all these things, you’re still only going to do that for a certain amount of time anyway during the day and also not have the rest of your day work against you, that’s the other thing. It’ll be faster, your butt will be harder if you don’t sit in your chair all day long.
It works for everybody. That’s the thing, whether you’re someone who’s like, “No.” I love movement. I love the jam. I like the firm buns. I like all those things. One of the challenges is it’s hard to think outside of yourself in your own context when you’re an expert on something. When experts get into the space of like, “This is my perspective of it.” Movement is researched mostly by athletes and fitness people so then that’s the language, that’s the solution, and that’s the toolbox. I’m like, “Those are great. The principle though is just movement. Put it where you want it.”
You talk about moving around with either minimal footwear or barefoot when you can. That’s a harder thing for people. We’re in beach culture. I played a sport where you didn’t even have shoes and him as well so it’s more natural in our house. The best thing that works on my body, quite frankly, are my toes. Y
You’ve been training them so well for so long.
It’s the best thing I do. I hinge well and my toes open great. I tried your exercise where you put your big toe up. I have a huge big toe from jumping, it’s unnaturally large, it’s weird actually. What does that look like for people who live in the real world? Minimal footwear or no footwear and why?
No footwear is not practical.
If you’re going to walk though. Let’s say you had the opportunity. Weirdly, maybe you’re in a park that you trust or the beach. If somebody is near a shoreline though. My favorite thing is to go to California and see people walk on the path next to the beach, six inches from the beach, instead of taking your shoes off and trudging it through barefoot on the sand.
We don’t have foot strength. The point that I would want to start with is a significant portion of your body parts are from the ankle down, a quarter. If we approached it from a purely training standpoint, a large number of our body parts are not being moved. Imagine putting your hands in a stiff glove from the time that you were 2 months old and then wearing a glove most of the time. You can imagine being so hand dominant as a culture.
Imagine not spreading and articulating your hands in this way. More equally, imagine how your shoulders, your elbows, and your wrists would have to adapt because your hands weren’t dextrous. That same phenomenon is happening. The shoulders are the hips, the knees are the elbows, the wrists are the ankles and the toes, and the feet are the hands. It doesn’t mean that you have to go out into the world, it can be in your house.
Even noticing that you have feet, that they have muscles, and there’s anatomy that needs a little bit of training. Our hands are certainly important to us but so are our feet. Because they’re in shoes, it doesn’t mean that they’re not affecting your balance and your ability to take a step. The ability for your knees and hips to articulate well is all passing through that foot. I wrote two books on feet because a lot of people deal with foot pain to the point where they can’t do anything with their whole body any longer because of their foot.
A quarter inch of a sore spot is enough to take a whole body down. That’s a big deal in public health. It’s a big deal in aging. It’s a big deal in self-efficacy and your ability to live on your own. To live in your house and to be able to walk safely, you can’t have great balance when you have foot pain because you can’t stand on a single foot a lot of the time so then you have to adjust your gate so that you shuffle so that you’re never weight-bearing on a single foot. It’s a cycle. Your feet need exercise, that’s the simple thing. Your feet need exercise. You can do it on your clean vacuumed carpet.
The book, Simple Steps to Foot Pain Relief, is geared toward a person who’s not going to go walk barefoot and who already has a lot of symptoms for which they would need a safer barefoot space but still need the exercise. They’re on towels and maybe their feet are so sore to even stand on so they’re going to double a towel over so they can have something soft and cushiony and then do their toe lifting and their toe spreading and their calf stretching and all those other foot strengthening exercises. For everyone else, being able to walk around your house sometimes without shoes and to get to the point where you can feel some texture underfoot in a space.
Walking on your gravel driveway.
Your cobblestone is maybe a little softer. Notice, like, “I can’t step on this terrain.” You become unaware. We’re unaware of our physical state. We’ve cushioned our physical experience quite a bit.
It’s an important reminder. I know a lot of athletes who have yoga toes and they get the stretchers and they do all of that because they’re forced to be in shoes. Athletes get that big toe that leans over. It’s bringing awareness. I also love the idea of the calf, the importance of pumping your calves, using your calves, and stretching your calves because it’s important. People don’t realize it.
With the importance of the lower leg and the importance of why those steps matter, exercise is protective of health. Why it’s protective of health isn’t abundantly clear. We all know it’s protective of health but why exactly? There are a lot of mechanisms through which it’s beneficial. If you imagine your heart being at the top of your body, getting blood down from your heart is pretty easy, and getting it back up is the portion that takes more work.
