There are activity trackers that measure your steps, mileage, or jolts of your entire body, but is this good enough? Biomechanist Katy Bowman weighs in on a new non-digital, non-analog activity tracker—a chart!—that helps you become better aware of how your activities are moving not only your whole body, but how they move each part of it.
Download the tracker at NutritiousMovement.com.
And, as always, you can find the transcript and supporting links under PODCAST TRANSCRIPTS at NutritiousMovement.com.
00:03:37 - Launch party discussion about the Activity Tracker – Jump to section
00:10:45 - Trampoline - an example of how to access an activity with the Activity tracker - Jump to section
00:14:42 - More chatting with Dani about the Activity tracker - Jump to section
00:19:48 - How Katy uses the Activity Tracker with her family – Jump to section
00:24:00 - Junk food movement and rethinking good and bad - Jump to section
00:41:00 - Katy's movement gaps - Jump to section
00:44:00 - What's Dani up to and some talk of Occupational Therapy - Jump to section
LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THE SHOW
Download the Activity Tracker here
Article about the History of Occupational Therapy
Video of Katy and Dani discussing the Activity Tracker
KATY: Friends, let's talk about activity trackers. There are many types. There's pedometers and Fitbits and Apple watches and I'm sure other things totally off my radar. These are tools that measure something about the way you're moving. Most often, how much you're moving your whole person or your whole body from point A to point B. What we're going to talk about today is a different type of activity tracker. This is a tracker that I created. This tracker is not digital. It's not even analog. It's a piece of paper with columns and rows and you need a pencil to fill it in like some sort of old-fashioned Excel spreadsheet. So if you've read Move Your DNA, you know that I liken movement to nutrition. And my latest book, Grow Wild dives into movement nutrition, unlike any book or article, or podcast episode before. So, yes, I think everyone should read or listen to it. A very important takeaway from the concept of movement nutrition is that it's not only how much we move our body - so it's not only how many steps or how many miles or how many minutes we've jostled our body and thus our activity trackers - it's also which parts are moving. The activity trackers we're most used to measure big body jostles, but they don't tell us much about where that movement is occurring. As I pointed out, in Grow Wild, kids, but also adults, too, need certain movements for their lungs and certain movements for their bones. And modes of exercise that move our legs don't always move our arms or torsos or even challenge our balance. So we need many different types of movements. And at this point, I thought listeners and readers could use an activity tracker that took a look at where in the body movement was happening. Activity trackers are there to get you moving in the sense that data can help you see more objectively how much you've moved. So you look down at it and it gives maybe a low movement reading. And then coupled with your desire to move, you can use this information to take action. And the same goes for this activity tracker that I've created. By filling it out you will see, “OK, I'm moving a lot in these ways, but these other parts or tissues aren't getting any movement.” So I'm going to take you through some of the process, but I'm not going to do it alone. I first shared this tracker at the Grow Wild launch party last month. Some of you will recognize the party's host Dani Alexander, formerly Dani Hemmat, who used to also host this podcast.
KATY: In Grow Wild, the most technical chapter is Activities. And it was so technical and I sort of alluded to it like you could do this, you could work with your kids. The whole point is, how do you assess your movement diet? Right? Like, I've made a long argument about the difference between just needing movement. Full stop. So many, you know, minutes of movement a day, and why that framework doesn't really hold up for very long. Movement is much more like nutrition. Our needs are very nuanced, very local. Different parts need different things. How do I figure out what my movement diet looks like right now? And then how do I look at that like a dietician would look at, you know, a week of my diet and say, "well, you're missing these major macronutrients and micronutrients." So this is a document that I've created just for you here today. How are my activities moving me? And what it does is it has a place to list hours. You start with activities, you list all the activities that you do. And this doesn't have to be for kids. This can be for grownups as well. Activity - we're going to say that's everything that you do. You go to work. That's your activity. If you go to school, that's an activity on here. It's true to look at all the hours that you're spending in a day.
And then once you've written that activity, you're going to check all the boxes for that activity. So it's with other kids because I've made the argument that kids really do need movement with other children of multiple ages. So and I also think this is helpful to see, like, “wow, everything that my kid is doing is by themselves.” You know, where that stands out as something that's missing. So you write all your activities here. You write the hours that you're doing each activity, because if you don't do that, it's really easy to miss that this is weighted - that what you do most frequently is really checking many more of these boxes, if that makes sense.
KATY: Oh, you look like you got a question.
DANI: No, I'm thinking real hard about my own movement.
