For the next few months, many of us will be gathering with friends and family, sitting cozied up around a fireplace or a TV. And while there is nothing wrong with getting cozy, we already spend a whole lotta time sitting around pretty much the rest of the entire year. So, in this episode, Katy shares tips from an article she wrote all about the ways we can create dynamic celebrations. Put on your headphones and walk with Katy while she shares eleven ways you can layer movement back into your holidays.
(time codes are approximate)
00:07:40 - Forage for Decor (Jump to section)
00:11:00 - Walking to get Groceries (Jump to section)
00:13:00 - Plan a hiking advent (Jump to section)
00:16:15 - Make Your Own Candles(Jump to section)
00:17:50 - Host a Gingerbread or Hot Toddy Hike (Jump to section)
00:25:00 - Old-School Food Prep (Jump to section)
00:29:25 - Standing Food Course or Dessert (Jump to section)
00:30:15 - Organize a Winter Game Night (Jump to Section)
00:32:00 - Stretching while you Wrap (Jump to section)
00:33:30 - Celebrate around an Outdoor Fire (Jump to section)
00:37:15 - Volunteer Dynamically (Jump to section)
00:44:00 - In Summary (Jump to section)
LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THE SHOW
This is the Move Your DNA podcast, a show where movement science meets your everyday life. I’m Katy Bowman - biomechanist, author, and the person in charge of celebrations in my family. All bodies are welcome here. Let’s get moving.
Hey, friends. We are approaching the winter holiday season here in North America, which means it is time to start planning some celebrations. For the next few months, many of us will be gathering with friends and family, sitting cozied up around a fireplace or maybe a television. And while there is nothing wrong with getting cozy - we already spend a whole lotta time sitting around inside pretty much the rest of the entire year.
So, the problem in a nutshell: we’re about to step into a holiday season that typically has us NOT moving while many of us were already experiencing a movement deficit. And it's certainly been compounded by the last few years and the pandemic. We've never been inside sitting around more.
So here's another statistic for you - 80% of American adults and youth fail to meet the recommended amount of daily movement needed to stave off chronic disease and then again with the pandemic, adolescents spend over seven hours a day looking at a screen. So I just want to say: Ho ho hold on a second!
And yeah, I know. One of the reasons we allow ourselves to not move much during the holidays is we are going to “get moving in the new year.” Researchers have actually studied this idea or notion that we have and what they have found is that the physical effects of sedentary holidays are lingering indefinitely. So we do get back to movement during the New Year - many of us - but it never really makes up for that time we got extra sedentary. And multiple studies have shown that the yearly average weight gain that even comes with us getting a year older is probably more like the effects of us having one more sedentary holiday season under our belts.
So said another way, getting back on the fitness wagon in the new year can get us back to our movement baseline - our pre-holiday movement baseline, but it's not really dealing with the deficit of “movement units” (we can call it minutes) that we didn’t consume. So, in order to balance any holiday impact after the fact, we need to do the amount of movement we were doing before and more. Which is just not something we do. So, public health officials are very interested in anything that can help motivate people to move more and not continue the increasing trend of moving less. Especially during the holidays.
All of that being said, my take on things is that we’re not being well nourished from our holiday period because the celebrations themselves have become less rich - less nutrient dense. They are less full of the things that we need, like movement, time outside, more time with others, more connection to our personal ancestry and traditions. So, again, for me, the recipe for a dynamic celebration is a simple solution that I've been using as a way to stack the holiday time. So here's what you're going to do: You're gonna take any typically sedentary aspect of your holiday - your celebration - and you are going to create a version that moves your body or entire body (or parts of the body) more. Simple, right? No. Ok… let’s start here.
Scooting your butts outside automatically adds more movement. It's like more steps, more thermal regulation, and more complexity underfoot. More carrying of the stuff to the outside. It's just using your body more. And then, of course, it is also adding a dose of outdoor time, nature time, green time. Whatever you want to call it. And then you can also add a splash of what I call "vitamin community" (another life nutrient) by engaging your people in holiday prep and holiday fun. You’re meeting multiple needs at once, just by taking all or even just a part of your celebration outside. Get it?
You can find numerous articles on my website about adding movement to your celebrations. I mean how to throw a dynamic holiday meal (so one tip, you can start planning your on-the-move soup course or dessert hike now!) to orchestrating a hiking event for the upcoming winter school break, to giving gifts that move both the giver and receiver, just to dealing with really cold weather. Just simply going outside more.
I also wrote an article about dynamic celebrations last December for our national public radio column which is called NPR Shots. The article was called Move More, Sit Less and Celebrate Outside This Holiday Season and I will link to that article in the show notes. Go read it because it’s fantastic if I do say so myself, Which I just did.
In that article, I shared eleven ways that you could layer movement back into your holidays, and today I’m going to share those tips with you in audio format, just in case you missed the article or maybe you just want to be moving around outside and listening to ideas about moving more these holidays.