This is what I tried to highlight in Move Your DNA. Your structure has a purpose. Movement has a purpose. When we got rid of so much of it, other systems were taxed. Humans not moving around is a unique novel situation for humans to find themselves when you consider the human timeline and the idea of the muscular pumping of your calves that happens with your steps being a support for your cardiovascular system to help push the blood back up.
In the absence of that, your heart is now the sole pump and we even think about it as the sole pump but it doesn’t work like that. It works like that in a chair sitting down, not moving. Our anatomical model is a not moving human. The pumping action is what gives your heart the break. Imagine how much work your heart has to do in a sedentary lifestyle versus a more active one where the cabs are like, “Let me help you get the blood back up.”
In the absence of that, your vein flaps are having to do a lot of it and people struggle with vein issues of their lower leg. One, they weren’t stepping. The second one is then they have this tension problem. Even when you are stepping, the calves are tense that they’re not able to provide a strong contraction so that’s why the calve stretch. We want to get this calf stretch not only because doing this stretch at the moment is good for you but because it pays off with every other step from that point. The volume is large for those few-minute investments of stretching.
That’s the thing I want to refocus on in the book, which is the things you’re offering and inviting people to do are completely doable, no matter who you are, and it’s clear. Doing this work, you meet people all the time that think they’re going to be the one person that can’t make a change. You see people, like, “I’ve had this for 30 years. I was born with this.” Let’s say we could for one second get them to suspend their point of view. What’s the invitation? Is it reframing it?
I run in the wall of this sometimes too where something is locked up in my body that I’ve bought into it. You’re pliable and movable and you also have the know-how on how to get yourself out of trouble. Maybe a more important question is do you ever run into things that you are like, “I’ve got to work myself out of this.” What’s the trick that then you use for yourself? It’s sometimes harder for people who even know better. What do you do? What kick in the pants do you give yourself? How do you get yourself to go, “I’m going to make this change. I’m going to add this. I’m busy. I already do all these other things.” How do you get there yourself?
What came up for me when you’re talking is I’m like a back door. If I can sneak it past my system, it’s pretty good. In terms of your question, “I’ve got something locked up myself, how do I get in there?” I won’t be like, “I need to work on my hips. I need to work on my left hip.” That is a way for me to be like, “I can’t do it.” All the hip things come up so I’ll pick something more general. It’s the same thing I was saying, get on the floor and sit cross-legged for a little bit. You don’t have to do it. It’s the same thing that I do with my kids, “You don’t have to do the big thing. Do the small thing and do this one little thing that you don’t dislike all that much.” It’s the gateway.
I can usually finagle myself that way. My kids are even like, “You say that you’re going to start with this but we know that we’re eventually going to get to this point.” They’re not wrong but they can’t resist the easy thing. I’m like, “Let’s start with the easy thing. We’ll see where it goes.” It always goes that way because inertia works on you and we want it to go that way. If it ends up going away, you’re on board with it going that way. It’s starting. The resistance is to the change to the starting part.
You’ve been doing this and you’re trying to say many of the same things, many different ways to capture people. Are you feeling more hopeful? You don’t have a choice. I do these and I have a million of these conversations. It’s like, “What attitude is going to be the one that then gets us all there?” The other thing is a lot of us are navigating many things. You go, “Are they serious? Now they’re sitting more.”
We have more information and we’re doing worse in certain ways. Do you have something within you or is it like, “I have an alternative. I’m here to do this. The only way is to keep doing it. I’ll say it a different way.” I’ve read other books of yours and this is even more digestible and clear. Is it that you’re just then honing your own craft to say, “I’ll bring this to the table now.”
It’s a lot of different elements. I do think that the key to unlocking ourselves, there is no one key. I don’t think there’s a key for people. Every person has their own combination. I try to never say the same thing twice in the same way because I already made that key. This is a different key. For some people, this language will be the key. You can see it in the way people tell. It’s like, “You didn’t mention this.”
Do you mean the smarty pants know-it-all?
I mean that there’s a different key. They’ll be like, “I know this. I need it more technical.” Everyone’s got their own key.
By the way, Katy came from a podcast with Jill Miller. You’re there, by the way.
I can dial it up or down. I can make it the most simple thing and I can make it the most complicated thing. You tell me what you need and I can formulate it for you. The second part of my question is it’s easy to talk about how society is because you can look at society as it being a single thing. What I have had to focus on in my understanding of the world is there’s only ever the person across from me. There are the people that I see in my life that I can talk to and get to know their point of view and feedback with that.