KATY: OK, so then it's do you do it with other kids? Is it structured or unstructured? So once you've read the whole book, these will make more sense. Is it indoors? Is it outdoors? Is it eyes up close or is it eyes over varied distance? Is it in a fixed arm position? Is grip strength being utilized or challenged? Is there any practice of accuracy? So that would be throwing or kicking. Arm hanging - it's like we call it like one strength to weight ratio being pulled from your arms. Are your thighs positioned forward? Do your thighs ever move behind the standing position of your body or thighs back? Is it body weight-bearing? Is there any jumping to this activity? Is there any balance challenge in this activity? Are you in a stiff flex spine position? Is it a dynamic spine position? Is it mostly seated? Does it involve heart and lung motion? So another way of thinking about that is, you know, where you are having a variety of heart rates because then each one of these is a different movement. So instead of thinking of heart rate is something different than geometry or alignment, I would put them all in the same category and saying when we're saying that someone is not getting enough cardio, what we're saying is that they're not taking their heart and their lungs and their related vessels through their ranges of motion. And then finally, is it fine motor?
OK, so once you fill in your activities and you fill in how you choose to - you could do an X or you could fill in the whole square, you're going to answer these questions. My activities are moving me most in these ways. So that these questions are to help you interact with your own data that you've presented. And you'd be like, "oh, I can see that I'm getting plenty of mostly seated. I'm getting plenty of eyes up close. I'm getting plenty of indoors.” If they were like foods, “but I'm not getting any of these other movement foods." And so it's the way to make it really clear to you which ways your activities aren't moving you. And then once you've made that list of, like, I'm not getting any grip strength, I'm not getting any jumping, I'm not getting any dynamic spine and I'm not getting any outside, then it's like which activities could balance out my diet, my movement, diet, my activity, diet. And then that becomes how you figure out how to pick new tasks which are mentioned in the first chapter, Stacking Your Life. So hopefully that makes sense and hopefully, this is helpful. This could be done, something that you can do on the individual level. And my next book will have this sort of expanded. But I don't think much beyond this because I think that this is what we're missing to really see that no movement or activity can really be sorted into good and bad. We are a culture that we want, you know, quick tell me if it's good or bad, I'll do it or I won't do it.
KATY: Like we're really outsourcing the processing of this complicated thing. No movements or good or bad. No nutrients are good or bad. No chemical compounds really from food are good or bad. It's about the relationship. We have to understand that our movement diet is just that. It is how our movements interact with each other and provide either too little or too much of something. And then that way you can figure out, "Katy, should I do this activity?" I'm like, "you tell me. What does your movement diet look like? What are you missing? What do you have too much of?" So hopefully this is a tool that will really, really help you and you are free to download it.
DANI: I have to say, this is probably the best party favor/door prize I have ever seen or received in my life. This is awesome. And I'm going to share this with everybody that I can think of and use it myself because it's just the greatest. So good one on ya there. Good job.
DANI: No, Thank you. Thank YOU.
KATY: I think who you really want to thank is my husband. I was like "who would we say made the iPhone like would we say it was Steve Jobs or would we say that it was the actual people who figured how to work it?" It was like, "did I really come up with this activity tracker or did I just be like, make it so?" And so he was up till one o'clock in the morning making it into a usable, two-dimensional thing because I do not think in two-dimensional things. I knew the categories it had to have and I knew the experience someone doing it needed to have. But I don't know how to put that in a...
DANI: Well, I think it's awesome.
KATY: Well, you can send your thanks to Michael.
DANI: My daughter wants to know your take on trampolines. She said you mentioned jumping in the book, but not trampolines. Do you feel they have any benefits for kids? See, that's what I'm saying, I look through all these questions and they were answered by this, right?
KATY: Right. That's why I created this. This is my exit strategy. This is my exit strategy.
DANI: This is Katy's mike drop, everybody. So see ya!
KATY: Ok. All right. So let's walk through the exercise. So you write trampoline out here. And you're like with other kids? If it is, yes. It totally meets my play with other kids. Structure. Not really. Because on trampolines, what you're doing is - it's often free in that like there's a creativity. Like free play to me is that the way that you play isn't defined. The way that you move or experience isn't defined. There's a lot of creativity or flow to it. There are no rules. All right. So I would say it's not structured. I'd say it's unstructured. It's not indoors. I mean, if you have an indoor trampoline, that's pretty rad. But we'll go with outdoors. Eyes - varying distance. Not a fixed arm position unless your calves and quads are beggin'. So I'm going to say you're usually doing some bigger arm movements, that's not like you would be if you're reading a book or doing computer work. There's no grip strength, no accuracy, no arm hanging. There's probably going to be a lot more thighs forward than thighs back. I mean, you could do some big jumps, but I would say, for the most part, it's going to be mostly thigh forward. So here, where it's tricky, is it's not body weight-bearing. So the difference between jumping on a trampoline and jumping on the ground would be that there's a whole section on bone and the need for kids to really have lots of impact and jumping moves. Really for all of us, but especially for kids, because your peak bone mass is set during your juvenile period. You can never really get more bone mass than you have set up in your youth.
