Katy Bowman tells Stephanie Domet about Dynamic Aging, the sassy septuagenarians with whom she wrote it, and why it’s really a book for anyone who has a body.
1:12 – What are Katy’s goals for the summer? Jump to section
5:44 – Why Dynamic Aging is resonating so hard? Jump to section
11:05 – Positive Reinforcement and Walking Jump to section
16:44 – Dynamic Aging is about changing your Mind Jump to section
32:18 – Dynamic Aging and Move Your DNA Jump to section
36:41 – Dynamic Aging: Alignment Matters, and Movement Matters Jump to section
42:15 – Remembering Katy’s Dad Jump to section
48:03 – Let’s Move! Jump to section
51:20 – Get $5 off Katy’s books in August Jump to section
51:46 – Where’s Katy? Jump to section
Links and Resources Mentioned in this show:
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STEPHANIE: Hey there. Welcome to the Katy Says podcast. This is the fourth in a series of special episodes we call Between the Lines: where Katy Bowman and Stephanie Domet explore the deeper messages in, and connections between Katy Bowman’s books.
KATY: I’m Katy Bowman, I’m a biomechanist and author of Move Your DNA among other books.
STEPHANIE: And I am Stephanie Domet, a chronically curious writer and radio journalist. Katy, tell me about the best thing about your summer so far.
KATY: The warmth. Just being warm. I really enjoy being warm and being outside. Yeah. In all different forms, whether it’s just reading outside or backpacking. Those qualities of summer are my favorite. What about you?
STEPHANIE: Oh absolutely me too. I can spend the whole day out in the garden reading or working or pulling weeds or staring.
STEPHANIE: Yeah. And then the beach. The beach is kind of my spiritual home I think.
KATY: I grew up on the beach but I don’t have one here. I never had the mountains before, though, so I have turned into a mountain person.
KATY: Isn’t that funny to convert? I mean I can’t imagine living, I never thought I could live without a beach and now I’m fine without a beach. I just can’t imagine living without the mountains.
STEPHANIE: You’re just blooming where you’re planted.
KATY: That’s funny. I don’t think I have, I’m normally such an achievement driven person, I would say. I like to create new things or complete tasks. But I am not, like I don’t have, with the exception of second grade where we got a little construction paper small book for every 25 pages that we would read in the summer. I think that was the last summer reading goal I had. Which was, you know, to gather as many of those little books as possible so I could be obnoxious and staple them halfway across the room when I came back in. But other than that, no. I’ve actually been even reading hardly at all. I have read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.
STEPHANIE: Oh yes. The Barbara Kingsolver book.
KATY: I read books maybe once a year.
STEPHANIE: Yeah, it’s a good one.
KATY: And I’ve been meandering through that but really I’ve just been taking a break. I mean I’ve been working a lot but I’ve been taking a break from having really to do anything. So very few books. I think I’m kind of doing the reading all books like they’re short story books. Like, “oh I’ll just read two pages of this” and then set it down. I always have 4 or 5 – I’ve always had 4 or 5 books going at a time where I just read two or three paragraphs or 2 or 3 pages of one. And then I think, because I do that, maybe that’s how I connect a lot of different ideas. Because I don’t really dive into one. I kind of get a smidge of one, and something else and then “This is amazing! There are two books written 100 years apart or on the other side of the planet by people with completely different backgrounds and they’re saying the same things.” So that’s my style for summer reading and it’s kind of my style… I’m like going to the garden but I’m like spending 2 minutes on my peas and then I pluck a couple of weeds over here… like meandering. I don’t know what meandering and doing three percent of a task before you switch to another task… I don’t know what that’s called but that is what my summer has been like so far.
STEPHANIE: It sounds heavenly. It sounds like an old-fashioned childhood kind of summer where you just kind of follow your nose.
KATY: Yeah. And I didn’t have that kind of childhood. I had a go to work non-childhood childhood. And so that might be where I am right now in this, “I’m just gonna lay on this blanket under this tree and see what shadow pictures the leaves make.” Like that’s the kind of thing I’m doing which I’ve never done before in my life.
STEPHANIE: That sounds glorious. Ok we should, we should talk specifically about your books. The last time we were together we talked at length about Move Your DNA and I have been really sitting with that conversation ever since and really thinking about it in getting ready for to have this conversation. This week we’re going to talk about Dynamic Aging.
STEPHANIE: So Dynamic Aging came out a few months ago, March 1, 2017. It was featured on the Today Show about 30 days after it’s publication date and became a huge best seller and is soon gonna be published in German and Czech and English in the U.K., so it’s no wonder that you want to have kind of a meandering summer. You had a busy winter. So congratulations on all of that.
