Katy Bowman tells Stephanie Domet that the way we work now is probably killing us, and we might want to maybe move a little.
00:00:54 – Katy tells the highlights of her summer Jump to section
00:06:09 – All about Fidget Spinners Jump to section
00:11:27 – The making of Don’t Just Sit There Jump to section
00:19:10 – Lightening Round – It’s really is pretty simple. Jump to section
00:21:05 – Movement is Counter Cultural Jump to section
00:28:04 – Work is killing us. Jump to section
00:32:13 – Don’t Just Sit There on the Alignment Matters/Movement Matters spectrum Jump to section
00:36:20 – You don’t have to be sedentary to be productive – Katy in a cubicle? Jump to section
00:37:51 – Let’s Move! Jump to section
00:40:53 – Back to Body School and Where’s Katy this fall? Jump to section
00:46:40 – Next Up? Diastasis Recti Jump to section
Links and Resources Mentioned in this show:
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STEPHANIE: Well hey there. Welcome to the Katy Says podcast. This is the sixth in a series of special episodes that we are calling Between the Lines: where Katy Bowman and Stephanie Domet explore the deeper messages in, and connections between Katy’s books.
KATY: I am Katy Bowman, a biomechanist and author of Move Your DNA.
STEPHANIE: And I am Stephanie Domet, a chronically curious writer and radio journalist. Well, Katy here we are. Summer is dwindling away. Kids who go back to school are back there now. My calendar still shows a week of summer left here in the northern hemisphere, but your social media break which happened over the summer is coming to an end or has come to an end. What were some of the highlights of the season for you?
KATY: But to sit and have this book with stories. I did that. And I haven’t done that probably in a year. So that was great. I felt like I had a lot more time and overall it was a great summer. Again, though, it was like a work intensive summer because I was busy figuring out ways to get things done. And I’m also preparing. I’m going to New Zealand for two months and so that was a lot of introduced work. So it was just, I mean, I’ve been thinking a lot about this idea in the Bhagavad Gita which is in eastern Indian text and at the crux of it is you’re entitled to the labor but no fruits from the labor.
KATY: And that has really sat with me heavily. It’s like, ok, there’s always work. There’s no getting rid of the work or whatnot. So I’ve been relishing in the work. I’ve done a lot. If you get our Nutritious Movement newsletters where I’ve been sending out some pictures of what we’ve been doing.
STEPHANIE: Yes. Glorious.
KATY: I’ve been doing a lot of work. A lot of harvesting. A lot of processing in novel ways. And I’m certainly a complete novice. In no way even, like, I’m just dipping my toe into this idea of less outsourcing. You know what I mean?
STEPHANIE: Uh huh.
KATY: Like I can write a book on it…
STEPHANIE: Keeping more of the labor to yourself.
KATY: Yes. And it’s intention-ful. Like I’m full of intention and thimble drop full of skill.
STEPHANIE: It’s not a bad ratio.
KATY: No. Hey, you’ve got to start somewhere. And learning and enjoying it. Enjoying the labor. Feeling like, ok, the labor is what I’m owed, but nothing else. So that’s what my summer has been all about.
STEPHANIE: Well that is pretty profound. And did you say earlier you wrote some letters?
KATY: Like hand wrote them. Like on a piece of paper. Like your grandma used to do. Like my grandma still does. And little things, you know, you get, my grandma still sends me things and it’s easier for me to call her back but to go, you know what, I forgot how great it is to get mail and to see kids getting mail. So just poppin’ a few cards out there and…
KATY: You know, also, the crap in my house related to this, shouldn’t use the word “crap”… like related to my job. Like the stacks of books. The stacks of books in other languages. Galleys. Like what am I supposed to do with it? I have got all of these books and I feel like why would a book sit in my house? Why would seven copies of a book sit in my house? I can’t read it seven times. And if I could, I’m not going to read seven different versions. So trying to figure out how do I distribute these to the community? And figuring out where to donate them and how to dispense them in a meaningful way. And that adds work. But in the end that work, you know, gets information to people so I’m happy to do it. But yeah, just a lot of that kind of logistics. So popping things in the mail. Going oh hey, by the way, here’s a copy of this book. So, just sending things, I send so many… does anyone else do this? Or maybe do you? Since no one can answer – Romper Room. Do you send cards and gifts in your mind? Like, “Oh, I’m gonna do this?” So those don’t come to fruition.
STEPHANIE: They say it’s the thought that counts though.
