In Move Your DNA: Restore Your Health Through Natural Movement, biomechanics expert Katy Bowman presents a holistic view of how human movement and body alignment affects our bodies all the way down to the cellular level.
As I’ve grown older and my body has felt the effects of lifelong poor alignment, I’ve grown increasingly fascinated with the field of biomechanics. I was first introduced to Bowman’s work via here “Down There for Women” (not as awkward as it sounds!) when I encountered a variety of pelvic floor issues as a multipara. Her recommendations made sense, and they worked. And I’ve been a Bowman fan ever since.
In this work, Katy asks readers to recognize the differences between movement and exercise, noting that natural movement is what we need for true physical fitness. She notes that “the physical limitation with exercise is that it cannot come close to replicating the variability and frequency of movements and loads necessary to keep our passive parts stable, our active parts engaged, our blood flowing, and our sticky stops at bay. Exercise cannot come close to restoring the tissues already adapted to the way we have been using our habit, in the same way supplements should not be the bulk of your diet.” In other words, taking vitamins doesn’t make up for unhealthy eating; and in the same way, exercise doesn’t make up for lack of healthy movement.
Bowman focuses on muscle and body load as a core component to understanding how movement changes our bodies on the cellular level.
This book is valuable in both audio and text form. In audio, Bowman has formatted the book to be listened to while walking, giving the reader updates to his or her progress with miles walks as one listens (though, this is assuming the book is listened to at regular speed.) In text form, it’s highly valuable in providing more detailed instructions on how to do “exercises” and practice proper body alignment. (However, future editions would highly benefit for more detailed instructions with diagrams and pictures. Lots of helpful info, but hard to put to use if you can’t fully understand the movement recommended.)
If you’re a fan of exercise and fitness in any form, I highly recommend this book. And if you have knee pain, back pain, or difficultly getting up and down, you should check out this book, too. (Actually, anyone with moving body parts should check it out! :)) If the field of biomechanics and alignment is foreign to you, this is a great place to start, even though it is not her first work. (This book also helps explain a little bit why my dream bathroom would include one of these! ;))
Related: Check out this article, “Parenting Against the Grain: Going Furniture-Free,” which features an interview with Katy’s against the grain home furnishing choices! 🙂