May 30, 2023

How to reshape your body for better movement and less pain with Katy Bowman

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In her book, Rethink Your Position, Katy Bowman teaches us how to improve our posture and movement and feel less pain as a result. On episode 592 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we discuss how you can do simple things to look and feel better.


Let's Say Hello

[00:03:21.050] – Allan

Hey, Ras, how are you?

[00:03:22.780] – Rachel

Good, Allan. How are you today?

[00:03:25.020] – Allan

I'm doing okay. We're getting packed up for our trip and heading back to the States for the wedding, Summer's wedding. So this is daughter number two. All kids married out. Two are going through divorces already. But the cycle of life.

[00:03:44.310] – Rachel

It happens.

[00:03:45.600] – Allan

It happens. It happens. And they'll be happy with it when they get done with it. But it is what it is. Anyway, so we're headed back. We'll see family. We'll do the wedding stuff. And then Tammy and I will spend a weekend together in that whole three week period of time traveling around doing stuff. And then we'll head back. Hopefully, it's just an uneventful get in a rental car, drive around, see everybody, have a good time, and then I'm back.

[00:04:14.790] – Rachel

That sounds wonderful. Yes. Well, it'll be nice to see your family and celebrate the wedding. It'll be a lovely time to make those connections again and then go back home to your retreat.

[00:04:29.920] – Allan

Yes. Beautiful place. And so this weekend we adopted another dog. There was a guy, he got married and they want to go on a long honeymoon, like six months, seven countries. And he had this dog and they were posting a picture of the dog. The dog and the dog looks, on the picture, it looked almost identical to our dog Buster. Angel passed not long ago. Buster's been by himself, the only dog. And then so we look at this dog and it could be Buster's little brother. I mean, it's just weird how close together these dogs look and how much they act alike and the whole thing. So anyway, we brought him over. His name is Love. Love will be with us six months or maybe forever. It's just when the guy gets back, or I guess at some point he'll decide if it's just better for Love to have a home, a steady home because he's going to want to travel, is what he was saying. So he was just like, Maybe can't. So we might have Love permanently or part time, but however it works, he and Buster initially were not seeing eye to eye.

[00:05:34.350] – Allan

They had a few doggy conversations and now they're getting along a lot better.

[00:05:39.930] – Rachel

Good. I'm glad they're getting along. That's awesome.

[00:05:44.410] – Allan

How are things up there?

[00:05:45.950] – Rachel

Good. I mentioned last time that I had hit menopause, and that my…

[00:05:53.180] – Allan

It's not as… You've been running this ultra marathon for 50 some odd years. And then, yeah, you thought you were going to finish line.

[00:06:00.680] – Rachel

Yeah, I need a T shirt to celebrate this with.

[00:06:04.970] – Allan

Yeah. So my guess is who's got my kid, dude, where's my kidney?

[00:06:09.840] – Rachel

Yeah, exactly. But it's part of this. My thyroid is broken and so I've been taking this medicine for my thyroid. And I told you that I have to take it in the morning and then wait 30 minutes before I can eat or drink anything. And if you know me, coffee goes in my body the first time in the morning. If I wake up, coffee is going in. And so this 30 minute leg time is quite a challenge for me, to put it mildly. But I decided that I would start doing yoga in the morning for that 30 minute period. And truthfully, it is difficult. It's a hard habit to break, but I have started doing yoga as soon as I get up and I feel great. It feels really good. I really need the stretching. I need the gentle way to wake up and the movement, and it's really hard to change habits. I'm not even going to kid you, but I am making changes and seeing progress, and it feels pretty good.

[00:07:06.850] – Allan

Awesome. That's outstanding.

[00:07:08.560] – Rachel

Yeah, thanks.

[00:07:09.940] – Allan

Great. Now, there's one other thing I wanted to say. I was on a podcast episode recently because I told you guys I was doing some of this. Well, the name of the podcast is called direction, not perfection. And the host of that is Lindsay House. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/lindsey. That's L I N D S E Y. And you can hear my episode, which was 225. And basically we talk about Fit For Task. But I give a lot of tips in that. And so it's again, it's the name of the podcast is direction, not perfection podcast. You can find it anywhere that you like to listen to podcasts. But if you'd like to go to a link where I have it on the web, you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/lindsey.

[00:07:55.040] – Rachel

Cool. That sounds good. I love that Fit for Task stuff. That would be great.

[00:07:58.850] – Allan

All right. Well, Rachel, are you ready to have a conversation with Katy Bowman?