KATY: That’s what they say. But also sometimes maybe the labor counts as well.
KATY: Physically actually doing it. So I’ve been trying to do it a little bit more and setting a space. I remember my stepmom used to sit in front of, she would watch M*A*S*H and she would write. Like she had a legal pad of paper and she would write. And I just remember her writing and writing and writing. Every night she would sit down to write. You know much like I would sit down and look through Instagram. And then my older siblings would say, she was writing her sister but she would write her sister over the course of a week.
STEPHANIE: Oh I love it.
KATY: And then pop it into the mail. So the letter was comprised of what happened each day. And her sister was doing the same thing. And then they would swap.
KATY: And they could totally call.
KATY: But it’s a different type of connection. It’s a… I mean all these things that we like, uh, books, this is how it relates to books.
KATY: And written text. Like we go back to written texts for historical perspectives and so there’s a difference between oral communication and written communication and I’m not… I don’t know if one’s better than the other. Certainly written is more open to interpretation by other people where oral lands on the audience that it was intended for often times. You know. But there was just a different quality to it. And fidget spinners. I just came to learn what a fidget spinner is. Only to realize that it’s a thing that everyone else knows except for me.
STEPHANIE: Right well you weren’t on social media all summer so that’s how that got by you.
KATY: Someone has identified, you know, maybe a dormant, which we’ve talked about on various podcasts before, either you or I or Dani. It’s like a need. It’s a need to keep your hands busy. But in the absence of any conversion to a thing like we’re now just grabbing something, you know, as a destined just for the rubbish.
KATY: To break. You know just to keep ourselves busy. So trying to introduce, to meet our need to fidget, with something that has a payoff that’s broader than only fidgeting.
STEPHANIE: Right. So thinking about writing those letters. Like there’s the difference in calling, maybe, there’s something in it for the writer as well.
STEPHANIE: You encounter yourself in a different way. At least that’s my experience as a writer. When I am on the page with words in my hand, moving across a piece of paper, I’m writing to whoever I’m writing to. But I’m also writing to myself. I’m encountering myself there too.
STEPHANIE: And there’s something very deep about that.
KATY: Yeah. So it’s like thinking of like, oh this would be quelled, or squelched, by a fidget spinner. This thing that I’m doing. So I’ve been thinking about swiping as a grown up version of a fidget spinner.
STEPHANIE: Yes, Katy Bowman, yes.
KATY: And so it’s like, oh, so we’re all fidget spinning. Which is hilarious. We have a verb now. So just this idea of I’m fidget spinning too onto something equally destined for the garbage can. I, it’s motivating. It’s a Move Your DNA, Movement Matters moment for me to recognize, oh, ok, this is, I’m only working on myself. Everyone is doing their own thing. And so I guess for me it’s helpful for me to observe and go ok, ok, here we go. I can call it a different word to give it a different context which helps me then change the parts of me that I’m willing to change at this time. So that’s my summer in a fidget spinner.
STEPHANIE: Goodness me. You do go deep when you go. As for me as we’re kind of standing here you know with our toes just getting wet, in September, I think of September as the true new year. My birthday comes at the end of August so for me, it actually literally is the new year.
STEPHANIE: Obviously. But I haven’t gone back to school for, oh boy, more than a quarter century now. But still September makes me want to sharpen my pencils and change my lazy ways. Do you feel that?
KATY: Yeah. I don’t think that our academic system that we participate in works for everyone. But it worked for me. I loved it. I flourished in that and I don’t know if it was you and I were talking about it or in our larger work group but the idea that back to school is really the new year’s resolution time. At least it’s just fresh start. You’re gonna go to school. You’re a new pers… new haircut. New personality. You know …
STEPHANIE: Little corduroy jumper…
KATY: You just hope that your new stonewashed jeans and your silver LA gear are gonna change who you are at some fundamental level. And it never does. And then at the end, you go…
STEPHANIE: You’re just your nerdy self.
KATY: In the end, you were great the whole time. It didn’t matter what you put on it. But it took 40 years to get to that place. But it’s hopeful. And it is a slate. It’s like you’re out … I think certainly for children, but once within children in your own home, summer is a very different landscape than fall, just in terms of everyday behavior. Where I don’t know if the same is true between December and January. Right? Like it’s, that’s our New Year time because it lines up with the Gregorian calendar but you’ve changed. You grew. All these things are different during the summer and then you come into fall and you’re like, “what is my intention?” So it’s like the new year. So I definitely, just like I would get out the college schedule to nerd out what my life was going to be like, it’s, yes, this is the new year. This is it. If I were making a calendar it would start now.
