Big ol’ shout out this week to Katy Bowman of the Restorative Exercise Institute. Thank you Katy for all your work and all you share with the world.
I just love this quote from a Katy Says Alignment snack I did a few days ago. (sorry for the paraphrasing, going from memory here)
“Exercise is like taking vitamins and minerals but not eating any food.”
Movement on the other hand is like eating food. So just like food, our movement needs to be nutritious. Sure we may “supplement” with exercise. And junk “food” will keep you alive for today, it will provide some “calories”. But neither will keep you alive and truly WELL and being your personal best for years to come. So just like the buzz words around the web about eating whole foods, and nose to tail eating. We need “whole food” “whole body” movement. And according to Katy, it really all starts with our feet.
Enter natural movement. If you haven’t heard of it, check it out. I have read two of Katy’s books – Move Your DNA
– Whole Body Barefoot
Both are great reads. For the casual reader she is witty and makes bio-mechanics easy to read and entertaining. For the reader who really wants to learn some science and technical bits – that is in there for you too.
And for anyone out there who has jumped on the barefoot movement bandwagon – these are MUST READS if you want to learn how to avoid a potential for injury.
You can also learn a lot to start off from her podcast “Katy Says” or on her blog.
Exercise. UG who has time? I know I don’t. I try, I do enjoy exercise, love it even. But I also love my family, my friends, cooking and eating healthy yummy foods, volunteer work, personal enrichment, and a whole lot of other things. And then there is all the “musts” – I must work, I must maintain my budget and balance my checkbook, I must grocery shop, I must clean, I must sleep. Yes… Sleep. So how to fit in “exercise” with all the other parts of life. We all know we can’t be couch potatoes and expect to be healthy people, no matter how well we eat.
I fell in love with natural movement as soon as I heard of it. I am still very early on my journey to incorporating it into my lifestyle. And there will always be certain immovable obstacles that prevent all encompassing natural movement within our modern world. But I do what I can and push the boundaries and remove some of the confines. And it WORKS. For me anyways.
I enjoy doing the “alignment snacks” occasionally at best. And I’ll admit that I usually only remember to do the correctives when something in my body says “ouch help me!”. And as “easy” as it is to simply sit down on the floor instead of the couch – it takes no extra time, I do still fight those couch sitting habits. One thing I have accomplished, is for years I would mostly wear “flats” and even my Vibrams for hiking and backpacking, but still wore heels and high heels at least a couple times a week with my “fashionable” business attire. However in January I made a commitment to minimal footwear. It is not that easy to find minimal options in dressier women’s shoes. And some sacrifice has been made on my part in choosing affordable function over affordable form. But it was worth it. My foot pain has totally vanished. The only exception in my minimal footwear being that 8 hours a week I wear work boots with a positive heel (until I can afford to replace them with these which are a decent seeming close to minimal option for the industrial workplace).
But even with all of that said. My life is already improved. No life altering, world shattering change like this guy (his story is pretty amazing). But improved. A LOT. It is just the little things each day. Each small decision to walk instead of drive, plop on the floor instead of the couch, stretch and move when something hurts instead of curling up and just saying “ow”. Carrying a big basket of groceries instead of pushing around a cart. Each of those tiny little things add up. And over time I have less low back pain, less shoulder pain, less foot pain, less knee pain.
And hey. The other day. I CARRIED A GIANT HEAVY BOX ALL THE WAY TO MY GATE HALF A MILE AWAY INSTEAD OF DRIVING IT THERE. And then I walked back. Uphill. STEEP uphill. I may not be able to walk to the store (the closest one which doesn’t carry what I need anyways is over an hour walk down a narrow dangerous road). But I FOUND A WAY TO WALK. And bonus because it was just to the gate and back, my dog got to hike with me.
I was sore the next day, it was something that challenged me physically, but also mentally (Thought process as I walked: “ugh why did I decide to carry this big box again? Here let me shift it to the other side, let me try holding it on my head, nope still heavy. oh well I’m stuck now, better keep going at least its downhill!”). And I came away feeling great and feeling SO accomplished. I can’t wait to do something like that again.
For me here in California, I am looking forward to winter to actually be able to get outside in real outside terrain more. Seems backwards, but it has just been too hot here not only for the exertion itself, but also to go “off trailing” through the massive fields of poison oak which is my backyard requires cooler weather with more protective/warmer clothes!
Hope everyone has a fantastic Monday – And hopefully we can all find a way to make our week more fantastic by just moving in some small way we would normally not have in our busy modern lives.
**I am not affiliated or associated in any way with Katy Bowman, the Restorative Exercise Institute, or the Katy Says podcast or blog. I am just a consumer of what she has provided to the world, and wanted to share my experiences with her methods.**
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