KATY: So that's why we really, really want our kids to be doing this. So jumping on a trampoline is different than jumping because you're not really getting that bone squish. You are still using your jumping muscles, but you're not using them in the way that you would if the surface was firmer. Also, the skills on a trampoline don't necessarily make you a better jumper when you're off the trampoline. Meaning you're there's a lot of forgiveness to not needing really great form on a trampoline. Which is fine. It's just good to know, like, oh, I would need to balance it with I still need different jumping and I still need other weight-bearing exercises. Now it's different like there still is some, but it's just less than you imagine. The balance challenge may be a little bit from walking on an unstable surface, but it's still two feet on the ground. So maybe not as much as other things that are more dynamic, but I think definitely still quite a challenge. Stiff/flex spine? Not really think you have a pretty dynamic spine. The negative of the trampolines is that there's a lot of I think it's I don't know if I would want to weigh in by saying it's common or uncommon. But I think if you talked to a lot of allopathic professionals of varied careers, they would note that the trampoline is often the source of a variety of injuries. So that's just something to know. But again, you become better skilled at risk. Heart and lung moves for sure. Mostly seated? No. Fine motor. No. So you just weight it on here. What do I think of it? I don't really think of it. I think of everything in terms of what does it move? And that's it. Like how do I weight it? It's like trying to tell me nothing about your diet to be like, "should I eat onions? "It's like I don't know. I don't, I don't know. But, you know, but you know. And now you can figure it out. Like, "oh, Katy would probably say some of this, but then I would need some of these other things."
I am excited to have Dani on again today to talk about questions that came up for her filling it out. The experience it has been like. So, Dani, thank you so much for coming back in to talk about it with me.
DANI: Hi. Thank you for having me. This is fun.
KATY: For those of you who did not come to the Grow Wild launch party, Dani was the emcee. Thank you very much. And it was a fabulous time...but
DANI: It was fun.
KATY: Yeah, It was great. I'm not going to say "but" I'm gonna say "and" I think the most important part of that entire launch party - it was a virtual launch party - was this thing that we're going to talk about today, the activity tracker. So in Grow Wild, Grow Wild is organized by environment. And one of the environments is activities. And activities was really kind of hard to define. Because activities are really just the things that you do with your time. Sleeping is an activity, you know. So it's like it's not necessarily what you pay for, what you drive to do. You know what fits neatly into, you know, like signing your kids up for after-school activities. It's just what you're doing. That's just what you're doing. I think the activities..
DANI: It's everything that makes up your life,
KATY: It's really everything that makes up your life. It's what you fill into the minutes that make up your life. So it's not to say that you need to fill every minute with activities in the sense of this paid-for planned thing. It's just that every minute of your life is filled with you doing something physically. Whether it's just sitting in place, whether it's reading a book, whether it's taking a walk, whether it's watching TV, it doesn't matter. Like those are all activities, even if you're sleeping. Sleeping is the activity of the hour. In Grow Wild in this Activities chapter, it's probably the closest that I've ever come to creating a document - and the document is not in the book. But there's the section is really explaining how would you look at your movement diet? How would you assess it? And, you know, I wrote it out in long-form in text, but after putting that book to rest, which means sending it off to the printer, I was thinking, man, this chapter would be way more helpful if I just said, you know, because I'm like, you know, create a chart and do it like this. And I was like, I think that people are just going to want me to create the chart for them. Because it's really hard to synthesize, so. Right? You know what I mean? And I get that. So I did. Yeah. Really, my husband took all the data that I wanted on the chart and made it into something beautiful. And I have made this now available to you. So for not just you, Dani, but for anyone listening, this will now live...
DANI: I was going to say lucky me!
KATY: I know! All for you. In fact, this whole podcast is just for you and everyone else can just take notes.
DANI: Oh! So special.
KATY: So this is a document called How Are My Activities Moving Me? And it's going to live on my website, NutritiousMovement.com. We'll link to it on the show now.
DANI: Oh good! OK.
KATY: So everyone can download it whenever. And it will be under an article that I think I'm going to title Activities Move our DNA. Because this is not Grow Wild specific. This is my body of work specific. However, this chart is in the text that anyone can use it. It doesn't matter if you're not a kid, you can swap the word kid for adult in certain sections. But it's really just a way for you to assess, like, what are you doing with your body on a moment-to-moment basis. So we're going to talk about the activity tracker. But you had a lot of fun with this when we were on the show, right? I mean, when we were doing the launch party.