STEPHANIE: Yeah. It’s also the time when, you know, grown ups who have been outside all summer are maybe also coming back from vacation, back to work, back to their desks, their cubicles. It’s time to get serious. So I think it’s appropriate that this is the week that we’re going to talk about Don’t Just Sit There.
STEPHANIE: In this episode of the podcast.
KATY: Yes yes. So great.
KATY: Oh, this book was written right after Move Your DNA. Like six weeks after. And I wrote it because Mark Sisson who is a big paleo icon and has … Primal Blueprint is his big book. He wanted me to write, like how would you apply Move Your DNA to office workers. The request was more, it was a few years ago, but it was like, “How do we get people who are really”, if we’re all in a cultural box, their box is more literal for 8 hours a day. Everyone has different work set ups. But, when you walk into that cubicle, kind of the orca in the tank, like you feel it more than maybe someone who was like, “I work from home so I can work in this room or this room.” Like your physical freedom is even less so, I think, when you have a smaller office within a building within your life. So it was a question like, “Is it really even possible for this person to add more movement?” To which I was like, “Certainly.” But it’s hard to ask someone, I was in that situation, to come up with those ways. To derive the plan from these broader ideas, like, just switch how you move throughout the day, when you feel like your landscape is tiny. And so it’s just that. It’s a tiny book about how to apply … I would say it’s a very practical book. It’s a book on … you know transitioning to minimal footwear had a very specific agenda. Don’t Just Sit There is about transitioning to a dynamic workstation. Not just a standing workstation. And similarly how I wrote Whole Body Barefoot, really to put out, I would say, a more robust argument to the “hey barefoot’s natural, shoes are not. So go barefoot.” I was like, ok, well there’s more to the argument than that. At the time that Move Your DNA came out which was like 2014, was right in that 2012-2014 where all this sitting is the new smoking…
KATY: …literature and headlines were coming out. So like everyone’s like “Standing workstation. Desks are unnatural. Standing’s natural. Stand.” Now it’s like, ok, hold on. So I wanted a place to put a more robust argument simply that standing and sitting are just both static. And when you looked at the literature for sitting they hadn’t delineated the difference between sitting and sedentary, which is unmoving despite the position. A little bit more has come out since then but at that point, it was simply that these are what’s associated with sitting and we hadn’t broken up whether or not it was the sedentarism or the fact that your position was unchanging or it was, in fact, the position of sitting in a chair. I broaden it up in Move Your DNA, it’s likely both.
STEPHANIE: But they’re separate.
KATY: But they’re separate. They’re separate. And so before we go out and spend two thousand dollars making our office over to a standing office or telling schools that they all need to get thousands of dollars of like standing desks, let’s just think critically for a moment. So Don’t Just Sit There is that pause to say “What’s actually happening” and how, just like Whole Body Barefoot, it’s basically Whole Body Barefoot but applied to your office. There’s these small transitional steps. This idea that you can adjust your body a little bit within the shoes/office that you already have. You do not have to go out and spend a lot of money making things over. I’m always trying to be really conscious of that, this information is accessible to anyone, you know, who can source a few items like a crate, or whatever. You know that you can have this too. It’s not a consumer based … argument. I don’t want to – being a driving force to consuming more is the opposite to the direction I want to go. Although recognizing that for some, a new product makes the habit easier – which is fine. I just don’t want it to be perceived or even like require that you buy a bunch of new stuff.
STEPHANIE: Right. Because at the end of the book you do offer a long list of products: keyboards, lights, software, pillows, to help keep your workspace more dynamic.
STEPHANIE: So you’re saying that’s an option but it’s not a requirement.
KATY: Well it’s not a requirement but there will be someone who will say, when you’re working with a very diverse audience, you get HR departments contacting you, well then what should we be supplying our people with. You have people who are like, I can’t have a crate in my office. I have the budget for this. And then there are like really innovating things. Like the thing that I thought was the best was a keyboard that splits in half so that you could use your shoulder joints at all sorts of different rotations. Totally not feasible for most people to have, to make everything in their office as malleable as possible, but for some person out there, a key piece could make the difference. So I just wanted to … and it’s also to kind of highlight the market. To say these ideas are permeating the market as a way to kind of show sometimes the rigidity of the current infrastructure. You know what I mean.