[00:08:03.050] – Rachel



[00:09:12.930] – Allan

Katy, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:09:15.890] – Katy

Thanks for having me back years later.

[00:09:18.240] – Allan

Years later. I did miss a book. I apologize for that. But interestingly, we were having this conversation before. You're in Costa Rica and I'm in Panama. So quite literally, we're probably not more than 150 miles away from each other at this point. So it's interesting where you find yourself. The name of the book is Rethink Your Position: Reshape Your Exercise, Yoga, and Everyday Movement One Part at a Time. And I love movement and personal trainer and nutrition coach and doing all that thing. But what was really interesting about your book as I got into it was it was completely backwards to everything I've ever been coached or told in my entire life.

[00:10:06.250] – Katy

Wow. I want to know more about that.

[00:10:10.080] – Allan

Because everything else always starts from the ground. And works up. Your book started from the top and worked down. And at first I was like, okay, I'm really interested in why Katy would do that. Obviously, I've read the book, so I know why Katy did that. Will you tell me, why did you start from the top and work down rather than the floor and work up?

[00:10:38.730] – Katy

That's the first time I've done that. I usually always do it the other way, like so many other people. But to mix things up a little bit is like the general answer reading is such a sedentary activity. I knew the reader was going to be engaged with this material for the next few days or weeks or however long it takes you to read a book. And I wanted to start off right away with a movement that could be done in volume while you are reading the book to make my point that movement is something that transcends the experience of exercise. It can go on to an activity like reading. And that movement was the head ramp. It was a head and shoulder adjustment. And so for that reason, I decided to go from the top down.

[00:11:28.780] – Allan

Yeah. And that's what was so cool is you literally were changing my behavior while I was reading your book.

[00:11:35.930] – Katy

That was the plan.

[00:11:39.360] – Allan

Okay. Your evil plan came true. Or actually not evil, but… Okay. Why is body alignment so important?

[00:11:49.710] – Katy

I do think we tend to think of posture as something that affects how you look. The reason that you do it is for how you present to the eyes. But alignment is different than posture in that it's about the way things work. And so our body, not to get too overly mechanistic, is not a machine. It's biological, it's organic, it grows, it responds, it adapts, but it still operates similar to machinery in a lot of different ways. And so the alignment of our body is important for the same reason. The alignment of our car is important, or the reason that you don't run your coffee maker on an angle counter to 30 degrees is because the orientation of things affects the way things work. And that goes for your car and that goes for your coffee maker, and it goes for your body as well. And that's why alignment matters quite simply. That's the most simple way I can explain it is there's a lot of things happening in the body. There's a lot of physical experiences not so pleasurable. The way we view aging, a lot of times has more to do with the orientation of our parts, the way we've organized our body relative to gravity and the frequency with which we do that, it can have negative outcomes.

[00:13:19.730] – Katy

Just knowing like, oh, you have some options here when it comes to the orientation of your parts, that's the message that I'm trying to get across.

[00:13:27.870] – Allan

Yeah. Now I'm on an island and we get a lot of surfers and hitchhikers and whatnot. I watch them walk. As I'm walking to work, I'm around them, I see them. I know you're a people person, watch your person too, because it's like fascinating to watch how people move. I'm watching them carry a very heavy pack on their back or a very heavy pack on their stomach or both. They're like camels walking through the streets. But one thing I've noticed, and this is very young people, I'm not talking about people in their 40s and 50s, but people who are in their 20s and I'm thinking, Wow, you keep doing this and 20, 30 years from now, this is going to be fantastic in a terrible way. But this is this thing called tech neck.

[00:14:15.130] – Allan

Where they're at their phone or on their phone so much with basically their shoulders hunched forward, their chest is compressed, their elbows are down, their head is down. And it creates this thing technique, I guess, is what it's been classed as. Can you talk a little bit about that and how someone who… Well, quite frankly, we almost have to be on our phones because that's how we communicate with everybody now. And nobody shows up where they're supposed to. My generation is like, Hey, I'll meet you at the restaurant at six o'clock. We all just showed up at the restaurant at six o'clock. We didn't think about it again. Now it's like, No, let's go to a different restaurant. Now there's a whole chain and we're all going to go somewhere else. And we never make it to the restaurant we were originally going to go to. That's quite normal. So as we get older, we're still doing this and we're changing our head structure, our neck structure, and the whole kinetic chain. Let's talk about tech neck and what we can do to manage that.

