I stopped reading mid-sentence. I was feeling a strange uneasiness, and I paused only to discover my face had contorted into a most unattractive, twisted sort of confusion. Definitely not my best look.
I was reading about Katy Bowman, a married woman with two young kids, who has no furniture. No sofas, no tables, no chairs and no beds (her family sleeps on cushions with no pillows). The closest thing she has to furniture is a wood log to crouch on in her office.
I don’t know about you, but I find this beyond peculiar.
By training, Katy is a biomechanist, which I’ll loosely describe as a combination of physiology and anatomy, with a side of geometry and physics thrown in for fun. She calls herself a “movement ecologist.” "It's kind of understanding how physiology and physical forces work together," she explains.
She is seen as innovator in the concepts of “exercise less, move more” (which most of us have heard something about) and “nutritional movement” (which is new to me). She is also the author of “Move Your DNA : Restore Your Health Through Natural Movement.”
Her specialty is promoting the transition from traditional structured exercise to more “global movement,” with a focus of staying active throughout the day. She believes the way we normally engage in exercise has value when you’re training for athletic pursuits, but the problem is that workouts for most people are surrounded by countless hours of no movement at all.
“It’s less about moving more, and more about moving more of you. Those are two different ideas. We need to move more.”
“Nutritional movement” is the distribution of movement throughout the day. There is a difference between taking one 5-mile walk and five 1-mile walks. The general rule is that movement should be frequent and spread out. You basically want to avoid long periods of sedentary behavior, so five 1-mile walks spread out through the day will provide greater health benefits than one 5-mile walk, even though it's the same exact distance.
I get it - I’ve written about this before - extended periods of being sedentary, hurts body, mind and spirit. We all would benefit from getting movement throughout the day.
So she set out on a quest to pioneer a new way of life, and she freely admits that she and her family are modeling a very particular lifestyle. For her no furniture means her family is using their bodies the way nature intended, walking, standing, engaging their cores. Their lives also include growing their own food and walking wherever possible.
Her lifestyle choices are clearly extreme, but she also offers some easy, practical tips:
- When driving, instead of looking for the nearest parking spot, choose one further away.
- Walk instead of drive when you can (how many times have you parked at one store at a strip mall, then gotten in your car and driven to a store at the other end – something you could have walked in five minutes).
- Swap reading a book to walking while listening to it on audio.
- Sit differently (to engage different muscle groups and counter “repetitive positioning”). Examples include, sitting forward on the edge of your chair to avoid using the back of your chair and sitting on the floor instead of the couch.
While I couldn’t agree more with her premise, and I admire her spirit to truly model the way, I’m not ready to totally follow in her footsteps. But her story has inspired me. I for one, will think twice about sitting in a chair vs. plopping on the floor (at least for a while). The floor isn’t all that comfortable for me, and because of that, I’ll likely squirm and readjust my body frequently. And in the process, I’ll start using more “biomechanics,” and move my body in a way that it hasn’t been in a very long time. And that’s a good thing.
What about you? Any inspiration? Please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts!
Wishing you movement,
P.S. Need some help finding ways to get more movement in your day? I’d love to help. And no worries - I won’t be suggesting you put your favorite chair on Craigslist! Want to learn more? Let’s have a chat and find out if working together is a good fit. I offer a complimentary session and scheduling is easy with my online booking system: Schedule Now