KATY: We all have the same chair. The schools all have the same desk. Schools have a much stiffer budget, I would say, but I think for a lot of offices or what not they all kind of look the same as they did 60 years ago. And then we’re trying to come up with different heights. And then sometimes a product is nice to kind of highlight what it is that I need.
KATY: Which is like if your keyboard is always in front of you, if you put your hands on your fake keyboard, that’s one shoulder position all the time. Meaning, to use a keyboard casts your shoulders. So if you have a keyboard that is two parts that you can put at whatever width that you want, now you have a keyboard that allows for 50 different variations if you scoot it tiny bits at a time. And if you only do it two or three – three different ones. So, if you’re dealing with a frozen shoulder or you feel like you can’t be productive in the work place because of your particular shoulder or elbow or wrist means that the conventional workspace doesn’t work for you, there are options. So it’s just a way in that I like to present as robustly as possible all the way from a DIY to here’s all the market pieces and as well as this idea that you might not have to have this same work structure. I like to put that idea out as well which is a little bit radical, I think sometimes. And I throw that in the last sentence in Don’t Just Sit There. It’s like, is your job working for you? Because I think that we perceive that we are unable to change jobs and certainly the luxury of being able to swap jobs is dependent on many many factors. But it’s nice to think of that as malleable too.
STEPHANIE: Right. And we’re gonna get to that. But I think we’ll take the same approach in this conversation that you would take in writing about it and we’ll kind of sneak up on it. For now, I want to flash back to the lightning round that we did in the very first episode together.
KATY: I think I blocked it.
STEPHANIE: You were pretty worried about it in the moment but you did pass with flying colors.
KATY: Thank you!
KATY: Oh right. Ok, yes.
STEPHANIE: Is it in some ways as simple as that?
KATY: Yeah. I mean I feel chairs are really really prevalent not only in the work space but all the time. Just get out of your chair. Do something different. Even if you sit right back down again at least you got up. Like that’s one squat for you. Hey. So yes. Yes. I think the chair is like sucking the movement potential out of your body. So just get out of it. It’s not to say that you can’t rest but maybe rest in some other way. If you could change your chair relationship it would be huge for you.
STEPHANIE: But at the same time don’t just stand there either.
KATY: Absolutely. That’s not really movement. You know, at the end of the day, getting into a standing position once in just another sedentary position. So stand up, yes. And then, and then, because it’s a dynamic workstation, do something after you’ve stood up.
STEPHANIE: Like what?
KATY: Like pay attention to where you’re carrying your weight on your feet. Is it only on one? Is it on two? Maybe put it between the two. Does it go forward? Does it go back? Can it go right forward left back? And you go the other way. So standing is like a category. We think of standing as simply like only the soles of the feet are in contact but I could come up with, and you could come with me, 30 different things to be doing while you are just standing there that would make it so that you’re not just standing there. You know what I mean? I guess it’s a mindful thing. Don’t just stand up and then stop thinking about your movement for the day. Standing up is the point at which you start thinking about it. And that’s critical for standing desk users which is really a key component to Don’t Just Sit There.
STEPHANIE: So part of what comes into play with this book and it’s something that you dig much more deeply into in Movement Matters is movement is counter cultural. You know, there’s something that we’re learning in school that sitting still in our seats conforming to the tidy rows of bodies of desks. And that’s something that we have to work really hard to shake as adults. I feel like this message is under the surface of this book on every page. Can you talk more about the idea of movement, especially in an office setting, as being counter culture.
KATY: Yeah, and I think that’s also part of the motivator for writing the book because everyone is like, “I would love to do more but frankly I’m going to be an outlier in the office.” And so movement as counter culture is this idea that, now keep in mind that I can put anything under the movement bubble. Even your shoes. Right? A shoe choice. We’re always back to the feet. All roads point back to the feet. The idea of switching your shoe in Whole Body Barefoot, this idea to go towards a minimal shoe, a big response to that is, “but my shoes don’t look professional.”
STEPHANIE: Uh huh.
KATY: You know what I mean? So that would actually, and there were so many, just to tie it back to, to tie Whole Body Barefoot to Don’t Just Sit There, when all these standing desk products came out in the market, the people using them, like there are these women in the videos wearing 3-4 inch high heels. And I’m like, those high heels were bad enough for you when you had to walk the quarter mile, you know, like into your office to then sit down in them. Now, this is implying that you’re supposed to stand in them for 7 hours a day which is, of course, going to shape you way differently than if you just wore them into the office and sat down. And I got a ton of questions. I mean, crazy as these things seem, it’s like oh that seems like such a random thought. I get heaps of emails to just that which is like, “Everyone in my office is uncomfortable when I choose to stand up.” Or, you know, if I go to a meeting and want to not sit, like my ability to hear isn’t dependent on my butt…
STEPHANIE: Being in a chair.