[00:15:12.600] – Katy

Well, tech neck is just a rebranding. It feels like a rebranding to me. That posture is old posture. It's an upper body forward curve and a neck. The upper body rounds forward. It's called hyperkifosis. But the neck really bends back in the opposite direction. It's like hyperlardosis. So you get this deepening of the upper back and the neck curves that is similar to what we would have found in older populations over a longer period of time. That wasn't tech neck, that was just hyperkifosis and hyperlardosis. But we are seeing that body position now not show up when someone is in their late 80s. We're seeing it in teenagers. We're seeing it in 20 year olds who are otherwise active. Maybe that's why it gets a rebranding because it's no longer associated with age or a particular level of physical robusticity. It's just a shape that is brought about when you look down at a device quite a lot, you get that same set of curves. And to go back to that first question, why does it matter? Is it simply about how it looks? And no, not really. It's about I in the book, I try to show swallowing is affected by this position.

[00:16:31.100] – Katy

Space for the lungs to deploy fully is affected by this. Spinal loads to the disk and to the bones of the spinal column are affected by this. Shoulders and the way that they can move are affected by this position. This position, this tech neck, forward head, position of the body ends up reducing the total amount of movement of things like your shoulders and your head. And it's not talking about the fact that you just drop into the position. It's when your body strengthens and stiffens in this position and you can no longer stand up straight. You can no longer slide your head back because everything is so stiff and tense and habitually in this position that it ends up affecting how things work from the head to the rib cage, breathing, swallowing, and then the way things feel, achy in the upper back, achy in the headaches and things like that. So it's important to realize that the environment that we're choosing to be in quite often is setting us up for some of these issues. But as I try to point out in the book, your phone doesn't require that you stand like that.

[00:17:53.730] – Katy

That's just the way we use our phones mindlessly. So that's another one of the early exercises also. I figure you're going to be spending a lot of time reading this book right now and also if you're like most people on some device. So you can adjust those curves quite simply. It's not required. We're just not being thoughtful about positioning our body when we're on the phone, like we might be thoughtful about positioning our body in other situations. We have mindless phone tech use habits, and it goes all the way into the body. So it's just developing more mindful physical practice around all the things that we do, including when you're using your phone. You're going to do those same upper back and head adjustments. And then you might have to hold your phone up a little higher, but so be it. It makes using your phone better for you.

[00:18:45.420] – Allan

I want to take one step back because, like I said, you changed my behavior by putting the head and neck in the front and then working your way down. And you gave us this exercise in the book of basically bringing your head back in alignment. Can you talk us through that?

[00:19:04.890] – Katy

Sure. It might be easiest for folks to try it against a wall for those listening. You don't have to have a wall, but standing against the wall helps. And if you reach your hand back behind you and if you feel where there's a part of your rib cage, the middle back where a heart rate monitor strap would sit or a bra strap sits, that goes against the wall. It's touching the wall. So your upper middle back is against the wall. And for many people, that would mean their head is now off in front of them. So the exercise is to keeping that middle back touching the wall. Low back doesn't have to touch, just the middle back. Sliding your head back towards the wall as well without tipping your head back. So you're not tipping your head back where your chin lifts. It's sliding the head back. But because of the way the vertebrae are shaped in the upper back and the neck, sliding your head back also means sliding your head up. So if you think of lifting your head up towards the ceiling, that often brings your head back on its own. So you're doing two directions.

[00:20:14.610] – Katy

You're actually doing three, but we'll just make it easy. Your head is going back and your head is going up towards the ceiling at the same time. And then what that does is it reduces that excessive curve in the upper back and it reduces the excessive opposing direction curve in the neck or what's called lardosis. You get two curve adjustments for one movement, which is, again, why I led with it. It is such an impactful, simple move that requires no equipment that you can do no matter the activity you're doing. So why bury the lead? Put it in chapter one. Put it in the first part of chapter one.

[00:20:52.180] – Allan

And unlike your grandfather, you'll be taller for it.

[00:20:55.270] – Katy

And that's right. My dad. That was my dad.

[00:20:57.320] – Allan

Your dad. Your dad. That's right.

[00:20:59.780] – Katy

So yes, and showing how this changes height. The book is done in essays, so you can really drop into it wherever you want. You don't have to read it through. But if improved swallowing or addressing why maybe the shoulders aren't functioning isn't that motivating. You can go simply through, you'll be taller by the time you're done with this exercise.