So the tips from that article are these:
- You can forage for décor
- You can walk to get groceries or the foodstuffs for your celebration
- Plan a hiking advent
- Make your own candles or other decorations like that
- Host a gingerbread hike - or hot toddy walk for the grownups
- Do some "old school" food prep
- Set up a standing soup course or a dessert walk for a holiday meal
- Organize a winter physical games night
- Stretch while you wrap
- Celebrate around an outdoor fire
- Volunteer dynamically
Are you intrigued? Great. Let’s take a deeper look at each of these but here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to share a little about each of these while out and about on foot because I like to practice what I publish. I’m showing you - or I guess I’m letting you listen to - what a stack, as in a “stack your life,” looks like or sounds like. And in this case, I’m going to stack outside time and movement with podcast recording. So to do this I’m going to take a task I needed to do (which is record a podcast which I normally do in my shed) and I’m going to switch to a hand-held microphone so I can record this for you while I’m outside and on the move. Because I also need those things. So why not do the podcast outside and on the move all at the same time - increasing the nutrient density of this next little bit of time? Are you ready? Let’s go.
KATY: Alright, so now I am out on foot. I decided to do a further stack by inviting my husband along. Hello.
KATY: And our dog. So now we're getting more things done. Although I don't know. Is this quality time? I don't know. So, most of the dynamic celebrations that we have done, this list that I generated of dynamic celebrations comes from my own experiences of, I would say, slowly - we've slowly created a community of people who all celebrate dynamically now. And not only do we celebrate holidays more dynamically, I feel like we just celebrate more often - like everything's a celebration. Way more celebrations. So I'm gonna go through this list and we can share maybe our favorite memories just to show a couple of examples. And number one was: Forage or decor hike. So that's like - I mean I feel like I used this a lot when the kids were little when we wanted to throw a party. Any centerpiece or we always have some sort of element of a celebration that is usually a plant that we would go out and harvest or forage. And my favorite memory of this is for our solstice party, finding holly bushes. Over the years from our neighbors and telling them "oh please come harvest it" and then they were sort of a part of the celebration because they would see our kids cutting off holly to fill this big box and then you throw it into the fire. That's the one I was thinking of. For you, what's your favorite forage or decor hike moment?
MICHAEL: Can't think past the holly.
KATY: The holly was really great.
MICHAEL: The holly was great. Especially since the neighbors who had the holly were dying to get rid of it. Please!
KATY: I know!
MICHAEL: Take all of it.
KATY: Another one that just popped into my head is not even holiday specific, when I was pregnant, you used to always go out and forage oranges.
MICHAEL: For orange juice.
KATY: Yeah you always made me a glass of orange juice every morning. That's a celebration of sorts. It's a little bit different of what we're talking about but it was definitely something. And then leaves. I feel like centerpieces made out of leaves and shells on a beach. Flower bouquets. It's all season. It's not only the winter holiday thing.
MICHAEL: Yeah. There's always been decorations of rocks and leaves and shells and bones.
KATY: Yeah. Alright, maybe we don't want to belabor that one. Just simply going out and stretching some of the planning. All the decorations don't have to be store-bought, right? Even growing squash to decorate our winter party, and corn, that's when you really stretch the decor over months. Alright.
KATY: Or walking to get the foodstuffs for your celebration. Favorite memory?
MICHAEL: I'm afraid it's not the foodstuff but the memory of bringing home the Christmas tree. We had the rule when the children were very little that any tree that we got has to be carried by them.
KATY: That's right.
MICHAEL: And for the one-mile walk home. And so it was a combination of wanting to get the biggest Christmas tree, along with their own structural limitations of being tiny people carrying a big Christmas tree.
KATY: Yeah, I forgot about that. But I even think the last couple of years we happened to live in a place that had really tall space and they got a 15-foot Christmas tree.
MICHAEL: Yeah that got out of hand.
KATY: But they could carry it. They were like, "This meets the requirement".
MICHAEL: That's right.
KATY: I think my favorite one is still going up to that bog in the woods that our old neighbor told us about to find wild cranberries.
KATY: And then those cranberries were like gold for the rest of the holiday season and then there were a few that went into every little dish or meal for the next few holidays. That was just - it's just spectacular. And we're getting ready to do that again tomorrow actually.
MICHAEL: And they're, unlike storebought cranberries, they're sweet.
KATY: Yeah. Again, nutrient-dense.
MICHAEL: Yeah they're small.
KATY: And they're small but just much - that's the difference between wild food and their more cultivated counterparts. They're just never for more nutrients. It's just for more size or uniformity so that you get more water. Blah blah... this doesn't have to be a plant lesson. Ok.
MICHAEL: That was about the coldest my feet ever were getting those cranberries.
KATY: I know. We didn't know what we were in for. Ok
KATY: For me that's always going to be our winter break (whistles) our winter break - our school break hiking advent which we have done - I was looking back - it's like seven years now.
KATY: Seven years for that week that everyone's out of school before - where parents are still having to work. It's not really a holiday time yet. We just created this hike every single day. And a lot of time it was just taking kids without parents. But it was - it's magical. It makes every day a hike. It just turns it into some sort of magical week where normally it would have been very boring and sort of restless - you're restless.
MICHAEL: Yeah. I always feel like everybody has high appetite. There's starving for getting together with people on a stroll where they don't have to think about planning stuff. They just show up, go on a big stroll. Their kids get to hang out with their friends.