DANI: Yes. Yes. Because you don't think of, like, activities at first. You're like, well, what do I do? I walk the dog, I go to work, I go to school, whatever. But like you said, it's whatever fills the minute that you're in right then and there. Whether it's staring off into space or folding laundry, that's your activity. So I keep adding activities. So I now have a couple of charts because this only has like what, ten spaces for activity. So I have two charts because I do a lot of things. And I do have some questions about it. But it's kind of eye-opening to see that there are some gaps. I got some gaps in my movement diet.
KATY: Well, we all have gaps...
DANI: But I like finding them. So it's like, oh, well, that's interesting!
But let me just explain for those of you listening what the chart looks like. So the chart is organized, you know, sort of like an x/y-axis, but down to the column is where you fill in the activity. And so I'm just going to read off. I'll read off a handful of what was on my kids' activity list. So there's schoolwork, there's reading, family walk, p.e. soup night, paddling, group hike, whittling, soccer, martial arts, knitting, tag or other, you know, field games, scooter, ariels. So I'm just trying to fill in what they're doing. What are they doing for a large portion of the time? And what are some that are on yours just so people listening could imagine what they might also put on there?
DANI: Oh, OK. OK, I have dog walking. I have school because I'm in school and so school/homework. So it's kind of all the same thing. Gym time playing down in my gym, work, gardening. I have sex. It's an activity. Housework, driving or commuting, cooking, hiking. Vegetating like watching a movie or a Netflix thing, I don't have my second sheet with me, it's upstairs, but...there's a lot.
KATY: That's ok, Well, I think that just helps. Yeah, it introduces people to the idea of, like, what could go on this chart. So, like, these are the activities. There's also a very tiny place because across the other axis would be sort of these major categories of how you are being moved for each. And I'm not going to read all of them, but I'm just going to give you maybe like a two-thirds. So like, is it done with others, other kids, or other adults? Meaning, I think that a big part of Grow Wild is: kids need movement. We all need movement with other people. You know, humans need other people. So like how many of the activities that we do, are they done alone or are they done in a group? And then there's this also important thing to differentiate between structured and unstructured. Because we sort of transition to everything being really hyper structured, especially for kids. And there's for when people talk about the value of play, what they call play, grown-ups might not necessarily think that they need play. But it is really the value of what emerges during unstructured time. Like the fact that everything is structured and organized by time capsule or rules or behavior. Like it's very ... I’d say limiting you know ... it's another cast. It's another box Indoors. Outdoors. Are your eyes being used up close? Are your eyes being used far away? Is your arm in the same position? You know, pretty much throughout a particular activity. Is it challenging your grip strength? Are there elements of accuracy? What's your leg position? Is it carrying your body weight? Balance? Is your spine mobile? Is your spine fixed? You know, it's like this way of you tuning into what mechanical nutrients or other movement nutrients are occurring in my movement diet. Like this is supposed to be sort of like a movement diet overall. You're looking at it. There is nothing there's no movement nutritionists at this point. But it wouldn't be that different than if you took your diet log to a dietitian. And they were like, "oh, well, I can see by looking through what you are eating that you're missing these critical nutrients. So we're going to add them back in." So it's just very similar to that.
DANI: Well what I like about it is it's not like, oh, this is a good thing, you know, and this is a bad thing. It's just like data collection. It's a super easy way to collect the data on your movement. And that's it.
DANI: It's good. It's not like, oh, that's the sugar and that's the vitamin C, you know, it's just it is what it is.
Because I think that when we think junk food, it's just this idea of, while it might represent a lot of calories, it's not nutrient-dense, meaning there's no other besides calorie nutrients to be found in it. But junk is sort of subjective. Right? So I'm trying to remove a lot of those kinds of words because even kale, like I said in Move Your DNA, even kale is not a diet maker. The idea of foods being good or bad is sort of challenging. It's an easy entry point. But when you're trying to drill down the actual concept, it starts to fall apart. So this is where I'm hoping to take this next level. Because people are always asking me, you know, as they did at the launch party, we had open Q&A for everyone who was there, "my daughter wants to know if the trampoline is good". And I was like, there is no real good or bad movement. But let's put trampoline on the activity tracker.