KATY: Yeah. And I don’t think that…it’s like PR, it isn’t something that just happens and you sit there and go, “Oh that was great.” It creates way more work than you were planning. You’re like, “Ok this book will come out and I’ll kind of meander through PR” and it’s like, no, it’s like you’re flying twice across the United States and a lot of emails … it created quite a bit of work. And then the demand of what happens when you sell all those books is then you have to print more books and those are all operational transactions. Updating and oh… it was an intense… it hasn’t even been that long. That book feels – it has not been out very long but that book feels like it’s been out for years.
KATY: Just because of the amount of work was kind of pressed right into the first 90 days that it came out. The amount of work you normally do over 18 months happened in 90 days. So, yeah. That was great. I just, in knowing that we would have this conversation, I picked it up again. And I love that book. I really love that book. It’s different than my others. So I’m glad we’re gonna talk about it.
KATY: Well, it’s kind of like my other book Diastasis Recti, where it’s a book written for a large population of people where no other book really has existed before. You know, Dynamic Aging, I mean there are certainly books written, like senior fitness books. Like there are certainly some of those books. And we know this because we were looking at cover samples.
STEPHANIE: We did lots of research.
KATY: How to do a cover design. And the pictures are all the same. Doesn’t matter if the book was printed 5 years ago or 25 years ago. The cover is the same. It’s like older adults in like 80s workout wear. I mean I think we actually saw headbands on a lot of people and like holding 3-pound weights. One person was always sitting in a chair. Like there was just this kind of familiar messaging. And so I think Dynamic Aging 1) it wasn’t that tired stereotype of a book and 2) the message was really different. I think instead of saying, “Hey, seniors, would you like to keep exercising? Here are some modified exercises.” It was like, “Hey everybody, we’re all getting older. All of us are aging. How does this whole… ” We’re a sedentary culture, how does that message look when you get 50 or 60 or 70 and what if the things that we attribute to aging, the inevitable decline in our body as a result of our chronological age, what if it’s not that all. What if we are simply looking at how a sedentary population ages out. And how would someone who is 60 or 70 or 80 or 90 be able to take the messaging that’s in Alignment Matters or Move Your DNA or Movement Matters? How would they, given that those messages are for everybody, what kind of considerations would you need to hold or have before you started working on these same things that maybe your 20-year-old grandchild who is also a college level athlete, they brought home this book and it was like, “This is amazing.”? And you’re like “Great I would love to do that but I’m too old.” This book was really written to be shared up and shared down and shared wide by people who are coming in through one of those other key portals and say, “She’s tailored this message and the exercises and the environment just for you in a way that…” and here’s what makes it different, “in the way that other people have already done and you can see what it looks like 10 years later.” Which, none of the other books have. None of the other books have such in depth testimonials of someone who you would think could not do the things that I’m about to suggest that you do and share their journeys, their narratives. So that’s what makes it different is you will be escorted. So that the person who gets the book will be escorted through other people’s experiences. It’s not as instructional as my other books. Or, not only instructional. It’s also… I mean is it a narrative? You know literature more than I do. I mean it’s someone’s journey. Memoir? Is it a movement memoir almost?
STEPHANIE: It definitely has elements of movement memoir, I would say thanks to your four co-authors who are all in their 70s. One is 80 now. She turned 80 as the book was being published. And so their stories along side, I would say, definitely give it that narrative memoir flair, we’ll say, in addition to the exercise programs and any information about, you know, what more movement might look like in a life that maybe hasn’t had much.
KATY: Right. And also they’re giving movement instructions. I mean these women have gone through our certification program and are now teaching their peers from a position of “I took this training” like they are passing on this information and teaching movement classes. And so they have unique perspectives on the exercises that I cannot have because my experience doesn’t afford me that perspective yet. I mean I can put myself in many different people’s shoes, which you do when you’re writing an exercise book. Like you would call it a modification: what would someone who’s pregnant do or what would someone. But until you’ve actually been in those physiological states you cannot embody their full experience. So we just let them, like, “well how would you teach this exercise?” “Well, we teach it like this because X, Y and Z”. So that stuff I think is priceless, you know, that you are getting.
KATY: You are getting their perspectives in addition to mine which makes it extremely robust, I think.