[00:21:20.170] – Allan

There you go. I love that. Now, you wrote a sentence in your book, and then you actually re-repeated it because it's probably the most important sentence that's ever been written for someone who's really looking at the way to maintain their body, maintain their joints. And I think this should be printed out and put in every gym in America and around the world because it is such an important statement. I'm actually going to probably end up saying it twice myself. The ligaments are not the breaks of the joint. The muscles are.

[00:21:55.860] – Allan

Could you take a moment to talk through that? Because when I read that sentence, it was the same thing. I was like, Whoa, that's important. This means something. And so many people are going through pain of movement because they don't understand this fundamental thing.

[00:22:16.400] – Katy

Right. We're not really taught movement. We're not modeled moving well. And so it's no wonder. But yet we are still fairly dynamic. As sedentary as we are, our bodies are our vehicles, our vessels are moving around from point A to point B. So what that statement means is, what's the best way to explain it? You're using your joints all the time to pick things up and set things down. Talking about your arms, your legs are also essentially doing the same thing as your arms. Only the thing that it's picking up and setting down is your torso weight and your arms, the rest of your body. Musculoskeletal muscles are contracting and relaxing. And when they can do it with control, when you're able to generate enough force to move you and to lower you, well, the muscle does the work throughout the entire arc of, let's say, a movement, getting up out of a chair, walking down a flight of stairs. Different muscles are doing different things at different times, but some are holding and lifting parts, some are slowly lowering parts and gently setting you down. That would be the optimal situation where your muscles are able to carry, yes, your total body weight, but really the way muscles work is that each set of muscles are carrying the weight of various segments to and fro.

[00:23:44.850] – Katy

So you might be able to be like, look, I can stand. I can carry my body weight. I can move across the floor. Yes. But if you're walking with a really heavy landing, like every foot strike is a thunk or a thud, you've probably read it many times, walking is just controlled falling. I disagree with that. I think that a lot of people are in a controlled falling state, but that would be an example of your muscles are not strong enough to carry you through a gait cycle. So there's these heavy landings. And instead, what you're using are the ligaments. You're using more passive connective tissues. And some connective tissue like fascia can generate a little bit of force, but it's not in the same way that you don't want to use your connective tissue in lieu of your musculoskeletal muscle. You want to be using that as a primary force generator with everything else supporting. Right now, we're getting a lot of crash landings in all of the movement that we do. And that means that these tissues that don't have the same adaptive property as muscle… One of muscle's amazing defining properties is that it adapts to load and gets bigger.

[00:25:01.400] – Katy

It gets more voluminous. It's like, what are you doing with your body? How can I assist? Let me feel that. Let me increase in mass so that you do that better and more safely. We're rarely using our musculoskeletal system. We are using the more connective tissue that does not have that same, let me feel what you're doing and adapt and change. It has to take it. So like a seat belt in your car, if you're going fast towards the wall, the best thing for the car parts and the body inside of it is to apply the brake. That's the musculoskeletal system. What we tend to do is hit the wall and depend on the seat belt to stop the impact. And if you imagine doing that in a car over and over again, not only would you total the car, which is a joint, so to speak, the seat belt, the ligament, begins to after a repetitive load in that way, and it does not have the properties to adapt like muscle does, you begin to thin or fray or otherwise damage the ligament, loosen, however you want to think about it. And then there's some people who have connective tissue issues or disorders who already have connective tissue that is more lax than others.

[00:26:30.840] – Katy

And that group tends to use their ligaments for deceleration. So in a culture where people are so sedentary or when they do move, it's so repetitive, everyone, whether you have a ligament issue that already gives you loose… Loose is the easiest way to understand it. Or you've already done some damage to ligaments. In either case, learning how to use your muscloskeletal system better with more control over a greater range of motion will benefit not only your musculoskeletal parts, your joints, the part that tend to hurt, it also makes you more metabolically healthy. You end up addressing those metabolical reasons that we are moving more when you approach it that way. So yeah, thanks for bringing that up because I do love that sentiment.

[00:27:25.330] – Allan

And the way I broke this down myself was I see people who know they have a problem with their knees, and so they do quarter squats or half squats. And that's using the ligaments as breaks. And that's part of the reasons why they're still hurting. They want to do something. They want to squat. And they're like, just get down into the squat. Keep your weight reasonable, your load reasonable. Get down below parallel. And now it's your glutes that have to fire because they're the only breaks left. And it's a lot easier to do that than to really focus on your quadriceps or the breaks because, again, you end up with the ligaments taking the brunt of that. And the walking downstairs, I liked how you went through the process of explaining how we can drop our hip and basically, again, use our glutes as the primary muscle that's the break and then holding us as we bring the other foot forward. So can you talk just a little about that, about how we can focus on those muscles and use them the right way. In the book, I think you did it brilliant, and you did a little exercise you called the pelvic lift.

