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Review of Movement Matters

Move Matters - Katy Bowman

A review of Movement Matters, author Katy Bowman.


Often, we read something and think, “that was pretty good,” and we take away a few pearls that may or may not make much of a difference in our life, overall.

This isn’t that kind of a book.

This is a paradigm changer (aka: a game changer).

This is far more than a book about movement. It’s also a lesson in how to think.  I’ve experienced the shift from non-science thinking, to thinking more sciencey, to recognizing (at least some of) the shortcomings (and corruption) in science. This book is a level up on thinking.

It’s part exercise book, part nutrition, part time-management – but in a way, it’s none of those. It’s about living a better life, one that asks you to consider what you truly care about, what’s really important to you, and gives you some effective ways to make that a reality.

I know a lot of people that would love reading this book, and I know a lot of people that should read this book.

Movement Matters takes a compilation of facts, knowledge, and wisdom, and presents them in an accessible and effective way.

While I don’t see myself taking these ideas as far as Katy has, as she says in the book – it’s a process, not something that happens overnight.

While I think this book is a great read by itself, having read Move Your DNA and having listened to most of Katie’s podcast episodes was very helpful in having more grasp on the paradigm change presented in Movement Matters.  Something I would also highly recommend.

What I love about Katie’s material is that she is a great thinker, and gives good access to her thought process and how she arrives (in time) at various ways of thinking. Listening to this process has in turn improved my thinking skills.  She doesn’t appear to be about the regurgitation of what is already out there.

A great example of this, which is totally related, but also seemingly unrelated is Katie’s grasp of language, word usage, and carefully considering the underlying meaning and implications of the words that are cast upon a topic/idea.

This book is also a paradigm changer for science-minded individuals.  It’s a super-sciencey book in that it uses science and reasoning skills to understand better how to think about where science is benefiting us and where it’s coming up short – applied to this topic, but completely applicable to other science pursuits.


By the way, what is this paradigm shift…

It’s hard to do it justice in a sentence or two, so you’ll have to read the book, but here are some of my favorite lines…


There isn’t a research database manager that goes back and flags all previous pelvic floor studies using these methods with a “sorry!” This study is no longer valid as a portion of the methods has been shown to misconstrue conclusions.” This is why a wide literature view will give you the best shot at gathering the clearest picture and why a single article will not suffice. 


…my point is, because science (all information, really) is constantly In Progress, the quick (and/or rude) dismissal of something new isn’t really the most scientific course of action. 


…studying biological organisms in a movement-limited environment leads to conclusions that do not apply to that same organism in its natural and movement-rich habitat. 


Being informed includes knowing that subject’s history – all of the hypotheses currently being considered as well as those discarded along the way, and why. 


Most of what I have been taught about how “human ankles” work is really how the ankles of people who don’t use their ankles very much work. 


My husband and I felt, deeply, that there was value in learning to be comfortable without comforts, to be comfortable in nature. 


Hunger is nature’s personal trainer and a relentless one at that. 


This leaves us with bodies rich in nutritional input and malnourished in mechanical loads –  a situation where disease springs forth with ease. 


We don’t talk much about orthodontia being an entire field of study dedicated to a symptom of outsourced movement…


Imagine if businesses and insurance companies factored in the cost of all the seemingly inevitable therapies we receive throughout our lives that are necessary to restore basic biological function, as it calculated the cost of maternity leave?


…we are essentially spending tomorrow’s movement on the luxury of being still today. In five, ten, or twenty years, if you decide you want to start moving more for your health or happiness, you may find that your knees no longer feel good when you climb hills, that your hips creak and protest when you walk, that your feet can’t support you without increasingly structured shoes. 


Thus in order to truly understand what we might require, we need to take into consideration not only a series of facts gathered by the practice of modern scientific investigation, but also the total body of knowledge and experience that has developed across al human societies through our evolutionary history –  our collective human wisdom, if you like. 


The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.  Science needs to break the whole down into parts in order to be able to study the parts, but science’s need for parts should not be mistaken for a human’s need for parts.


Just as people clean out their cupboards of junk food when they’re ready to eat in a more nutritious way, I cleaned out my house when I was ready to move in a more nutritious way.


If you have to decrease your calories consumed to match your low levels of movement throughout the day, every day, and the foods you know to eat are low in nutrients given the calories they contain, then you’ll wind up with fewer nutrients than you require. 


For the last fifty years, we’ve been working backwards to see which movements we humans actually need so we can then have our master list of necessary isolated movements to go with our vitamins and minerals.


The end application of this information was that a clinician could better predict cardiovascular and all-cause mortality by grip strength than by blood pressure.


We’re animals who require nature who are living out of nature, and we are looking for a way to flourish in captivity.


The transition in a patient or therapy-offering practitioner’s mindset could be as simple as “this therapy is replacing natural behavior X, so supplement with this for now, and here are some strategies for getting more behavior X in your life and therefore less therapy. 


An efficient use of dietary supplements is to use them to decrease your symptoms so that you can transition into someone who knows what foods to eat, where to get them, and how to prepare them. 


…knowledge isn’t wisdom. Knowledge is an awareness of facts, nothing more; just knowing something doesn’t tell you how to apply these facts to your life, or how these facts relate to all other facts, or to life. 


These were just some of my favorite lines from the book. I’d highly recommend reading through the whole book to get the full context of these very important ideas.