KATY: Yeah. That was, it was a study done at Stanford. So it was, I think the way the study went, the experiment was set up like this; they had they’re filming people walking in and out of the experiment space. And so from that video, you can analyze people’s gaits really from everything. I mean we’re analyzing, not we but, gaits are being analyzed from satellites to identify different people at this point. That’s how unique your gait is to you, that it tells a lot about your history. Anyway, they would have these groups of people and if I recall they are the groups that they were measuring were 62 to 86. So that’s the group that they were having come in and play these video games. 30 minutes of video games and they would monitor how they walked in and then how they left. They would measure their gait. And they had two groups. And one group was given subliminal messaging where like the words are just flashed beyond really your perception and imbedded within the exact same video game, the messages were either senile, elderly, fragile, dangerous, you know these kind of words reinforcing the stereotypes. So they were reinforcing the aging stereotype that you were to be worried. You are frail. You are old. And then in the other video game, they embedded words like strong, balanced, agile, wise, astute, you know like they were, they took I think the positive and negative word for each kind of concept. And so the idea was if we negatively reinforce this aging stereotype, how do people behave physically after that. And they found that in the group where they were reinforcing the positive attributes and saying you are actually strong, you are balanced, that when they left, their gait was changed to be more stable. To be more balanced. And they used that by monitoring the swing phase which is how long it takes really between steps. And so people were taking longer steps and they could find that correlation just simply between word choices. And I put it right up front. And it was like there has been so much thought into the word choices. I mean beyond just communicating an idea well, which every author is doing. I mean the idea that you will not see the word senior, elderly, and I put that in the front. I said these women, they have removed these words from their vocabulary. When we talked about writing this book, they’re like here’s the book that we want to read as this group. We don’t want another book written to us saying silver and old and so we had to come up with a term though because you are referring to a group that is regularly researched and so we came up with goldener. And I’ve done a couple interviews which we can maybe even link to in the show notes.
KATY: Where, like the California Department of Aging, I’m not sure if that’s their exact title but people who are monitoring for this population, this goldener population, laws that are coming out that influence them, they interviewed me on this book and he’s like, “I really think that goldener might be the word of the future.” Without realizing it everything kind of in our government structure language wise is reinforcing frail, old, outdated. Like we don’t have any sort of celebration. And so language, to me, that’s also a very powerful part of this book because it means that if that other literature is to be expanded or applicable beyond that one experiment, we’ve filled a book full of reinforcing just how capable you are or are about to become. You know we’ve used a lot of messaging. You know there’s not like, “Pick up everything in your house because it might hurt you.” You know, warning warning warning. And understanding that there’s a cautiousness or an alertness that you develop through moving more but that’s different than being afraid and perpetuating fear. And so Dynamic Aging, to me, is a very positive, “You have got this. You are right on your normal biological pathway for a human. We are all aging together. Here are just some things that you can start doing for more robusticity.” So I like the positive, positivity of Dynamic Aging. I think that that is also part of what makes it stand out as a book for the goldener population.
KATY: Oh yeah. I mean Dynamic Aging is about changing your mind. I mean your mind changes first. It’s about shifting paradigms almost a little bit in how much more movement. I mean not just the paradigm of exercise less move more. But this idea that you are not, the decline that you’re seeing isn’t about your age. Like it is not this inevitable piece that we’ve kind of been led to believe simply through language or how questions are, like how studies are phrased. Again, the language choice of a study… it’s very difficult to delineate between age and between years that you’ve had a habit. And I think there was a study that came out, I don’t know, about 2 or 3 years ago about bunions and that bunions are, I can’t remember exactly the title of it but it was on Twitter. Everything’s on Twitter. It was something like studies show that bunions are increased with your age.
KATY: And then they had all these things spun off like you would expect to see them in older populations because it’s something that goes hand in hand with aging. And I piped in with my 140 characters or whatever saying that how you phrase it right now isn’t doing a good job of delineating between years of habit and how old someone is. How long, like what are the shoe wearing and the gait habits of these people and for how many years. Which are almost impossible to gather. Like you can’t, it would be very challenging to interview someone and have them accurately provide a recount of how many steps they took and in what shoes and for how many years and what were the models. Like you can’t actually do the rigorous work of determining geometry but everyone can get their age right. So we keep going to these simple measures and then we come up with these headlines and then slowly we create a culture that just expects failure. Physical failure to be happening. And in fact, you know, it’s fine that it’s happening. So it’s almost like, to me, it’s like a continuous disempowerment through the difficulty of breaking down what’s actually happening and so we just go to this kind of easy to publish stuff that then, what do you end up with? You get a bunch of people who say, “I’m old. I have bunions. I’m right on track. The science says that I’m gonna have this.”
STEPHANIE: There’s nothing I can do about this.
KATY: Right. And so, yes, the language is to change your mind to say, “We don’t really know what’s age and what’s length of habit. But because you don’t know it’s equally either one of those. It’s not mostly going to be age simply because someone chose those words to put in the study.” It’s equally open to either. And here’s what we know about physiology and here’s what we know from other studies about how people can adapt and change. So why don’t you just do these moves here and then start seeing how that’s working for you. A little bit more empowering and to help get over that hump of because we do have this kind of sedentary nature to help override, like if you’re interested in data… why don’t you start collecting data on yourself. Why don’t you see what your feet are doing? Have you never stretched your toes? Why don’t you try that right now? Oh, you can do in two minutes something that you couldn’t do before? Ok. Now we’re in a conversation. So yes, it was deliberate to put that up front because when you do have habits for such a long time there’s an inertia that’s reinforced by your mindset. I think of the number of years that you’ve had a particular gait pattern, you can think of your thoughts as also a pattern of thinking in that it is more ingrained by frequency and so the mind has to be almost jump started, I would say, right at the beginning. So I just wanted to get that out there in the introduction.