[00:28:37.360] – Katy


[00:28:38.000] – Allan

List. Okay. Can you talk just a little bit about that?

[00:28:42.580] – Katy

Well, culturally, we share a lot of movement habits. The biggest one is that most people listening to this, grew up in a culture where chairs are fairly ubiquitous, which means we're not really comfortable dropping our hips down below the height of our knees. Our cars, our desks at school, our desks at work, the chairs in our home, getting down to the bed, our toilet, everything is at the height of the hips getting to the same altitude or elevation as the knee. So what's happened is we are a culture that is stronger, more used to using the front of the thigh. We don't really use the back of the thigh. We don't use our glutes, we don't use our hamstrings, nearly to the same degree that we use the front of our body. You can see it in standing posture is when the hips rest forward, we're even standing at rest. We're using the muscles on the front of the thigh to hold us up, and the back of the thigh and the glutes don't do much for our entire life. And so for many people, knee pain is going to resonate. And also knee pain while taking the stairs, usually going upstairs, but downstairs is usually the killer.

[00:29:58.750] – Katy

A lot of people can go up, but they can't come down. And I'm trying to flesh out why that is. It's because when you're trying to lower your body down something, we come with all these joints to share the work distribution over our body. Well, we don't share it. When you think of the human skeleton, think of the pelvis. Think of the… If you've never held a femur, which is that upper thighbone in your hand, it's massive. And it's massive because it has to be able to withstand the tension that is placed upon it by these musclesthat can carry our body weight with every step, but have never really had to do it. We've given it to the quads, and the knees are like, I can't carry you down this hill. I've carried you every other step that you've taken in your entire life. And I'm sorry, we don't go downhill anymore. That's a little cartoon, but that's really what the narrative is. We can't do it. That body part is tapping out of going downhill, which is fine because that's not really your downhill primary mover. You've got these massive lateral hip muscles that have really great leverage that come with strong bones that could have strong bones.

[00:31:12.670] – Katy

If you would use this piston like action, I'm using my hands because we can see each other, but those listening can't. There's a piston action to your size. When you have one leg that's free and you drop one hip when your pelvis lists to one side, that is an easy way to get your heavy mass, adults are heavy, down something without having to use the knees. And so a large part of what I do is say, let me reintroduce you or introduce you for the first time to large parts of your body that have been pretty much unused most of your life, even if you're already an active person. I have Olympian athletes who will come and go through this same process of having these major sedentary spots within their otherwise fit and active body. So you can be full body sedentary or you can be part by part sedentary. And learning how to list, again, is one of the most important things we can do to preserve our knee joints, but more importantly, to preserve the activities we'd like to do with our legs that our knees are tapping out of.

[00:32:27.380] – Allan

You mentioned earlier the chair. Some people might argue, the best invention ever, because I get to sit down and it's easy and then I can get back up. I can watch what I want to watch and do what I want to do, sitting there comfortably for hours and hours. And then you mentioned my favorite workout implement, I think it might be yours too, the floor.

[00:32:51.120] – Katy

The floor is great. It's right there. It's just right there. It's always underfoot.

[00:32:55.780] – Allan

Yes. Let's talk about the floor and how this can be a big part of your overall fitness and movement. Just getting.

[00:33:04.240] – Katy

Down to it. Again, it's one of those things. It's always around for the most part. We've done a disservice to ourselves by putting all of our understanding of movement on this thing called exercise, where you go to the place and you use the thing, the equipment, and that's it.

[00:33:23.410] – Allan

And usually sitting there, too.

[00:33:25.470] – Katy

Oftentimes, a lot of times people will take their exercise sitting down. Again, because they're not paying attention to the fact that the legs have lost the ability to hold up the body for a long period of time. And the idea is, but I'd still like to exercise, which is great, but functionally speaking, there's a lot of experiences that you carrying yourself around on your body weight opens up. And so because we've pulled fitness a lot of times out of the practical because we see it as something I need to do 30 minutes for my heart or my lungs or for my cholesterol or for my resting blood pressure, we forget that movement is a feedback loop of when you move your body in a certain way, you become more able to move your body in that way. And that exercise is great medicine in that if you can't currently carry your body well on body parts like your legs or your arms, you can't use your limbs. They're not able to carry your weight around. You can use movement as a tool to restore that ability in many cases. And that's a much richer definition of movement versus using it, taking it and sitting down.