KATY: Because the whole point is we're trying to avoid getting into the trap of finding the one movement that nourishes everything so we can continue moving very little. You know what I mean? So we had her plot out trampoline and it was like, OK, well, it's unstructured, it's outside. It gives an eye break from a screen. Right. So your eyes can be varied. And there is a lot of legwork and jumping, but it wouldn't necessarily fall into body weight-bearing. Because it's not like actually jumping off a hard surface. So as I explain in Move Your DNA, there are reasons these categories are on here because these are all things that kids need in order to set that body formation. And then it's what we need as adults to continue to maintain it. So anyway, OK, so that's just sort of setting up with this activity tracker is. What are your questions?
DANI: Well, and this is tricky. Like if you can't see this. If you're just listening to this podcast, but just some of the positions that your body would be in, I just didn't understand. So I have these giant gaps because I couldn't fill it in. Thighs forward / thighs back. Give me an example of thighs forward / thighs back.
KATY: Right. Well, OK, so sitting to do school, like for when my kids are in school, they're thighbones are forward. Their thigh bones are never back or moving back behind them. And even cycling, cycling really never gets to your thighs behind that neutral position. So like I have a friend who's experiencing some back pain issues. And I was talking to him about the idea that while he was extremely active and he doesn't really sit, you know, and stand a lot and was doing a lot of cycling, that he was still likely missing hip extension because cycling is sort of go to and it's like, you know, when you sit a lot that's thighs forward. So it's really this - like thighs back is a column that would be checked for activities that gets your leg bone to move behind you. So most people listening to this probably came because of some pelvic health, low back health issue. And so critical to what I can offer to help many of these folks is to point out the weakness that is on the back side of the body because the leg bone never gets to move in the range of motion that is behind your body. That thigh is supposed to be going behind you multiple thousands of times a day, not multiple thousands will probably multiple thousands, but ... But so many times per day. And when you look at your activity chart, even if someone was quite active, you know, they were paddling, they were cycling, their activities could be void of the nutrient "Get your leg back behind you and engage your glute muscles." And because I would say low back pain and pelvic issues have become really chronic, that it was really important for me to have something on there just to help you see that your leg bones are never moving behind your body ever in any of your activities from morning till night. They never get behind there unless you're taking a walk. Like taking a walk might be for most people, the only time that leg moves back behind their body. So if walking is on there, then you would check thighs back.
DANI: Got it.
KATY: It's not that you have to stand with both eyes behind you, right? It's just that nutrient of hip extension - I was trying to keep trying to keep it easy. Like for people who are more trained in the technicality, it'd be hip extension.
DANI: That makes sense now that I see it.
KATY: So I would have put maybe hip extension activities for hip extension, but I was writing this for parents reading Grow Wild for which anatomical language is not a requirement. So for those of you listening, what I'm saying there with thighs forward and thighs back is, how much time do your kids sit in sort of a flexed hip position even when they're doing their activity. So if they're canoeing or kayaking and cycling, those would still be more hip flexion. Swimming would be a great thighs back. Right? Walking is a great thighs back. Field games where you're running and sprinting that gets that thigh bone back behind you. But for many other activities, the thigh bones and femurs are in front of the body.
DANI: Got it. OK. That was it.
KATY: That's one question. That's all you got?
DANI: Well one was arm hanging and at first the reason I had a question is because I know it's hanging but my brain was thinking, are your arms hanging. And I was like, "well, only when I carry my groceries."
KATY: Oh yeah.
DANI: It's hanging by your arms, got it. Ok.
KATY: Maybe hanging from arms. Yeah. So hanging from arms. That's a good edit.
DANI: This could be not even parents filling this out but an older kid could easily use this too.
KATY: Well exactly.
DANI: Which I think would be pretty effective if I were an older kid and looked at this and maybe did a family, not competition but like "hey let's all fill this out and see how we do". And be in charge of filling that out. An older kid could easily do this with the language you've got there.
KATY: And in Grow Wild, the activity that is suggested is to sit down with your kid, or don't sit down, but to bring this out and be like, "ok". I did this with my kids and I was like, "What are your three favorite daily activities?" I don't necessarily ask them to list all their activities that they do in a day because they don't think that way. And then I can ask, "Well, what do you do in P.E." "These are field games." "Alright so show me how you use your body when you're playing that game." Because as I said in the book what you're doing by doing that is your children are learning body awareness, right? They're learning to tune in to seeing themselves and how they move. Which is something that when people come to me when they're 40, they've never considered before.