STEPHANIE: You note that Dynamic Aging isn’t a book that suggests, “Hey! You should start walking.” Why isn’t it that book?
KATY: For that reason that I just mentioned which is, if we can consider that overarching thing of all books; Move more and move more of you. The move more, I would say, is more feasible when you have more mobilities available to you. When you have less mobility available to you your move more can quickly become kind of a repetitive use injury. When you have someone who has been stiff since they were 40 or 50 and they’re now 60, that’s like 20 years of using a particular gait habit. So if you start with the move more verses the move more of you, then for that person who’s not already moving because the way that they moved was so narrow that it kind of eeked out certain growths of neuromas or pockets of inflammation, or whatever, to move more isn’t really great. It’s potentially, I would say, taking someone down the path of them just going on those old … In my mind, I think of like a groove. There’s a groove in the sidewalk and they just kind of etch back and forth on that groove. So the feasibility of moving more when you’re very stiff and kind of in pain in a lot of places is very low. So someone’s like, “Yeah, I already know I’m supposed to move more. That’s not gonna help me. What are things that…” You’re transitioning, right? You’re transitioning. We’re imagining this person being someone somewhat sedentary. Maybe even an exerciser thought who is having these 7 or 8 ailments that kept creeping up in their life regularly. So instead of going with the move more, which is that Movement Matters portal that we were talking about last time, was going more to the Alignment Matters which is; “why don’t you just while you’re sitting there doing whatever you’re doing, just think about your toes. Where’s your head.” And so you started with these subtle but more frequent moves that when you get to the next chapters or moves that help you find muscles that better support larger moves. You know, I can tell someone to move more but if they don’t have very balanced gait the outcomes of that aren’t fantastic, potentially. I would rather have someone spend a couple of weeks finding a straight leg and some, develop some skill in their lateral hips so now, when they’re walking they’re not falling which then makes the next step of now we’re gonna walk a little bit more all that more nourishing for them. And reduce the risk at the same time. So I am super mindful of telling a population that has, you know, statistically less balanced, maybe less awareness, less mobility, just to go out and start moving more. It’s like we’re gonna refine your movement while you’re not doing such large transfers of your body a to b. Then we’re gonna go up to that next step. That’s why. I have been working with, when I was in graduate school, I ran a poll at that time, it was in the gerontology department.
STEPHANIE: There’s a word!
KATY: If that’s not a terrible word choice. Uh! It’s just, yes, right? So I led this program as part of you know when you’re going through your program you’re teaching and working with different populations and this was one population that I worked on and I really really enjoyed working with this particular population, mostly because I found the people coming to class were super keen in their health in moving longer. I just found the tools to be somewhat lackluster. I mean they were doing balloon volleyball. Just to keep them moving was the overall thing. We just need to keep this population moving. And I was like that’s great. I would like to get this population moving better, not just to keep them moving while their mobility was still declining but specifically target why their mobility was declining. That was more of interest to me. So I started doing some of these programs early on and I found this to be the most successful way. Not to bring them out and to make the exercise they had always done easier. Like maybe you had a bunch of volleyball athletes or basketball players and now give them balloons so they can move slower and have slower reflexive time. But actually work those things back so they could get their response time back and become more agile and more balanced. I thought it was pandering almost, the other way. So I valued what I learned there but I found that we could actually improve their overall outcomes, not just how much they moved during a bout when they came down to the university to exercise with us, of doing it this other way. Of going, “I’m going to give you a stronger base. I’m gonna give you a larger base. You’re gonna spread your toes. You now have a larger base of support and surprise, you had that all the time. Your base of support is determined by how mobile your feet are. You don’t have to add a cane to increase your base of support. You can spread your toes. Oh, your shoes don’t allow you to spread your toes. Interesting. You want to get a different pair of shoes maybe because your shoes are reinforcing your narrow base of support. Oh but they’re giving you x, y, and z. Ok, well x, y, and z, we can also get that through hips or through selecting your environments better.” So it just, I liked the complexity of all of that. So. I found that organizing Dynamic Aging in a way that I had already seen work for, you know, about 1,000 or 2,000 goldeners. It was just the best way. It was just the way that I know how to teach that population. Let’s put it that way. Maybe there is a “just walk more” program that’s successful but in a different way. I’m not sure but this is the way that has worked for me. It made the most sense to me.
STEPHANIE: It seems to me this is perhaps your most directly practical book. You’re specifically calling out activities like walking on cobblestones which a lot of people who are retired might take a trip to Europe and be concerned about getting around on kind of uneven urban ground. Or driving. Or going up and down stairs. Can you say a bit about why you took that direct practical approach?