[00:34:42.480] – Katy

So anyway, to go back to your question about the floor, it's very practical to get down to the floor and get back up again. That is a major exercise, if you will, in that it mobilizes multiple joints. It challenges the muscles of many parts to be able to get back up. It's a very nutritious food, so to speak. There's a lot of nutrient density to that move, and yet it's very hard to make us do something like that. So floor exercises are great because there's always this period of time where you have to get down and get back up. But just getting to the floor and getting back up can be an exercise itself. Just getting down to the floor, sitting in three different positions while you're down there and getting back up is equally an exercise that you adapt to, just like anything else that you're calling exercise that uses similar muscles. So get more familiar with the floor, not only during exercise time, but during non exercise time. If you take in entertainment in the evening, get down on the floor while you do it. Once you're down on the floor, you will feel just the pressure.

[00:35:56.260] – Katy

Chairs aren't only problematic for their geometry, that they reduce the full range of motion of our parts, they're often usually covered in fluff, which means we are missing out on pressure. Pressure itself is another movement our bodies are not only accustomed to throughout the human timeline, but need. We have all these sensors all over our body that need physical pressure, and we've made the world quite soft. So get on the floor and just roll around on the floor, roll from your back to your front. It's very similar to what happens when you're getting a massage. It's not as enjoyable, I'll be truthful, but it uses more of you. It's tenderizing your body. It's breaking up. Same thing that you do to other meat when you're trying to break up some of that overgrown connection that's happened between parts. We need movement, we need pressure to be able to deal with that. Yeah.

[00:36:49.960] – Allan

And you said functional, and I think that's why I really like this is because I can tell you a story. My wife, at the time, she's my girlfriend, her son was dating this woman who had a daughter. And for one reason or another, the daughter was just terrified of me, just terrified. And I wanted to fix this. And I'm like, Okay, how do I fix a relationship with a child? And I'm like, Well, I'm not going to fix it by being an adult. I'm going to fix it by being a child.

[00:37:21.390] – Allan

And so I literally took my laptop and I put on Sponge Bob, which I knew was her favorite. And I went over on the floor and I set my laptop down. I started watching Sponge Bob. And she came over and sat next to me. And we sat there and watched a few episodes of Sponge Bob together, and it changed everything. And so when you start looking at, Okay, what if I fall? What if someone else falls? What if I want to get on the floor and crawl around with my grandchild or me now, I've got some dogs and one of them has hip dysplasia, and so she can't move around a whole lot. I make a point once a day in the morning while my coffee is brewing to go sit on the floor and just hang out with Angel. She loves it. It's like, I'm at her level. I'm down there with her. And it's a tile floor. It's not comfortable. But it helps because what I found is that I can just get down and I can get back up and then I can get back down. And so it's not exercise, it's movement, it's function.

[00:38:21.880] – Allan

And me having a great relationship with my granddaughter or having a great relationship with my dog or just knowing if I found myself on the floor, it's no big deal to just get back up. I think that's really important. And so I am glad the floor is there, and I think people should use it more.

[00:38:40.640] – Katy

I agree.

[00:38:41.830] – Allan

Katy, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:38:51.280] – Katy

Well, I imagine that the easy answers would be intake excellent dietary nutrition, regular movement, and good sleep. Those are the three, but I imagine those are three are given all the time. So I'd want to modify those three. And one would be… I mean, I want to modify one of the three movement because that's my field. And one would be get movement every day, but one, make sure some of it's outside. Expose yourself to some nature through your physical movement. That could be doing your exercise outside. That could be just taking a walk outside. That could be gardening. It could be spending time with animals or kids outside. It's this idea that you are consciously going, I need to move my body outside a little bit every day, which is just a level up from move every day. Another one would be to add community, to add some community to your physical time. You're going to be most supported. You're going to be able to move more when you try to overlap your need for movement with your need for others. And the pay off is, like you said, there's more to movement than just health.