KATY: Like the idea of watching themselves as they move is such a foreign concept. To be like, "Well what's your like doing when you walk?" I mean, my brother, who is in his 60s, just said - he had knee surgery on one side - he said: "I just noticed that when I was running that my knee, as I push off and take my next step it actually goes out and then it goes back in again." Right? So this is valuable information about yourself. And we are just now, I think, really starting to tune in to minding your words. Watching the language choices that you make. Observing yourself. And we're at the spoken level, but I think it's also important to see what movements are you using as you move because these are controllable by you. They're adjustable by you. That's such a large portion of our approach to feeling better in your body is first see how you're actually moving so that you can make different choices then maybe the choices that landed you with the same physical outcomes. So this is just another way of, either doing it yourself or helping a child through this process. Rather than just saying "you should pay attention to how you move." It's just a different way of inviting them into awareness.
DANI: Mm-hmm. I think it would be super fun and I might just do this: is check in on this and make a new chart again in six months or a year. And then kind lay it over the one that I've done and say "ok." When I see these gaps, of course, I'm being me, I want to figure out "oh well what could I fold in or how can I change these other things to fill those." Because I really don't have any more time. I gotta be stackin'. I gotta get my stackin' in.
KATY: Right. And I think this is to get with stacking. Stacking was probably explained most clearly, for everyone, in Grow Wild, that it's really about choosing tasks, right? So tasks could be another word for that could be activity. Like you're choosing what to do with your time to move you in a particular way. So at the bottom of this chart, after you've filled all the x's in or the check marks or the hearts or however you like to fill your boxes, it asks you to look at it now and say "my activities are moving me most in these ways." So if you looked at your chart you could see, "ok, I am getting lots of thighs forward activity" right? This is where it keeps you from saying, "sitting so much is bad." No, "I am just getting enough or maybe too much of the thighs forward nutrients and I need some thighs back nutrients." And then the next one is: What are some activities that could balance your movement diet? So instead of you asking me, instead of you going, "Here's what I do, what should I be doing?" It's like now that you have this chart, what could you come up with. Because you know the activities that are available to you. And again they can be really simple. I have one really climbing kid and one really jumping kid. And I do think that these habits are their natural strengths based on their anthropometric dimensions. Meaning we don't all have an identical movement diet. But at the same time, these nutrients here are pretty across, I would say, most humans could dabble in them all. I don't think of any of them as a complete outlier for what you should get. Bones need to have some landing or impact forces...
KATY: So when I noticed that when we did this chart with my one kid, there wasn't a lot of upper body. Upper body tends to be hanging from the arms, and the grip strength tended to be lower. It was like when you have a few minutes, go hang...we have a big, it's like a rope - essentially functions as a rope hanging from one of the beams of our house because we have a big log beam. And so now that's just what they play. That's just the extra game. There's no activity to drive them. We're not looking for a climbing school, or mountain climbing classes, or rock climbing classes, it's like, "Oh I'm gonna move this closer to your room so you see that more often and you get that fill." And then you're just sort of going, "oh yeah, that's right. I'm not moving my arms very much." And then you fill that in. And then you can also, "none of my activities are moving me in this way," So it helps you evaluate. It helps you do what I would do for you if you were talking to me. It helps you do that yourself. So, that's why I'm really excited about this chart because I think that once people do it they'll be able to answer so many of their own questions.
DANI: Right. And it's good. Knowledge is power.
KATY: That is true.
DANI: And it means a lot more when you figure something out on your own as opposed to someone telling you. You're more apt to - well I'm speaking as a mother of teenagers - but it seems like they believe stuff more when they've figured it out on their own than if I tell them.
KATY: Exactly. That's what I hear. I don't have teenagers though yet. Whoo.
DANI: Yeah. It's a good chart. I'm excited. I was actually gonna pass it around to the people I work with because they're becoming more and more aware of the gaps in their diet and how that's led them to have conditions that they are not comfortable with. Pain. Or movement disorder type stuff. So now they're really interested. I was thinking I would like to pass this around to them and say, "Hey let's have a little office-wide little thing here and see where we're at with this."
KATY: Put up a slackline and a trapeze.
DANI: It's a good chart. I think a lot of people are going to use it for a long time.
KATY: I'm hoping. So it is there for everyone to use. So yeah, use it and let me know what you think.
DANI: Yeah, do you want people to, that's what I was going to ask you, to get some feedback on this from how people have used it or things that they're not getting or want to get more from it? Just because you kind of came up with it just like... pow...