KATY: You know, this is about me being changed after Movement Matters. Because Movement Matters, you know, I studied exercise science, biomechanics. These sciences, all sciences, they’re pulling elements out. And if you’re … a good essay to read right now, just to pause this podcast, is Nutrient Centric or Nutrient Dense. We have gotten so, we are depending so much on being told which elements of a thing are the good thing that we have forgotten that the entire thing, that we need the entire thing. It’s just that in this study that calls out Vitamin C, it didn’t also look at fiber.
KATY: It didn’t also look at picking the fruit. It didn’t also look at the oil in it. Like, so what happens is when we get these, because the process takes so long of gathering knowledge we’re given one bit at a time that because, you know, if you wait 100 years between the bits that you’re given, you only know that the bit is good. And so then it reinforces the idea that you only need this bit. And so what has happened is that we believe that we need to exercise for our health. To be healthy we need to exercise. Versus the idea that you need movement to prime your body to be able to move for other things that you need. That being healthy is a very nebulous statement. Like to want health outside of the experience that health can provide you, that we’re not tying it to any sort of experience, you know. We’re just like, “Oh I exercise therefore I am healthier because I did it.” And so when you have that framework a lot of times people will say, you know they’re athletes or they do these major physical feats or they just go to class every single day and they are healthier for doing it. And they say, “Yeah, the thing that I do, though, I got a stress fracture doing it.”
KATY: I’m healthy because they define healthy as doing it. They define healthy as being brought by doing the exercise. It’s not really relating to anything else any longer. “Oh well I have, you know, I did get this stress fracture or I’m having organ prolapse.” And they know that that ties into how they’re doing their activity to be healthy. They can correlate the ill effects of the health back to the thing that they’re doing for their health. But there’s not cognitive dissonance there they just want to get back to “can I just heal this so I can get back to doing the thing that makes me healthy.”
STEPHANIE: And that gave me the stress fracture.
KATY: Exactly. I have finally realized, if you want to talk about the evolution of thought or the development of a thought it’s like, “oh, this is a side effect of being a nutrient dense culture.” Especially within the health culture, is we don’t see because, you know, we say “I want to be able to play with my grandkids” or “I want to be able to carry my child without pubic symphysis pain”. We have forgotten to tie our pursuance of movement to something to movement then allows us to do that brings us joy. So that’s the Movement Matters element. So now that I have that I don’t think I’ll ever write a book just about finding your optimal alignment or just to be generally healthy. I’m always asking… at the beginning of Move Your DNA I asked everyone to take a piece of paper out and said: “Write down your physical experience.” Put it on paper. Because I would suggest the things that are on this piece of paper for you are related to the ways that you are and are not moving. So with Move Your DNA it’s a little bit different. It’s like, “Did you want to go to Europe with your friends or your partner but you can’t because you’re afraid that you’re not a strong enough walker so, therefore, you don’t want to do this book just to be healthy. You want to do this book so that you are able to execute the things in your life that bring you joy or richness to life. Your experience.” And so that is why you will see things being framed in this way. Because I think … like eating and moving well simply to quote be healthy doesn’t mean anything.
KATY: It’s like teaching to the test. And we have found that teaching to the test does not correlate well to intelligence or to the experience that one person has. It’s just perhaps easy.
KATY: And so I’m calling for an expansion of thought with my expansion of movement practice to start trying to.. “What do you want to do with your life? What do you want to do with it?” And then start adjusting your program to match the things that you would like your program to be able to facilitate for you so then you can go into your life and do those things. So you’ll see that in Dynamic Aging for sure.
KATY: Of which two?
STEPHANIE: Move Your DNA and Dynamic Aging.
KATY: Yeah. You know it’s so subtle. In the Move Your DNA there’s like 30 or 40 positions of how not to use your chair.
KATY: In Dynamic Aging, it’s like “hey, why don’t you sit in your chair a little differently.” Or, “have you ever thought of sitting on the floor? Put a couple cushions down there and sit on there.” Right? It’s gentle.
STEPHANIE: Yeah. Or when you’re getting out of your chair, think about maybe getting up this way.
STEPHANIE: Since you’re getting up anyway.
