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What if we can make ourselves, our communities, and our planet healthier—all at the same time—by moving our bodies more?
Movement Matters is a collection of essays in which biomechanist Katy Bowman continues her groundbreaking investigation of the mechanics of our sedentary culture and the profound potential of human movement. Here she widens her You are how you move message and invites us to consider our personal relationship with sedentarism, privilege, and nature. Bowman explores:
• how convenience often means less movement, not more time
• the missing "movement nutrients" in our food
• how to include more nature in education
• the impact of adding movement to permaculture and ecological models
• our need for "vitamin Community" and group movement
Unapologetically direct, often hilarious, and always compassionate, Movement Matters demonstrates that human movement is powerful and important, and that living a movement-filled life is perhaps the most joyful and efficient way to transform your body, community, and world.
Movement Matters is not only a delight to read but also will help every family, and has implications that extend far beyond our individual lives.
—Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods and Vitamin N
Every so often a thinker comes along who is able to teach complicated ideas with so much ease and clarity, you have the liberating feeling of remembering something as you are learning it. This book holds up a mirror: this is who you are. This is your body. This is nature. You are one and the same — it is only your habits and thinking that have tricked you into believing that you are separate. In Bowman's essays, the comparison of a growing tree and a growing body is not conceptual. It is real. Your body follows the rules of nature, just like everything does. Bowman shows us where science meets metaphor, and that we ignore this connection at our own peril.
—Sarah Selecky, author of This Cake is For the Party
Everyone should read this book.
One of the unfortunate side effects of living in complex, modern societies is the distance we create from the natural world, leading us to forget how to live better with less and by keeping active. In her quest to resurrect this lost knowledge, Katy Bowman provides us with a survival roadmap to reclaim personal quality of life and a sustainable future for all. A must-read for anyone interested in living a happy, productive life on a habitable planet.
—Jason Lewis, author of The Expedition
Katy Bowman is one of the world's leading experts on the ecology of human movement. She offers a timely and fascinating collection of essays that are designed to inspire a movement-based lifestyle—essential for our long-term survival as adaptive humans. A must-read for anyone who cares about their health.
—Angela Hanscom, founder of TimberNook and author of Balanced and Barefoot
In a civilization that strives to reduce movement to its barest minimum, and a culture that celebrates the leisure of the chair over the immersive experiences that truly nourish our bodies and souls, there is the voice of Katy Bowman. Her scientific approach, coupled with her deep understanding of the ancestral roots of our physiological needs, bridges the longstanding gap between the world of healthy movement and the advice of the medical and exercise science communities. Finally, we learn why movement matters, and that the answer lies not in the monotony of pointless exercise for its own sake, but rather in the exhilaration of movement as an expression of our very humanity.
—Daniel Vitalis, host of the ReWild Yourself podcast, founder of Surthrival.com and FindASpring.com
This gorgeous book opens the door to a new way of thinking and being. Katy teaches us how each movement, no matter how small it may seem, matters. You can't help but want to become more active in every aspect of your life.
—Kristin Meekhof, LMSW, author of A Widow's Guide to Healing.
What a breath of fresh air! Katy Bowman, like her books, oozes originality and intelligence. In Movement Matters, she makes readers see how movement isn't something you do—it's something you are. The world, the fitness industry, and those of you at home aspiring for wellbeing will really benefit from Katy's life-enhancing information.
—Ellen Barrett, bestselling workout video creator, founder of Yogini Workshop, and author of The 28 Days Lighter Diet
With Movement Matters, Katy Bowman has produced a thoughtful—and radical—treatise that is a must-read for those interested in their personal health and the health of the body politic and planet. A stellar read.
—Rose Hayden-Smith, M.A. Ed., M.A., PhD, editor of University of California Food Observer, author of Sowing the Seeds of Victory: American Gardening Programs of World War I
I've spent almost twenty years talking to people about food and specifically why good food matters. I've made my case using biology and ecology, talking about our hunter-gatherer past. What I missed is all the movement that went into not just our food but also our lives. This is why movement matters—and fortunately for you, Katy Bowman has tackled this topic in a way that has never been done before.
—Robb Wolf, author of The Paleo Solution
While there are tons of books about how brains think, there is virtually nothing about how and why creatures with brains (us!) move. Katy's book places movement into its rightful position as the foundation of being human. Movement Matters promises to revolutionize how we think about movement.
—Aaron Blaisdell, PhD, UCLA Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Neuroscience
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About the Author
Her books, the bestselling Move Your DNA, Movement Matters, Simple Steps to Foot Pain Relief, Diastasis Recti, Don't Just Sit There, Whole Body Barefoot, Alignment Matters, and Every Woman's Guide to Foot Pain Relief , have been critically acclaimed and translated worldwide.
Passionate about human movement outside of exercise, Katy volunteers her time to support the larger reintegration of movement into human lives by providing movement courses across widely varying demographics and working with non-profits promoting nature education. She also directs and teaches at the Nutritious MovementTM Center Northwest in Washington state, travels the globe to teach Nutritious Movement courses in person, and spends as much time outside as possible with her husband and children.
Table of Contents
Movement: Outsourced 9
Science Moves 11
Muscle: A Simple Model 13
Expand Your Muscle Model 17
You're More Than (Two of) Your Parts 21
Putting All Your Eggs in One Comment Basket 32
Don't Be a Stupid 35
Sometimes Science is Sedentary 37
Dear Katy 40
Nature Moves 43
Shaped by the Trees 52
First Hike 55
Tree Bones 57
A Matter of Perspective 61
Wet Bones 62
You Speak How You Are 72
Outdoor School 79
Dear Katy 82
Food Moves 87
Must Work for Food 90
Those Other Nutrients 92
Mammals Suck 98
Kitchen Movement 109
A Sedentary Culture Eats 113
Movement as a Commodity 115
Dear Katy 118
Just Move 123
Stack Your Life 134
Nutrient Dense 142
Geese, or Movement Ecology 150
Natural Movement Is Efficient 156
Natural Movement Is Joyful 161
Movement is Counter-Culture 163
Movement is Not Medicine 169
Vitamin Community 174
Personal Mission Statement 183
Dear Katy 192
Afterword and Acknowledgments 199
Appendix 1 Nature in Education 206
Appendix 2 Foraging 209
Appendix 3 Breastfeeding 213
About the Author 224