I could find plenty of people who aren’t how society is. That lets me know that society isn’t a particular way. I could still say that, in general, society is pretty sedentary. There are the generalizations and then there are the specifics. Even if society became more and more sedentary over time, it doesn’t say anything about the people who aren’t. They don’t belong to that particular group and they’re like, “I am so much more mobile.”
As a member of a sedentary society, I completely turned myself around and created an active family despite the fact that doing so is counterculture right now. I wrote a book about it and more people are like, “I was doing this.” I can see the change. When we’re working out well, “The society is not picking up what I’m laying down so therefore, I’m going to stop doing the thing.” I couldn’t be defeated all the time because I couldn’t take daily action.
It’s not to say that everything is beautiful and rosy. I can see also when someone across from me is struggling in that same way. I hear what this person is saying and this situation and this society aren’t working for this person, I can hear that. I write things for the masses and talk to the masses but I need to make sure that a lot large portion of my life is dealing with the smaller groups in that way and that’s how I get the balance and that’s how I keep producing, which is a compulsion. It’s what I’m doing. It’s what I do.
Does your husband go into a certain gear when you’re like, “I’m writing a book.” What happens there?
I’m an intense person. I have a pretty calmness to me. I am a laser all of the time. He’s like all partners that we get, a good balance for that. It’s close to being a monk. He’s all about not doing if those two things can be a balance.
Do you mean living?
They just do it but they’re not doing. Those are my favorite kind of people.
He’s not undoing. He’s 100% about in the moment and I’m like, “That was so fun.” He was like, “We’re still doing it.” I was like, “Right.” He’s like, “We still have a mile left of this hike or this walk.” I’m like, “This was a great day.” He’s like, “There are seven hours left.” I am always big picture far ahead and he’s equal vastness of picture but it’s all full of what he sees in front of him right at the moment. I love that balance of him going, “I can see the whole thing.” I’m a pain in the ass and he’s good for me.
It all has its place. Everybody has their job that they’re doing. I ask a lot of people this that have been in longer relationships, is there something that has shown up for you as a partner? It doesn’t matter what kind. It’s like the dynamics, he’s more mellow or present. They don’t teach you because they don’t teach us that you go, “This seems to work in a relationship.” It’s something that you’ve learned to practice that elevated or supported the relationship, a certain behavior, or a frame of mind.
How long have we been in a relationship? Over seventeen years. We came together older so this might be in our 30s.
Is that older? I’m kidding.
What works for us is we both were working on ourselves and that the way we see the world and the way we are reacting to stuff is completely contained within ourselves. There’s never been that like, “You did this and I feel this way.” It’s always like, “I feel this way because I feel this way.” Being able to talk from that perspective has been helpful. There’s not a lot of nitpicking back and forth.
That usually seems to work universally. It’s true, we think we’re going to change or the other person if they act accordingly. Being able to say, “I’m feeling this. You’re here with me sharing this experience but it doesn’t mean it’s because of you.” It’s an interesting place to work from even if it’s like, “I feel restless”’
I live with somebody who feels bored in the sense of needs to be in nature and needs wind to blow and stuff to happen. I don’t take it personally and there’s nothing I can do about it. I’m like, “Sorry.” You are capable and competent and a doing person. Do you ever get scared? I could see you tired but you seem like you’ll know. You’ll go to sleep without your pillow and you wake up and get after it again.
I can deal with my needs.
I’m always interested in the balance of the allowance. It’s like, “We’re in the process. It’s going to be what it’s going to be. I’m going to do my best.” Also, fighting sometimes the nagging voice at night, like, “Is that kid going to be okay?”
Parenthood is uncharted territory. This situation that we are in right now, no other parents have been through it before. We’re on the front line of not only parenting individually but also parenting in this environment where nobody knows how it’s going to turn out because no one has ever done it before. Every assurance that it’s going to be fine, it’s like, “That can’t possibly be true because you don’t know.” For someone who’s super literal like me, I’m like, “How would you know how it’s going to turn out?”
I am always worried on a low grade of, “Is this the best decision? Is this the best choice?” I’m not crippled by perfectionism, I don’t have that, and I know some people have that. I don’t have that because we’re humans and we’re going to make mistakes. Relatively speaking, at least where we are right now, I’m not living in a war zone. When I look at the spectrum of human experiences, I feel pretty fortunate. I don’t think I’m impervious to that. In general, I feel a lot but my emotions don’t drive me around. I can be cold in that way but I have plenty of warmth.
I can relate to that. Also, maybe you’re practical so when you start to worry, it’s like, “What’s this doing?”