KATY: So it’s definitely about infusing your life with movement. It’s not, there’s again, here’s what you do for exercise. But again these exercises plus you now thinking about having to move during your non-exercise time: when you’re standing in line or when you’re getting up off of the toilet or off of your chair, that you’re doing it like you do an exercise. Like we all … so many people know that there’s like a … you go to a personal trainer to help you with form for your exercises. We just don’t think that form applies to anything else besides our non-exercise time. So it’s kind of like, “here’s the form for all the movements that you’re doing and once you do them the cool thing is you’ll be shaping your body in a way where movement becomes more easy.” And then you can start doing other things in Move Your DNA like add texture and terrain. You know those things are broken down as relates to mechanotransduction and changes in geometry and very exercise science. In Dynamic Aging, it’s like, do you feel like if you go to a park, that park is not really inclusive simply because your body is only able to handle the flat cement part of it. It would be really great if you could start walking on the grass just next to it because that’s going to challenge – move these other muscles – which, once you get home and you stumble on something, now you are more, you are trained, you are preparing for the fact that you are going to meet some lumps and bumps along the way. So the idea that, and I put the idea that, right now the idea in many therapies, occupational therapy, gerontology again, home health for this goldener population is make your house as obstacle free as possible.
KATY: Not ever mentioning train for obstacles.
KATY: But just get rid of them. Get rid of them so that really leaving your house becomes detrimental to your health because there’s no one picking up obstacles for you out of your house. So that mindset, to me, is very very narrow and what happens is a cast. It creates a scenario where you are only safe within your home. And that’s what I’m talking about this lock… you lose experiences available to you by dealing with safety not through working with your physical robusticity. And certainly become aware of obstacles and things. But just eliminating them. Eliminate all the dangers. Just eliminate those in your bubble and thus you have to stay in it. And I find that just having worked with a lot of populations, I was like the people with that greatest mindset can’t leave their home. They have to put their shoes on the first thing when they wake up. So they’re ending up less and less mobile rather than kind of offering practical here’s how to make your home more safe and here’s how to make your body more safe in and out of your home. So I definitely think they can be paired up but there is a prevailing wisdom that people just aren’t going to do it so the end.
KATY: Let’s just give them the safety bullet. I was like ok, well, I would say that based on the viewers of the Today Show that there’s a lot of people who said, “There’s something I could do to become stronger when I’m 60 or 70 or 80? I don’t believe it. Are you kidding me?”
STEPHANIE: Yeah. I have options?
KATY: Yeah. And so I just, I like to keep everyone’s options open. And then they can experiment personally to see what’s available to them.
KATY: Oh well, see to me it’s the intersection of them.
KATY: Dynamic Aging is the first book that’s equally, I think, Alignment Matters and Movement Matters. You’ll even see community. You’ll see green space in nature and blue space. I don’t even know if this made it in. So I met Maria Shriver doing the Today Show. And Maria Shriver has a women’s Alzheimer’s … I don’t know if it’s hers or she heads it or she’s just on the board for research into why so many more women have Alzheimer’s than men. And so she had a big event that I got to go speak on the panel for and bring my perspective into it. I could do a whole show… this would be a great side topic because I find it to be fascinating. So this is about the difference between exercise … I mean this is why Dynamic Aging will be more Movement Matters. The thing that is most protective against Alzheimer’s is, I’ll put air quotes around “exercise”. I would say that it’s movement. Right now the word choice is exercise. But in further delineation, because I find that for people who both have the same genetic precursors to get you know early onset or a particular type of Alzheimer’s and other dementias, if they get exercising, they can maintain their brain mass where a loss of brain mass can be a hallmark of Alzheimer’s versus a group that doesn’t. So it’s very protective. It is the single thing, like, yes there’s these other things that are popping up here and there but just get moving. Get exercising. Right? And so exercise is a big push for this women’s Alzheimer’s agenda. They’re outreach. It’s just about we have to get moving. Which I agree.
KATY: They found that it wasn’t exercise per se but physical activity, specifically gardening and then they also found some correlation between animal owning, dog owning.
KATY: So they’re like these are actually things that require movement. More complex movement then maybe just doing your exercise. And to me, that’s what Movement Matters is about. That there is more richness to be found in non-exercise movement because if it’s happening within your life, the fact that you’re actually just getting more movement of you. And then you’re getting things like vitamin D from the sun and fresh air and who knows what else from the earth and from dealing with plants. Things that haven’t even been researched yet. And so that’s why you will see recommendations. You know, I think the recommendations are get into a garden because it exercises you more. It’s like get into a garden because it allows for more non-exercise movement. Those are saying two different things.
KATY: So there’s a lot of that. The benefits just simply of being in nature, shinrinyoku, being around plants for healthy aging and stress management. There’s one tip that I love that came to me right after Movement Matters that’s in Dynamic Aging which is; you know, there are simple things like don’t use the drive through. And we see don’t use the drive through. And we see don’t use the drive through as something that increases activity. But when you’re dealing with a goldener population they aren’t only void of movement, they’re void of others. When you walk into some place you get to make eye contact with somebody else. You get to have a conversation. When you don’t use your ATM, when you drive in and talk to the teller, that’s a physical connection. So, one of the taxes of automation is not only the loss of physical movement but the loss of all of the other variables that used to come packaged with it: Community, smiling. What happens when someone smiles at you? I’m sure there’s research on being around other people but you’re not going to put it in an exercise book because this is only for physical activity. And I say “No More!” From now on I’m going to talk about all aspects of movement and it’s like when you don’t walk in, you don’t touch anyone else with a hand, you don’t touch anyone else with your eyes or in a smile. So I started to put all that into Dynamic Aging just to say, “Yeah, you’re gonna go inside because it gives you more time to practice your standing alignment and you get to connect with other people in your community and have a chance to use your voice and vocalize and talk, and exchange information. And you get your bank thing done.” All of that was more than your exercise. So yeah. Movement Matters and Alignment Matters together, I would say, in that book. Maybe that’s what makes it the best or the most robust. And it’s not even for… I mean everyone’s aging dynamically. The book is for everyone.