KATY: …closing a circuit in a chair. But now you’re hovering. You’re awkward. And maybe just that you’re different. You’re doing something differently. And in a work space, you’re trying to stand out. I imagine for many people trying to achieve, or publish, or get accounts, or all my work models are like 80s movies right now, you’re trying to get the ad campaign. Doesn’t everyone work in an advertising executive office?
STEPHANIE: I think so.
KATY: In New York City.
STEPHANIE: Your self-employed status is showing hard here right now.
KATY: I know! So I always keep that in mind. But I read a lot and in Movement Matters, I use an article that this woman had written about other people using standing desks and how she felt that they were lording how healthy they were over her.
KATY: And it was like “just sit down already.” So, ok. That’s what I mean by counter culture. This person, like this person standing, doesn’t really affect you. Meaning, they’re not affecting how many words you type per minute. I don’t know if there could be any really literal impact that they’re pursuit of how they want to, like their choice of how they want to use their body really impacts you. But we perceive it does so hard that now, I mean, this woman was writing an article about it. And publishing it. Like it’s a distaste for someone else trying to be healthy.
KATY: Or trying to do something because in her mind it’s done smugly. It’s done with condescension of her choice to sit. Like that is a reality. And I think it’s in schools, it’s in parenting, it’s in friendships, it’s in everything. Like we have a sedentary culture so if you choose simply to move more, your behavior is threatening other people.
STEPHANIE: It’s perceived as a judgment, perhaps.
KATY: Yeah. I mean, yes. But like met with vitriol.
KATY: Like I find this phenomenon very interesting where, and we just got done with a RES training so we have a lot of people who are in our training who are here and we’re talking about that and they’re like, “Why two books on shoes? Why are we starting with the feet? Why are they that important?” And I’m like, this is all to help direct a sedentary culture out of sedentarism. But when any aspect of a culture changes the rest of the culture is like reactionary and I was like, I find it very interesting at the vitriol that comes with something as benign as footwear. Like that, that is such a mainstay of the culture, every part, that when you start toggling with what shoes I choose to wear that have absolutely no effect on you, at least physically…
KATY: … unless you read some things and they’re like, “I’m disgusted.” Ok, now they have all of the chemicals of disgust running through their body because of what I put on my feet. I think that’s important to understand. And so when people are spewing acid on each other about what they’re putting on their feet and what’s acceptable how are we to do other things like getting, like saying that kids could move more during the school day. Or other things that you know that scientific literature would be “yes, great. We need this.” But the culture is like, “Blech…” So movement as counter culture is real. What keeps you sedentary is the pressure, I think, to not have that vitriol come towards you. Or sometimes it’s like, “I just don’t like the way they look.” But when you dial it down it’s like, “I feel unattractive.” Where does that come from? Like other people are judging me. My outfit doesn’t look put together. I’m not going to get promoted. Real consequences for certain. So can I write a book, then, that helps people go as low profile as they want, as they feel comfortable doing, so that we can kind of eek out more movement. I guess in the end that’s always my end goal. Is to help people who want to move more have strategies to be able to do it. It’s like all my books are a sedentary life exit strategy.
STEPHANIE: Ah Ha!
KATY: In small little bits. So Don’t Just Sit There has got really simple stuff like, ok, just sit differently. Don’t ditch the chair, keep the shoes, keep the office. Don’t do anything else but like hopefully you have enough sovereignty over the position of your pelvis in your chair. Go!
KATY: Well it’s certainly making you sedentary.