I remember seeing a Buddhist chart and it’s like, “Why worry?” I was like, “Can you do anything about the thing?” Yes or no? Why worry? I was like, “That makes so much sense. I go, “Is there something I can do about it?” Yes. We’ll go do that thing. I have this weird algorithm. I saw it fleeting, driving by, but it made so much sense to me that flows through my head a lot. Perfectionism is a tough one and I don’t have it.
It doesn’t exist. I always say perfect is not the goal. That’s important in this conversation. Perfect isn’t the goal. Keep trying to do a little better. We’re going to wrap up. Justin gets one question. I also want to remind people that you have a podcast.
Is that fun for you?
You’re an excellent interviewer. You’re naturally curious. You can follow. I’m focused on movement. It’ll be hard for me to focus on anything outside of the way that I want to drill it down. I talk a lot about drilling down my own stuff.
That’s an incredible tool.
It’s a type of podcast.
It’s a great tool. Do you enjoy it?
I love nerding out about movement and coming up with solutions for people.
Do you take questions in from people and try to solve them?
Sometimes. Podcasting has been an addendum to other things that I’m doing. I live in a place that’s rural, Washington. The wifi isn’t great so there are these technical barriers. We live in a tiny house right now. I have all these barriers to it so I’m like, “Here’s my so produced podcast.” If you’re interested in the content, the content is great. It’s helpful.
I do too, that’s why I wanted to bring it up.
Justin, what do you want to ask? Did I make you take your shoes off when we trained?
I did. It was interesting.
He’s learning to move his body.
With so many books on such a variety of topics, is there a person or a moment that inspires it or do you have this library in your head that you have to get out?
I’m responsive to what shows up, that’s my way of being present. It’s like, “What do you need right now? I’ll meet that need.” I try not to assume the needs that people will have. What I’m writing is very much in the situation that I’m in. Grow Wild, I couldn’t have written that book. I needed my kids to be a certain age. I needed to have solved a number of problems and then had a stack of like, “Here’s how I solved all these problems and how I came to think about it.” That’s usually what prompts a book.
I can’t do a podcast or write an article unless it comes naturally, like, “I’m interested in this right now. I want to get this out like a burp. It needs to come out right now and it’s going to have this cover and do it that way.” I could never follow a marketing plan or a media strategy. If anyone follows me, you’ll see, it’s all at the moment, “I took this picture right now and I thought about this right now.” It probably drives my staff crazy because I feel like I should be more on a schedule and I’m not. I’m like, “You’re getting what I’m interested in and what I was curious about right now.” The same goes for books.
Anything else? Now you know why I make you take your shoes off. Did you see that?
Now I see.
When we train, I’m like, “You don’t need to wear those shoes.”
It wasn’t a weird challenge.
I know it’s hard in a gym. For me, I lift without shoes on and I’m well aware that I’m moving dumbbells and things around. It’s like, “Keep those away from your feet.” By the way, a sneaker isn’t going to protect you that much from a heavyweight so let’s not kid ourselves. I would be remiss if I don’t also talk quickly about over-coupling because it is important. Could we visit about breaking that down?
You have hinges. If you ever go look at a skeleton, you’re like, “Look at all these hinges.” The hinges are there because they each have the mobility that they offer. We tend to have certain groups of our bodies that become over-coupled. They start to move as a unit. I was doing this in class with Jill. If you get on your hands and knees and you think of doing a cat cow exercise, your pelvis tucks and your ribcage lifts your mid back and comes up and then they go the opposite way.
One of the exercises I had people to do was to get on their hands and knees and only move their pelvis or only move their ribcage and your brain is like, “I don’t have a program for that. They always move together as a unit.” I’m like, “I know and that’s a problem.” That’s a problem because it means every time you want to pull your shoulders back, your pelvis has to drop forward. You were losing the refinement of your ability to move, which means you can’t be as responsive to things.
At the end of the day, you want to be responsive with your body so that if you stumble on something, it can read the environment and make the subtle adjustment versus, “Hips and pelvis, two big parts have to go together every time.” Your pelvis and your thigh have to go everywhere together in a codependent relationship. Every time you take a step, the hip doesn’t do anything. The low back is the new hip. The big coupling problem that we have in our body is the shoulders are so stiff that when the arm goes, the ribcage goes.
When the thigh goes, the pelvis goes. Both the ribcage and the pelvis hinge on the lower back, which means anytime you go to move the arm or the leg, it’s your lower back, that’s the joint and that’s the issue that most people are dealing with who sit and we all sit. The book is focusing on what’s the most common things we see in most people, it’s hips that don’t articulate shoulders and don’t articulate in a low back that over-articulates.