KATY: It’s not for septuagenarians.
STEPHANIE: Although yes, the print is a little larger. And yes there’s a little more white space between lines…
STEPHANIE: …so it’s accessible. But if you want to put it on the floor and do some of the correctives it doesn’t really matter what age you are. The larger print is pretty handy.
KATY: No. Well does fine print help anybody?
STEPHANIE: Not that I’ve noticed.
STEPHANIE: It mostly takes the legs out from under you from what I’ve noticed.
STEPHANIE: Well the others…
KATY: Well that and the Today Show.
STEPHANIE: Yeah. That helped.
KATY: It’s only fair if the other books get on the Today Show.
STEPHANIE: Yeah, that’s right. I’m glad you mentioned your dad because he was one of the first people you gave a copy to when you got your hands on your copies.
STEPHANIE: And he started using it right away, did he not?
KATY: He did. That’s just the thing that I love best about him. I mean, he probably got the copy of that book 90 days before he died. He’s already at this point, you know, he, and this is so personal for a podcast but I don’t care. Because we should link, if we can…
KATY: … back to the Today Show piece. Because that piece wasn’t only on our book, it was on superagers, right? And they said that the hallmark of superagers, I’m paraphrasing, but it wasn’t like memory games. It wasn’t that they were sitting and doing crossword puzzles and keeping their brain active. It’s that they were doing new and challenging things. That they would do the work. They would overcome whatever it is that resistance to getting started. They would just do it. And those people age really well. And that is definitely of the co-authors, that is their, that’s what they did. Yes, it’s the moves, but it’s like that they all decided to study something in their 70s.
KATY: And learn a whole new set of language. And work through the hard part to have their brain reorganized around that information. And my dad, who died at 89 and 3/4, you know he started playing the bagpipes when he was 50. And started playing the banjo when he was 60. He wasn’t ever afraid to do the thing. He also was always into health. My grandmother, so my dad would have been 90 in June, a couple of weeks ago it was his 90th birthday. His mother had him when she was in her mid-30s. Unheard of back then.
STEPHANIE: Oh gosh.
KATY: She was just old. She’s been old my whole life. She was 85 when I was born. Anyway, she was a health, she was a supplement, health food, water junkie. Totally unheard of in the 40s and the 50s. But he got that. Exercise every day. My dad always exercised. So my dad, here he is, he’s 90 days from dying. And he’s constantly kind of like he is ready. He’s ready to go. And but at the same time he ordered the Whole 30. He goes, “you know, I got your..” He reads my newsletters always. “I followed your links in the newsletter and I got to this book by,” he’s like, “heart wag or…” And I was like, “Oh yeah, Hartwig.” He said, “Whole 30. I’m gonna start that.” You know? And he was like regularly going in between and like being ready to go but like also ready to just do all the… I found a to do list from him and it, he had read half of the Whole 30. And made notes of like these are ok. He’s like “I’m gonna have to change everything.” He got this and that and then he got Dynamic Aging. And I put that in his hand and I mentioned the to do list and it was like “Get back to an hour of exercise a day.” Which he did maybe up until the last 6 months.
KATY: Always being the exerciser. He opened that book and he read it. And I’m here, I was with him, kind of all day in his apartment. I would just set up my office there just to always be there. And he, this was so him, he would read, he read a section and be like, “huh.” And he wasn’t talking about it with me. I was just doing my work. He’s just reading it and I’d see him like kick his shoes off, and like look down and spread his toes.
KATY: And then he’s like, “Go get me the… go get me that half roll thing.” Which he always had. He would stretch that every day. And then he got up and he still had, he had a walker at that point. He’s doing his calf stretch. He’s like, “I have something to roll my feet on.” He always had, he had perfect brain function. He never lost any brain function.
KATY: He knew where everything was. “Go get this.” And here he’s rolling his feet and ramping up his head and he would do it as he would read. Like because I think that was the thing. Like when he read there was something that would somehow improve him or make him physically better he would just implement it. Right then. He would just do it. There wasn’t any, oh that sounds like a lot of work. He just didn’t have that personality. Mr. three jobs, six miles. He was just that guy. So yeah. I was happy to have him read that book, you know, and feedback as a ninety-year-old. You know he’s reading it himself.