KATY: So, I don’t really shy away from ideas because you know the book is just a conversation between the author and the reader. Like I’m not out there, you know, like I don’t even know. Is there a place where corporations all come together to discuss what’s going in the opposite… no … I’m not trying to even have giant conversations with the world. I write my ideas down in a book and the person who picks it up receives them. So it’s a conversation to say, here’s some things to consider. Your pelvis can be in a different position. Your rib cage can be in a different position. Your arms… here’s the position that they’re in 99% of the time. Here’s some things that it links to. Hey, your office set up is affecting those things. I’m just kind of showing how it works and that’s the lovely thing about introducing ideas is the receiver can choose to do what they want to do about them. So what I try to do is a scale, right? You can adjust your pelvis. Or you can quit your job. And you know like my intention is never to get people to quit their jobs. My intention is to highlight, I think, the choices we make on a regular basis. I think I talked about that at the end of my social media break. It’s not, again, to have everyone else go on a social media break. It’s simply to kind of keep noting that there are choices. That there are freedoms that we have. And movement sovereignty is something that I, like if I had to have a key passion, movement sovereignty would be kind of a very large umbrella for this idea that we are slowly losing movement sovereignty. And this is, I don’t think I used those words anywhere within Movement Matters, but it’s another set of words that kind of help to say we have to stay aware to it, you know, so how walkable … How walkable are your cities? Like we’re looking at a structure. We’re trying to evaluate society: the costs and benefits of it. And I don’t think there’s a lot of talk about the movement aspects of our society. How those movement aspects have changed dramatically. How they’re continuing to change even more towards sedentarism and how the loss of the movements are relating to these other problems but we’re not noticing the linkage between the two. So there’s just this society and here’s just the problem with humans. It’s like, not humans. Humans within this particular structure. And here’s the sedentarism so that we can start, you know, there’s definitely a trend towards normalizing how humans in this structure are and it’s only recently that we’ve started to compare ourselves to other humans and to say, “ok, not a human condition.” Humans in this particular structure… the next step is to go, “ok, so if we know that these are basically symptoms of this particular structure, how do we change the structure?” So this has been happening in education for a long time, I would say, but going “hey, this system doesn’t work for everybody. Here are some other options.” Same thing with work or the office setting. It’s like, hey there might be other ways of getting work done but changing infrastructure is tough so I thought well you could change within your infrastructure. You don’t even have to change your infrastructure yet. You can change your infrastructure from the inside. Your body is an infrastructure. Change that.
KATY: Just start changing that. And here’s twelve simple physical adjustments that you do within your infrastructure and then you become a little bit more robust and then I feel like you push on the infrastructure around you with a little bit more strength.
KATY: Ooh, gosh. Well, it’s definitely, oh, I would say that the start of the book is Move Your DNA.
KATY: It’s Alignment Matters. There’s lots of Alignment Matters. It’s exercise rich. It’s body nerd rich. I mean there are things in Move Your DNA that aren’t in any other book. It’s not like I’ve just rewritten it. There’s always new pieces there. But I do think that Movement Matters is that last line.
KATY: I mean I kind of book ended it, again, with Movement Matters. And then I also, I think another Movement Matters aspect of Don’t Just Sit There is the idea that ergonomics, that we’ve taken ergonomics which is the science of kind of the optimal position of your body if your body has to have a … if you put a certain set of parameters around your body. Like, “Hey I’ve got to come to this office every single day for 35 years and I’m gonna be sitting in a chair like this doing work just like this…” Right? So you’ve got a very narrow range of motion, like, “What’s the best way to do that?” We’ve taken that and we do research on it and then we say, “Ok here’s the best way to do that one movement for 35 years in the exact same way.” But what’s being confounded is like, oh this is the best way to use your body. That we’re taking ergonomics which pertains to an already heavily unnatural, not optimal, known to be damaging to various aspects of your health and say “Here’s how to do that best.” And then forgetting all the other parts and just saying “Here’s the best way to move your body.”
KATY: That’s Movement Matters to me. It’s a misunderstanding of that when you collect data from a particular group what the end result…what the application or the intention is supposed to be and confusing it with if you read it in a research paper that that means it’s good for you. Which is a very common understanding of what the scientific process is. So I think it’s just a few short sentences to say that “That’s not what ergonomics is.” Ergonomics arguably is not the best way to use your body. It’s a study of work.
STEPHANIE: Right. It’s a brace for your flopped fin that you wouldn’t have if you were in your natural habitat.
KATY: It’s a how to be sedentary well.
STEPHANIE: For a longish time.
KATY: Yeah, where the end result is for the economic system. And so it’s not what it is often presented to be. And because everyone’s in it. Everyone’s in the fish tank, we’re all the Orcas, it’s very challenging to see. So I don’t really dwell on it because my job isn’t, like my intention, again, isn’t to make you feel like, “Well I have to work.” Right we all work. I’m in front of a computer right now. It’s that we don’t lose the understanding. That we don’t lose the knowledge of it. We all have the choices. We all are in this society. And also to recognize the benefits of our society and our systems too. It’s not always criticisms. It’s to recognize, oh, this is what makes it great or easy and it’s why I have what I have. So it’s to do both of those things. But it’s to not start losing perspective. And of course it’s always to eek more movement, you know, into your body.
