Movement Matters, by Katy Bowman
Katy Bowman is a biomechanist whose way of seeing the world very much appeals to me. It’s smart, fascinating, and big picture, while still making room for the little, sweet things in life. My kind of perspective.
She talks about something so relevant and important for the world and the direction it’s heading. I have that feeling you get when you hear about something that’s ahead of the game, something that you know is important and is inevitably what we must all pay attention to.
That thing is movement.
Here are the basics: As a population, we don’t move nearly enough; we’re basically sedentary (even those of us who manage a workout X days/week). We need to be moving more of our body, more often. The muscles in our feet, our eyes, our face. All the cells in our body. Movement matters to every part of our body, and almost all of us are lacking.
Katy’s focus is on preventing problems from occurring by injecting our lives with regular and varied movements, instead of narrow-mindedly treating symptoms of sedentarism with surgery, drugs, and artificial supports. I am 100% behind this.
(For the record, I can easily draw parallels from this to the way I think about and design websites. It’s not enough to make bad content look pretty. The content needs to make sense. It’s not enough to add the coolest feature or the latest trend, it should have a purpose. It doesn’t make sense to do what everyone else is doing; do what’s right for your company and your goals. It doesn’t work to fix a confusing site hierarchy by putting more content ‘above the fold’ [which is a good time to insert this website, which I think is an awesome illustration]. Essentially, you can’t fix the problem unless you understand what the problem is and why it’s there. Figure out what’s lacking, don’t just keep piling on bandaids.)
Though important to everyone, Katy’s research and ideas feel particularly relevant to me, since my job has me sitting down for a majority of my working day. I know for a fact this is not good for me.
When I was in university, I walked 10,000 steps every day (up stairs, down stairs, on grass, on pathways, in the winter and in the summer) by the time I got home. It was like clockwork; almost without fail my Fitbit would buzz as I was on my way back from the train. No thought required, it was what had to be done to get from class to class.
Nowadays, if I’m not careful and I have a very focused word day, I can easily end up with less than 3000 steps in the day. Sometimes even less. Writing it out legitimately frightens me. And so, here we are. I’m so glad I found Katy, because I don’t want my lack of movement today to impact me for the rest of my life, because it’s not going to get easier that’s for sure.
How has this cultural sedentarism happened? Katy suggests technology. We’ve outsourced our movement to someone else, somewhere else (in some form or another). We drive cars. Our veggies are picked elsewhere and shipped to us, no matter the season. We don’t even have to cut them if we don’t want. We don’t even have to go to the grocery store to get them if we don’t want. We can turn off our lights, lock the doors, and set an alarm all from our phones (actually, we can even just do it with out voice these days).
We used to need to move in order to get the things we need, and now we don’t. We’ve saved an incredible amount of time, but what to we do with that extra time? We sit on our butts, literally. We haven’t replaced the movement with some other movement, we’ve just gotten rid of it, and the effects are showing.
I promise you, Katy also shared a solution. I can just picture you: “But I don’t have enough time to just add something else to my life. I don’t have enough time as it is!” I swear, don’t worry, just stack your life.
This means figuring out what your priorities are, and fitting activities into your day that cover many things at once. It’s like multitasking, but way better. If you need nature, kid time, groceries, and movement, just throw on a backpack and take a walking family adventure to the grocery store, even if it’s a mile away (instead of trying to fit these things in an hour at a time, just get them all with one activity).
Of course there’s creativity involved, and it’s not always going to be obvious, if Katy can do it successfully with her kids, I can sure do it without any!
Since paying closer attention to my movement, here are some things I’ve been trying to do more often:
– Sitting on the floor instead of a couch/chair
– Going for walks in nature
– Squatting down to look at things I see on my walks
– Getting up from my desk and wandering around the apartment
– Walking on ledges/curbs/lines when they’re there
– Finding activities that are social + require interesting movement
I even walked to the grocery store with a backpack today, instead of driving! Success!
Here’s to moving more of ourselves, more often.
I went rock climbing on my birthday (again)
Here’s my philosophy on birthday activities:
Pile together a whole bunch of things that you enjoy into your day, and bring your friends and family along. My classic? Rock climbing + sushi + (my homemade) black forest cake.
(Yes, I make my own birthday cake, and it’s awesome. No secret ingredients, just a lot of love, and a recipe I grew up with. Chocolate cake mix, Kirsch, cherry pie filling, unsweetened whipped cream, and dark chocolate shavings. That’s all.)
Last year I also did an escape room, which was a lot of fun.
But back to the rock climbing, because I am a huge fan.
At this point in my life, when I rock climb I just do bouldering (which is ropeless, and only climbing up to a certain height). I am by no means good at bouldering yet. My grip strength isn’t there, my back muscles aren’t strong enough, and my technique is a little shoddy. But I am not discouraged; this has got to be the greatest form of exercise there is (especially for a problem solver like me). The goal is to get from point A to point B, and you can only put your hands and feet in certain places. It’s a puzzle, it’s exhilarating (even when it’s only 7 feet up), and that feeling of accomplishment at the end is magic.
I’m not even going to call it exercise again. Let’s call it a hobby that involves super fun movement and also happens to be really good for you.
I’m all in, and I can’t wait to go back.
I subbed on a rec basketball team where I didn’t know anyone.
Oh, and I haven’t played a basketball game in 7 years.
As you can imagine, I was very nervous. I’m not a runner, nor have I done very much anaerobic activity lately. I’ve played rec volleyball regularly, but that is hardly a comparison to the level of fitness required in basketball. And for a team where every person is a stranger? Gosh.
The result? I had to focus really hard on running, catching my breath, and making it back and forth across the court. So much so that I couldn’t focus on good passing, positioning, and game strategy.
I did, however, make a basket, which I am super happy about. It’s a good start. I’ve wanted to start playing basketball again for a while now, and this was a fantastic re-introduction (Cathy, if you’re ever reading this, I swear you didn’t let me down 😉).
I’ve been invited back to sub again (success!!). Let’s hope my lungs hold up better next time; I was a little (…quite a bit) wheezy after this game.
While I didn’t meet my optimistic goal, I did meet my initial goal of getting another post up by October 24! This is… really good, and I feel very pleased. Next goal: before the end of November.
Enjoy the weather, it’s my favourite!