KATY: He’s like, “This spacing is great. This font size is great.” And those kinds of stuff. It was good. I have pictures of him doing it. Which I won’t share.
KATY: But it’s, uh, pretty good.
STEPHANIE: Thank you for sharing the story. That’s super inspiring and he was lovely.
KATY: He was lovely.
KATY: It’s true. I should get up.
STEPHANIE: I’m up. You should get up. Let’s age dynamically at least. Can you leave us with a little something to do? Leave us with a move?
KATY: Mmm… I think hands.
KATY: Hands are kind of neglected, right? If you take your hand…so you’ve got your palms and then the other side of your palm we’ll call that the back of your hand. So if you bring your hands, you know if you put your hands together kind of like prayer hands in front of you, the palms are touching. So I want you to flip those around so the backs of the hands are actually talking.
STEPHANIE: O. K….
KATY: And then if you look down, the thumbs have to touch too. So it’s not only the backs of the hands and the fingernails of all fingers, try to get the thumbs to touch.
KATY: I’m not done yet!
KATY: Once you have those touching, start lowering your wrists down towards the floor and see if you can get your wrists to about the height of your elbows. And as you do you’ll see what tension you’ve got in your forearms or shoulders or hands. And so this is one of those Dynamic Aging things where you go, “oh you just lose grip strength as you get older.” Ok, or you’ve just been so tense through your forearms and your hands for so long and you don’t use them for much except typing and you’ve got yourself an electric can opener when you were 35, you know, and you just let all of those things stiffen and atrophy. They don’t work anymore. Two different statements. So we’re just gonna work on mobilizing the fingers and the thumbs and the wrists and the forearms. This is also great for anyone who works on a typewriter, you know, to do every 10 or 15 minutes just for 30 seconds or so. So that’s my tip for dynamically aging wrists, and fingers, and forearms, and shoulders.
STEPHANIE: That’s a good one. It’s going to take me a long time to get the backs of my thumbs to meet each other.
KATY: Well you’re gonna have to stop being a writer.
STEPHANIE: Well that’s not gonna happen.
KATY: I know.
STEPHANIE: I’ll need to stretch a lot.
KATY: You’ll need to set a timer so it comes up a bit more regularly. But you’ll notice that if you have keyboard hands? Keyboard hands, slightly extended wrists, slightly buckled fingers and wherever your elbows are – so you’re almost de-keyboarding with that particular stretch.
KATY: So it’s definitely a good one to put a little post it on your novel writing wear and say … stretch the backs of my wrists or stretch my wrists – however you want to phrase it to remember.
STEPHANIE: Like write 25 minutes, 5 minutes of wrist stretching, I need notes everywhere.
KATY: Or even just one. Even just one minute. Doesn’t have to be huge. Even if you just took a break and did it for 10 seconds that would be better than not doing it. I would rather than you hold it for 5 minutes I would rather see that stretch sprinkled in every 7 or 8 minutes just for 20 seconds. That’d probably be better. More frequency.
STEPHANIE: All Right. I can do that Katy Bowman.
KATY: I know you can. You can do anything.
STEPHANIE: Well we’ll see about that. I can at least do that wrist stretch.
KATY: Okee dokey!
STEPHANIE: All Washington all the time.
KATY: Washington State at Finnriver. That is a two-day retreat. You can find more about that all on the calendar that’s on my website. And then I’m going to New Zealand. So far I’m teaching at the Ancestral Health Symposium in New Zealand, in Queensland. Queensland. I’m not sure exactly how to say it.
STEPHANIE: You’ll find out when you get there.
KATY: Yes, I’m sure I’ll be corrected multiple times. And then I’ll be doing at least one other thing. I still don’t know what it is. We are working on that. But I’ll announce that here and also on the calendar and in my newsletter which you can sign up for at NutritiousMovement.com as soon as I know in a bit.
STEPHANIE: Well that’s great. Next on our calendar, yours and mine, I think we’ll talk feet. They are the foundation, as you remind us in each and every book of yours, so it’s time to stop pussyfooting around, if you will, and I know you will and talk about Whole Body Barefoot and Simple Steps to Foot Pain Relief when next we meet. How does that sound to you?
KATY: That sounds great. I feel like, I always start at the feet. It’s been kind of nice to come down to the feet. So yeah, it’s gonna be exciting. Thank you.
STEPHANIE: All right. So if you are reading along at home, those are the next two books to get into. Whole Body Barefoot and Simple Steps to Foot Pain Relief. And again you can find them for $5 off at NutritiousMovement.com which is also where you can find Katy’s calendar with all those amazing events on it and you can also sign up for her super fun and informative newsletter there. NutritousMovement.com. This has been Between the Lines on the Katy Says podcast. 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.