KATY: You don’t have to be sedentary to be productive. And, again, I’ve written a lot of books. I do a lot of work that would line up with the work of what many people are listening and feel like they have to do now. I have just figured out how to stay moving while doing it. And I don’t mean that I live on a farm and I can do chicken chores in between. Like if you put me in a cubicle, I would still be productive and I would still stay moving. But one piece that I have, I would say, that takes development is that I don’t care. That I don’t feel like other people, how other people feel is just how they feel.
STEPHANIE: Right. You’re not going to sit down and be still to make other people less uncomfortable.
KATY: Yeah. And I do a lot to make other people not feel uncomfortable. How other people feel is of huge importance to me. I guess my overall perspective is me sitting down to make you feel better doesn’t make anyone feel better.
KATY: Now we’re just all feeling badly together. And so I was like I’m happy to take the burden of inertia on this one. I’m taking the inertia for the team a little bit. Because I appreciate when there is something that I want to do that I can’t figure out how to do, I appreciate the modeling. And so this is me kind of doing that work. And you know, I’ll take the criticism. I’ll take the anger. I’ll take the vitriol. And I’ve just become better and better at letting the vitriol. It’s like vitriol is just like water and I have oil on my skin through movement. And so, yeah, the more I move, the better I feel. And the more I feel ok with oh I understand. Like I get it.
KATY: Or at least I think I do which is maybe I don’t get it at all.
STEPHANIE: I mean, stay tuned. To be determined.
KATY: We’re all standing. So the first thing is how do we stay moving while we stand? So your pelvis is your fidget spinner in this case. So you’re going to shift your weight all the way back toward your heels and then you can go forward toward your toes. And then go back toward your heels. You can go all the way to the right with your hips. All the way to the left with your hips. These are pretty inconspicuous. IF someone was watching you they’d be like, “Oh her back’s bothering her. That’s why she’s moving.” Or whatever. You can also, while you’re standing, and keep in mind that people stood for labor. And still do. We have a lot of data on people who stand all day at work and frankly it’s different injuries than people who sit all day but it’s still kind of the same.
KATY: You gotta stay moving. But the part that takes the greatest burden, I think is the lowest part of your legs. Your feet and your calves and then the veins and the tissues within them. So if you can rise up onto your toes and come back down. If you can kind of think of that pumping action, then as you’re standing, you’re not kind of pooling, p-o-o-l-i-n-g so much blood to your lower calf.
KATY: So you can kind of do calf raises. Coming up and coming down. And if you want to Whole Body Barefoot it, you can do elevators which are calf raises that require that you stabilize your ankle when you come up and down. So there’s the general calf raise when you just go up and down but your ankles kind of fall out away from the midline and fall back in. And then you can do elevators which means that you hold your ankles just like you would hold an elevator so it goes straight up and straight down, not kind of falling out right and to the left because we’re not in the Willy Wonka Factory where you have elevators that go in all directions. So you’re gonna go straight up and straight down. And then you know you can reach one foot behind you. Tuck the top of the foot. And then you can switch. Uh if you had a ball kind of beneath your standing work desk, or a dome, or something where you could put the front part of your toes up and do a little calf stretch there. And you switch and do the other side. Now you are essentially just doing all the exercises you find all the other places that you would normally do during your exercise time, you’re doing them also while you’re being productive.
STEPHANIE: Hashtag Stack Your Life #stackyourlife
KATY: Exactly. Movement Matters.
STEPHANIE: I think every one of our conversations has ended with you whispering.
KATY: I like to whisper after a hashtag. I believe it is the form of 2017. You hashtag and I whisper.
STEPHANIE: It’s poetry in motion. Oh, I love it. We have been talking about Don’t Just Sit There by Katy Bowman which you can find in paperback wherever books are sold including at NutritiousMovement.com.
KATY: Well we all have to go back to school. We talked about it’s a key time. So I’ve done a lot of Movement Matters work. Like I really scaled up my non-exercise motion. But there are still sedentary parts of my body that have been still for decades and so I really love the alignment exercise component of the things that I write and the things that I produce. And so I was like I’m going to put myself through, I was reading something about when you’re creating systems or programs, education, whatever, that the ratio between the theory or the practice of learning versus the practice of application should be 1 to 30 hours. Meaning for every one hour you spend reading one of my books, listening to the podcast, taking a class, whatever it is, for every one hour that you spend analyzing the words, not moving, not doing the thing that you’re analyzing, should be 30 hours of the actual exercises.