KATY: Well right. Like I said, this is the first version of it. And I was thinking Grow Wild as I created it. I do not think there's anything about it that does not apply to adults filling this out themselves. So yeah, I imagine that I could keep creating a more and more nuanced version. But I think this is a good place to start. There's the idea of mechanical nutrients or movement nutrients. But it's really challenging to figure out how much is enough. Right? Because we are just emerging with our understanding of movement in this way. So what is not represented on this chart would be how much of each one of these would be ideal in a diet? So in a food diet, things like recommended daily allowances, the actual percentage, or the relationship of dietary nutrients to each other is really much more robust. We know how many milligrams of various nutrients you need to keep from getting particular issues. It's not as clear with movement. All we have is sort of total daily movements. There's different research on things like bones and they've been able to figure out you just need this much bone strain, bone load, to reverse or rebuild bone after you've lost it. So it's slowly coming. But on the very left-hand chart, it's like the tiniest box that's hours per week. Because what I don't want people to do is just look at the x's or the way they filled it out and be like, "great, I've got a little bit of everything" when in reality the sitting portion of your day is 9 hours. And the arm hanging is like 1 minute. You know what I mean?
KATY: So you have to be careful with this, at first. There is a tiny box for hours per week. So that you could sort of look at the relationship of movements to each other. But I would say that that's not ultimately what this is for. We're just gonna start with helping you figure out which parts of your body is being moved by your activities and which aren't. And then look for a chart in 2023 and maybe I would have been able to figure it out by then. But we’re not there yet.
DANI: (laughs) Right. Awesome. Boy, you know what? I haven't filled out all my hours. I've got to do that too.
KATY: It's a very tiny column. It's small because it's secondary.
DANI: Exactly because that all varies depending on the week you're having.
DANI: Really. I mean I may hike more and do less schoolwork one week. So I can see why it's secondary. Maybe that's why I haven't focused in on filling it out. Because it's always different.
KATY: Yeah. It's just always different. But I don’t think it will keep you from finding this chart to be valuable.
DANI: So, I do have one question though. I do have one question. Did you do this for yourself?
DANI: Right. Was there anything that you came across that you thought, "Oh, look at that"?
KATY: Do you want to know what my gap is? And my gap is gonna make other people mad. My gap is actually a lack of thighs forward time.
DANI: Not enough hip flexion.
KATY: Yeah. That and I think that I'm really sort of an outlier in that because look, I've modified my house. I got rid of so much sitting that really I've noticed my legs have become extremely strong over the last 10 years from all of this standing and walking. But I've noticed that my hips when I get into different floor sitting positions because of the lack of time that I spend there, that's actually more challenging for me. So I have to really budget sitting down on the ground much more often. I just notice. And it's come so natural for me. If the family is watching a movie, I will come in and really almost stand to watch it because I'm much stronger there than any other position. And then if I get on the ground, then I will do rolls and spinal twists. I'll go through the lying moves, but the actual sitting up in hip flexion moves is challenging for me now. And it wasn't before I started doing so much standing. So I think that I'm getting too much of the standing loads and not enough of the ground sitting ones. So that's become my focus. Isn't that weird?
DANI: Well, thank you for saying that. I don't think that... Well, it's different but I don't think it's going to make anybody mad or anything. I think it's just really real. It just shows you how much a movement diet can vary. Like yours, even over your lifetime, it's just over the last couple of years this has happened. So I think that's very interesting. It's definitely different.
KATY: Throwing accuracy is another place. Now that it's summertime and things are a little bit different and a lot of this stuff has fallen off in the last year. But, you know, going out... I used to get accuracy. We used to go do target practice like throwing rocks at stuff. So what I try to do now to do accuracy is we take a family walk pretty much every day. And there's a huge pile of rocks in a forest of trees by where we walk. So we take 10 minutes and just play can you hit the trees with these rocks games as a family. So that's been my way of balancing is coming up with something like that. And then frisbee. I'll start doing more frisbee and stuff and that will get me more throwing things. But some of them are seasonal. Definitely, for me some of them are seasonable.
DANI: That's true. Cool. Well, I'm gonna keep working on my chart.
DANI: I'm in occupational therapy.
KATY: Ah. Ok.
DANI: So occupation is just like activities. People think it's about getting a job. Like what's your occupation? But it's really what occupies your time. And so I will be able to help people do the things they want to do in the best way that they can do them. It's just helping people live an independent life. It's been good. Still in Colorado. Going to school. Trying to get my movement nutrients in.
KATY: Here's a question. What is the primary difference between physical therapy and occupational therapy?
DANI: Oh. A lot. Physical therapy is really just dealing with the kinesiology and the biomechanics of it. So I hurt my back. Well, how did you hurt your back? Let's look at the muscles. What's lacking and what's pulled. And now we're going to give you some exercises to get it into shape. Occupational therapy - I hurt my back. Really? Well, let's look at how you were lifting that thing that you hurt your back. What are you doing for... it's really up Nutritious Movement's alley because it's what are you doing that got you to this place? Ok, so how can we get you doing the thing that you want to do without hurting yourself or damaging yourself. Or if you've been damaged and you still want to do something - you have an injury or whatever - well I still want to sew but my hand doesn't work. So how can we help you sew with the hand that you've got? It's really cool. It's all about independence and science and occupational therapists look at somebody holistically instead of just their muscles or just the kinesiology.