Not only it’s helpful but I appreciated when you talked about if the goal is to reach overhead. Let’s say I decide, “I’m going to start moving and I’m going to class.” Everyone else in the class appears to have their hands over their head. If the only way I can do that is by lifting up my ribcage, I’m tweaking my lower back. It’s also reminding people to do the best they can where you are and that is more interesting than getting your arms or whatever the location is.
I always say to people that right is way more interesting than heavy. When people try to lift, I go, “If you move correctly, that’s more interesting to me than if you have a ton of weight.” It’s like getting that even through ranges of emotion. It’s like, “The right way even if it’s little.” We were working on the squat. He likes to his knees for it instead of going back into the glute. I go, “Even if you go more shallow but you’re going back into that glute and not sliding over that knee, that is how we get there.”
It’s reminding people don’t go in with a competitive attitude or something where you think people are judging you or you’re getting graded. Go there and do the best you can. You point out in Rethink Your Position specific cues, which are important, where to have your back, where to have your hips, and things moving and not other things moving. I wanted to bring that up because it’s important for people to be like, “That is all moving together.”
It’s also more movement. If you’re talking about the movement diet again, you do your squats and you’ve got a part of you that works well. Like a hovering parent., it’s like, “I got that.” Your glutes are like these kids who grow up and they can’t do anything on their own. You’re like, “I got that. Sorry. You can’t move out now.” You can never move into your glutes. It’s a real phenomenon that we have. Alignment parameters are like, “You’re going to squat and your knees have to stay right here. I’m doing this because I love you because I want you to move out sometime or at least be able to function on your own.”
A lot of us have parts of us that move well and you go to a class and you want to feel like you’ve moved a lot and that you’ve been successful that you nailed the form because the form is simple. I’m doing something a little bit different, which is like, “I also need your glutes to move. In order to make sure your glutes are moving, I need you to move into this range of motion.” It doesn’t mean you only have to do squats like that. It’s important to notice if you can’t do any squats like that or if you have other things that are showing up in your body that would be influenced by a lack of strength in this particular area. It seems less, it’s actually more. It’s different. It’s interesting. It’s balancing.
It’s sexy, Justin. It’s interesting. Great angle. Your knees didn’t slide at all.
We don’t want to bolster. We don’t want to go slow. In the end, all you’re doing is taking the current shape of you and etching it to make it harder to develop that different shape.
All the places they can find you, please remind us.
Nutritious Movement is the website. We get a lot of people who are like, “Do you do diet too?” I’m like, “No. It’s the framework of nutrition on movement. For social media, it’s @NutritiousMovement. The podcast is Move Your DNA.
Will we hear the kids in the background?
Sometimes, you do. Being a mom is messy. Being a human is messy. My way of balancing that is like, “I’m going to show you some of the backside of things.” I’ve always appreciated how you’ve talked about, “I’m not happy today.” Realistically.
The thing for me is when someone as capable as you can also say, “And…” People are like, “She has it going on. If she too, that seems like that might be the norm.”
It’s the total norm. It’s overwhelming. It’s hard. You fail a lot. It’s just being human, it’s part of it.
Katy Bowman, thank you. Thank you for this book, I will be using it personally as a tool. Between you and Jill Miller and Kelly Starrett, maybe I will get more action.
We have books at the same time.
I appreciate the opportunity to come at it from all these different angles. There’s no conflict in the messaging, which I am so happy about. My hope for this show is that you won’t hear too many conflicting things, just different ways to get in. Thank you and thanks for coming here and making time. I look forward to whatever next book.
We’ll see. Thank you so much.
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- Katy Bowman
- Move Your DNA
- Grow Wild
- Rethink Your Position
- Gnar Country
- Dr. Dave Rabin
- Simple Steps to Foot Pain Relief
- Move Your DNA – podcast
About Katy Bowman
Katy Bowman is a bio mechanist and bestselling author of 9 books, including Move Your DNA, Grow Wild, and her latest coming out in May, Rethink Your Position. Named one of Maria Shriver’s “Architects of Change,” Bowman is changing the way we move and think about our need for movement. Find out more at NutritiousMovement.com.
Bestselling author, speaker, and a leader of the Movement movement, bio mechanist Katy Bowman is changing the way we move and think about our need for movement. Bowman teaches movement globally and has written 9 previous books on the importance of a diverse movement diet, including Move Your DNA, Dynamic Aging, and Grow Wild. Her latest book, Rethink Your Position, is a much-needed guide to how our bodies move and why we need to prioritize more movement to offset the harms of living in a sedentary culture. It all starts by exploring our body positions and how simple adjustments to how we carry our own weight can make a big difference in our overall physical and mental health.