KATY: And I was like, Holy Cow. And I thought that’s very interesting. Because I come from a paradigm that reinforces the idea that knowledge comes through basically … that knowing of the thing is to verbally demonstrate that I know it.
KATY: You test me. You quiz me. You know, like, that the exchange, in this case, we can talk about movement, that you would read all these things and I would say what do you think of this concept or what do you think of movement of the hips and knees and in your performance or demonstration of it is in your verbal description that you understand it.
KATY: Not in the shape of your body being changed by actually doing it.
STEPHANIE: Uh huh.
KATY: So I was like yes. This is what’s missing. What’s missing is me clearly stating that it needs to be a 30 hour to one hour. And that you knowing what I’m talking about is not the knowing of the things that I say but in knowing that by doing that the things that you’re doing that you’re getting the thing that you want.
STEPHANIE: So it’s like knowing it on the cellular body level? Rather than just knowing it intellectually?
KATY: What is knowing movement?
STEPHANIE: Uh huh.
KATY: Is knowing movement reciting it back or being able to actually do the movement?
KATY: So we’re changing knowing. So it’s the same thing with like, what’s knowing food? Is it that you have a license or R.D. or that you can tell me how many calories are in different grams of which macronutrients or which foods are the sources? Or, if I put you on the planet, you would know what’s edible.
STEPHANIE: You could feed yourself.
KATY: What’s knowing food? What’s knowing food? So my understanding of knowing is starting to shift away from the purely academic words modeled to say how are you actually moving. Because I could say that knowing movement could be demonstrated by physical skills. What if I put that parameter on it as a way of knowing? In which case your practice, the way that you would engage with this, would change. So I thought ok, well, one month, an hour a day, is an easy way to test the 1 hour to 30 hours hypothesis. Which is, do you know more about your body moving after moving 30 hours versus listening to 30 podcasts? So, Back To Body School is just that. It’s ok, we’re gonna move. Every day we’re gonna do these correctives. And then you can, you will be able to access whether or not you have an, that you know them with your body. Meaning does your ability to do them become easier after a while? Does your body shape change? And then the Back To Body School has non-exercise, non-those-exercise tests to say let’s see how these exercises are informing some of your other movements that aren’t these to see if the knowing kind of permeates. So it is a 30-day challenge to do one hour. I’m doing it as well.
KATY: Yeah. So that you can conduct an experiment and go “Oh, I know movement more now than I did before.”
STEPHANIE: Huh. I love it. And it’s not a Back to School Body. It’s Back to Body School.
KATY: No to get a back to school body you would just have to go back to school.
STEPHANIE: I got it.
KATY: And no one’s got time for that.
STEPHANIE: Certainly not. Especially not you. You are heading for some libraries in Washington State this month as well.
KATY: Yes, I’m going to two Pacific Northwest libraries. I’ll be in Friday Harbor September 13 at I believe 7:00. You can check our website to see the exact time to talk Movement Matters. Which is going to be awesome. And then I will be in my home town of Sequim, Washington, talking Dynamic Aging on September 18. And those are just free to attend. Come and let me talk about these books and discuss them with you and you’re welcome to those events everybody.
KATY: Everybody! Come on down.
STEPHANIE: Come one come all. Come on down to Washington State.
KATY: The library is infinite.
STEPHANIE: Well the library is infinite in its metaphorical state.
KATY: I wonder if I can do a Facebook live of those. I’ve never done a Facebook live.
STEPHANIE: Yeah. I bet you could if there’s a strong internet connection and a will to succeed.
KATY: That’s all you need for the internet to work. Facebook just requires the will to succeed. Yes.
STEPHANIE: That lines up with your experience I’m sure.
KATY: Right. I love it. I love it. Are we ending now?
STEPHANIE: Yeah, it’s time for you to whisper.
KATY: Hashtag keep it together. I love it.
STEPHANIE: That is Between the Lines on the Katy Says podcast. I’m Stephanie Domet. You can find Katy Bowman at NutritiousMovement.com where you can browse her books and videos. There are all kinds of treats and snacks for you there. You can also sign up for Katy’s newsletter there too. I’m Stephanie Domet. Thanks for listening.
VOICE OVER: Hopefully you find the general information in this podcast informative and helpful. But it is not intended to replace medical advice and should not be used as such.