KATY: That's exciting.
KATY: I read a very good paper, I'll say it's an interesting paper, on the history of occupational therapy. And I'll see if I can find it. I know I read it within the last 12 months. And what was really interesting that I think for people listening because I know that we have plenty of OTs who listen and also PTs, that originally occupational therapy, I mean occupational therapy in the non-formalized sense has been offered for a very long time. But the modality of it used to be sewing, sort of like fine motor work that had a purpose...
KATY: ...but as therapies went to becoming, to falling under the umbrella of the scientific community, there was a stigma against using functional tasks as therapy because they weren't sciencey enough. So no more giving people embroidery or picture to create or things to do that was functional or really pleasing to them. But instead, it had to come out and be done in a way that could be evaluated, you know, in order to evaluate the effectiveness of it. So it sort of - it's interesting to me who spends so much time promoting movement for non-exercise,non-therapeutic, pursuits and to say when you've reduced it to it can only happen in a non-practical therapy setting with a therapist, what happens is yes, that is an excellent way to evaluate the treatment of it. But what happens is the frequency with which you can get that, especially if someone else is going to pay for it and is behaving in these other systems gets smaller and smaller and smaller and smaller. So now people are left with no practical movements and only therapy appointments so to see that it is going back in the other direction because while it was necessary for the scientific process to be one way, it doesn't necessarily mean that it was in the best interest of the mover trying to restore the movement overall.
KATY: You know what I mean? Oh, so this is what we do...
DANI: It's cool.
KATY: ... to figure out how it works. But in order to get the volume that's effective it has to be outside of a laboratory or else we're all going to be eventually living in a laboratory or just at home and not moving.
DANI: Right. And it's cool because occupational science is all about the person. The mover. It's driven by the mover. And it's client-driven. And that's what's cool.
DANI: It's really fun. I'll be graduating in December.
KATY: Oh my gosh. Are you gonna wear a cap and gown?
DANI: I don't think so. I don't know. I don't know. We'll see. Maybe I will. I'll be the only one. Won't it be cool?
KATY: I think you should just make your own cap and gown. Wear your mermaid hair and ...
DANI: I'm gonna have her make one out of old sweaters.
KATY; That's right. Could you felt me a cap and gown, please? Well, it was good to talk with you. I'll find that paper and put it in the show notes too for anyone who wants to read it. And it was lovely to hear your voice and get to see your face.
DANI: Thanks for the chart. Really. It's good. I think it's helpful. And for anybody that's only listening to this and not watching, we both look as amazing as we feel.
KATY: Always. Always. Just picture in your mind. It's exactly like that only with hair ties for me.
DANI: (Laughs.) All right. See you later.
Ok, so that's a wrap on the activities tracker. And I wanted to send out a big thank you to Dani for coming on to discuss it and to everyone out there, thank you for listening, and thank you for moving while you're listening. And for being part of the movement movement. And for subscribing to newsletters and podcasts. Since I am not regularly recording podcasts right now, subscribing is a good way to make sure you hear every episode we release. And you can subscribe on any podcast provider. And remember that you can find the activity tracker to download on my website in the show notes or on the blog under Activities: Move Your DNA. I'm looking forward to a lot of time spent outside this season and planning on sharing with you all some tips and exercises to maximize all the outdoor activities. So you can sign up for my newsletter on my website as well to receive all the good stuff. If you want to move with me this summer, you can do so right in your own home via our virtual studio membership which is discounted to $14 a month through September 2021. No code is needed. You can just hop over to the shop at NutritiousMovement.com and look for virtual studio classes. Live Events: I am also headed to Pendelton, Oregon for an appearance/book event on August 11, 4-8 pm, there will be a Grow Wild book walk. And I'm gonna do a Q&A afterward all outside in a park, for free. Everyone is welcome. And this is brought to you by the Pendleton Public Library. Thank you so much for having me. You can find more about that gig under the Events tab on the website. It's also gonna be linked in the show notes, of course. And I was gonna send a bit of a thank you to Annette Yen for always preparing our show notes so beautifully. Again, don't forget to check out the activity tracker. It's going to change how you see movement. All right. Outside is calling me and I have to go! See you later peeps.
This has been Move Your DNA with Katy Bowman, a podcast about movement. Hopefully, you find the general information in this podcast informative and helpful but it is not intended to replace medical advice and should not be used as such.