[00:40:14.350] – Katy

There is the relationship aspect of it. And when you get down to the floor and invite other people to get down there with you, you're changing the movement culture a little bit. And then the third step for me is I like to be grateful. I always am most grateful for my health when it's poorest, when something hurts, if I've injured something is when I long most for when my body felt really capable and felt great, which seems like it was just yesterday or three days ago, whatever it was from the time of the injury. Those moments remind me to check in daily with appreciation for all that you can do. It's really easy to focus on all the things that you can't, what you feel like you've lost, this way that you feel that's bad. We need to give more attention and awareness to how much of us feels good and how capable and able we are. Even if we're not choosing to use it all the time, it's a form of gratitude practice. It's just giving a little bit of gratitude to yourself every day. I'm so glad that I don't hurt today or make my back hurts.

[00:41:30.090] – Katy

I'm so glad my shoulders feel so great. Let me just move them around a little bit. That little gratitude for your physical capability, totally able to be scaled to what you can do, I do think is a part of our whole wellbeing, physical and mental.

[00:41:45.100] – Allan

Thank you. Katie, if someone wanted to learn more about you and your book, we got lots of books, but your current book, Rethink Your Position, where would you like for me to send them?

[00:41:55.230] – Katy

You can go to rypbook.com or your local bookstore. And you can get it any place books are found. But if you come to my website, I think there's a discount code for podcast guests.

[00:42:08.920] – Allan

Okay, well, we'll get that offline and I'll make sure to list it in the show notes. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/590, and I'll be sure to have a link there. Katie, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness,again.

[00:42:23.470] – Katy

Thank you for having me. I'm 40 plus. I love it.

Here is a discount code for 25% off Rethink Your Position if purchased via nutritiousmovement.com.

Code: RETHINK25 (active 5/1/23-12/31/23)
Direct link to book: 

Rethink Your Position: Reshape Your Exercise, Yoga, and Everyday Movement, One Part at a Time—PAPERBACK

Post Show/Recap

[00:42:36.400] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:42:38.800] – Rachel

Hey, Allan, I love listening about posture. It's such an important reminder because I do spend quite a bit of my own time hunched over. When I eat, I eat hunched over. When I do dishes at the sink, I'm hunched over. And of course, I'm on my phone like everybody else, hunched over. So it's good to have the reminder to be a little bit more cognizant of my posture periodically.

[00:43:03.880] – Allan

I have the workstation, it's a movable desk. It rises up and goes down and I have my camera. So if I'm on a call, it's up high above the monitor. I probably could put a little higher and it would be better. But basically I'd like the monitor up. And so right now it's generally at eye contact level. And so that helps a lot. But I do read a lot and I'm on my laptop a lot. I'm not on a phone a lot. A lot of people get on their phones. I don't like reading anything on a phone. I just don't.

[00:43:33.360] – Rachel

It's too small.

[00:43:34.250] – Allan

I don't like typing on a phone. I can type about 120 words per minute. So when I get on a phone, it's like I feel like a caveman. And so I okay, Allan, you are a caveman because you don't want to use the phone. Go back to your computer, caveman. But it's easier. It allows me to have a better posture, a slightly better posture than I would if I was on the phone. Given the amount of time that I spent, if I was going to read a book, a digital book, and I'm going to read the heads down. And so it was just funny when she first starts the book, it's like, I know you're going to be hunched over reading this book or looking at it on the screen, like on your Kindle or something. And so I want you to do these exercises. Suddenly, your whole… You just change. You're like, Okay, crap. Now I've got to do this crap. And as I went through her book, I did, which was great. And it was just interesting that she and the Starretts and Jill Miller all came out with books around the same time because it's a similar topic.

[00:44:34.660] – Allan

Our bodies were made to move. They were made to move certain ways. And if we move the right way, we're doing the right things for our body, we're going to be healthier and fitter as we age. And things that you see happen to other people, particularly when it's posture related, you see it like the hunch back women and the old rickety men that can't straighten their legs. There's a way to age that way. And if you're spending a lot of time on your phone, you're probably already experiencing some of that. If you get headaches, if you notice, okay, there's backache, it's probably a posture problem. So working on the posture is going to go a long way towards eliminating pain or preventing it in the first place.

[00:45:20.060] – Rachel

Well, she mentioned standing up against the wall to realign and feel where your head and neck are sitting. And you had just recently mentioned about maybe getting on the floor instead or on a workout bench or something.

[00:45:32.320] – Allan

Yeah, I can tell if I've been reading a book on my laptop, it's about 6 to 10 hours that I have my head lunch down because my laptop is sitting on a desk and not raised, I notice I go to lay down on the bench and my head doesn't immediately just go down and rest on the bench. There's a little gap there. I'm like, okay, I've been looking down too much. I need to go to my office, raise my desk up and spend more time looking up. It might be more uncomfortable to type that way, but so be it. I'm reading a book, I'm not typing. So just look for ways that you can change your work, change your posture, change your movement. It's going to go a long way.

[00:46:15.960] – Rachel

Well, like Katy had mentioned, too, with the tech neck, with that forward leaning head and your shoulders hunched over, she mentions it's not good for swallowing. It compresses the lungs, so you're not giving deep breaths. And with the shoulders in, which I do also, I have my shoulders in quite a bit, it just restricts your movement. It just doesn't feel very good. And just notice, be body aware and feel when this is happening, and then just make the cognizant change to do something about it, to stand up straight or stand against the wall or lay on the floor and try and get yourself real aligned. Yeah.

[00:46:53.480] – Allan

Well, there's a productivity trick or hack called the palmodoro method. W hat the Palmodoro method is, is this concept that we really weren't designed to sit and focus on something for hours and hours and hours. Our brain isn't wired that way. Our bodies aren't wired that way. We're wired to move and look for differences and keep moving. So if you're going to find yourself sitting and working, what this palmodoro method is, is where you would set a Timer for 25 minutes and then you would focus. You wouldn't take phone calls, you wouldn't answer emails. You don't do anything but focus on that one task for that 25 minutes. When your alarm goes off at 25 minutes, you get up and move around for 5 minutes.

[00:47:40.670] – Allan

And what they found is that you can get more work done in an hour taking 10 minutes off to five minute rest breaks. You get more work done in that hour and it's higher quality work.

[00:47:55.370] – Allan

So when you say, I don't have time to exercise, I don't have time to do stretches. You do. You just have to structure the way you think and work a little bit differently. And the Palmadoro method is a great way to say, Okay, 25 minutes, focus, get this done. You may not get it all done, but 25 minutes over, stop and get to moving. Stretch out, move around, do something, walk. Just get yourself out, work on all that, and then come back and focus on that task and you'll get it done. But you'll get more done in that hour than you would have if you just sat there and tried to grind it out.

[00:48:31.430] – Rachel

That sounds awesome. That sounds like a good reminder.

[00:48:35.030] – Allan

Yeah. And there's even apps you can put on your phone or on your computer that every 25 minutes just runs the numbers for you. So you go through your work day, you're like, yeah, I've got to sit here for eight to 10 hours. Well, set your Timer, set your alarm, do your 25 minutes. What's the task? I got to get done. Focus on the first one first and then just run through them and just look for ways to do shortcuts. I've got another one for you here. It's an application I use every day, every week. Sometimes it saves me hours a week. And it's called Text Expander, and it's an app. You do have to pay for it. It's on my computer. And what it does is if there's something I type a lot, like my signature on an email, or maybe there's just a phrase like when I'm going to invite someone to the podcast, I have a template that I use. Or when I'm going to do my show plan, I have a template that I send out. Instead of typing all that stuff up or going and finding it and copying and pasting, I just do hot key stroke.

[00:49:33.800] – Allan

So I've got a little system where I know what those key strokes are. And so three or four key strokes and it types the whole thing. And so because I'm not having to type it each time, it's saving me that amount of time that it would take for me to type it. And so each week, I get a report from them. This week it was you saved 24 minutes, and this is 60 weeks in a row of using this app. And so this app has saved me hours and hours and hours over the course of the last year plus just not having to type the same things or going and finding it on another document and then copying and pasting just to save the typing. And so it's a lot fewer key strokes, a lot less time on the typewriter or on the keyboard. Yeah. Again, caveman. But it's just a lot less time doing that stuff. And so I can get a lot more done. And it's really up to you as how much memory you have in your head as how many key strokes you'd use. You can leave a cheat sheet somewhere.

[00:50:36.780] – Allan

This is like, okay, here's all my codes. Here's the things. So I know my hot codes to do. But literally, once you get it set up, every time you find yourself typing the same thing again, you can just make it a text clip and text expander will do the work for you. And so that's just another one where you're saying, okay, it's hard for me to get enough time to do something. Well, if this thing saves you 24 minutes in a week, well, that's a workout.

[00:51:05.980] – Rachel

Yeah, that's a lot. That's great. Super cool. Yeah.

[00:51:10.770] – Allan

All right. I guess with that, I'll talk to you next week, Rachel.

[00:51:14.640] – Rachel

Sounds good. Take care.

[00:51:16.210] – Allan

You, too.

Music by Dave Gerhart


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