KATY: And we get to hang out with our friends.
MICHAEL: We get to hang out with our friends. There's just something in the recipe on that particular week that just makes everybody really stoked to be there.
KATY: (look at the geese coming over) And the thing that I like to just clarify with that is it doesn't have to be during the day. Like that week I've shared examples on my website of we will put walks that are in the daytime but also walks that are in the nighttime. Walks that are longer - that take multiple hours. Walks that are really short. We're just gonna meet at the bridge and see lights. So something really simple. So it can be much more simple than whatever the most difficult thing is you're imagining. It can really be anything. Look at these, they're just beautiful.
MICHAEL: What are they? They're the white geese.
KATY: I know.
MICHAEL: Are they swans? They are swans.
KATY: Wow that's stunning. Anyway.
MICHAEL: On those walks, too, we seem to always have one walk that brings a lot of our friends whose kids are grown or who don't have kids or from traveling out of town like, there's always them. There's always a bit of variety of who shows up at the different holiday walks.
KATY: And elders.
KATY: I definitely think people are like "can I bring my parents?" Absolutely. My parents love to walk and they don't get as much community celebration, right? It's like parents are - family is already in town but there's not much to do outside of waiting for the main celebration. So I just find that it ends up adding five more days of celebration.
KATY: This is what I mean about deepening the celebration. It's not limited to a day anymore or even two days. I want my celebrations to drag on and on and on. All right.
KATY: And really, this category is more for the idea of just taking something that is central to your celebration and making it yourself. I picked candles because so many traditions, especially around wintertime, involve candles. So it was one that just sort of - it doesn't matter what you celebrate. A candle seems to fit. So making candles. There's many tutorials for that. You can also make candles ahead of time as gifts. You can have a candle-making party. So if you do all the work - the reason we don't do so many DIY projects, I think, is because of - we would say the time and the effort. But really that's movement, right? You gotta get supplies and figure out how to use them and set it up. So it just - make it go farther. Make it also count as a party - an invitation, of a dinner, or an afternoon, and set it up and get your elders and get the kiddos there and let that experience be shared.
MICHAEL: Well it's contagious too when you go through the effort to do candle making or whatever, and then somebody else has an idea of either something they've always wanted to do or something they used to do or that their grandma used to do. And then they host a night. It's totally contagious when you start putting on those group kinds of projects - celebration projects - that way. Everybody wants to throw down and host one.
KATY: All right.
KATY: This is actually an element of our hiking advent. But for this NPR article they wanted to pull it out because we can see a lot of people being like, "yes, I want to do this." So, do you want to explain the gingerbread hike? Or the hot toddy?
MICHAEL: Well, it involves somebody going up ahead to our destination and having all of the ingredients, decorations stuffs for some pre-made gingerbread candies or cookies. And getting it all spread out so by the time everyone comes in after the one or two or three-mile hike or however long it was, it was just a big magical spread of things and a big bonfire and usually some kind of a delicious holiday drink.
KATY: And meal. I would think we would have a soup or some food to roast. So they hike ... from the kids' perspective it looks like this. You do this hike someplace green - we're not in the wilderness, we're trailside along the freeway a lot of it, very safe. Doesn't have to be this magical thing. It's magical because there's gingerbread at the end. So they hike in, usually like an hour and a half to two hours. Obviously when the kids were younger this huge group of kids and adults and again elders because people come out of the woodwork when you start creating some of these celebrations. And they get out and they go on this hike and they're just starting to get tired and we end up at the destination which is a campground that has a fire pit where a fire is roaring because as you said from the behind the scenes some adult has sacrificed their hike. And often, this is another way for people who are not able to do the hike but still want to participate they can often drive to the site and still participate in being there for all the magic and wonder. And there's a fire. And there's delicious lunch. And then after you eat that, there are picnic tables that are covered in gingerbread cookie decorating stuff and then the gingerbread cookies are already there, already baked, you're not making the cookies. And then the kids would just decorate two big gingerbread people. And then they would eat them, as kids always want to do. But they would eat them as they hiked two more miles out.
KATY: And it would take - this was always something that was so great when you start getting closer to the holiday time - so it's this idea of having your holiday cookies but why not work a little harder for them? Why not deepen the experience of a gingerbread cookie to have all this other magic? I put a picture of that in Grow Wild because it's super magical and it's always been magical. And then the hot toddy hike was sort of our grown-up version. So during our week of hikes, we always had the gingerbread hike and then the other one is evening. It's a dinner meet-up. You don't need anyone in your house. These meetups are also very simple. You're not having to clean your house. Which is always a bonus for me! As rich as they sound, the setup is really quite minimal. There's no pre and post-tidying up. You're outside the whole day. And we would just make two batches of some sort of hot toddy and then some sort of non-spirited drink for the kids. And you just tell everyone, "show up, bundle up, bring your hot mug, we'll fill your mug with hot cider and hot toddies, or we always made plum brandy or whatever. And then we walk. We have "we're gonna go walk and see some lights" or we're gonna go Christmas caroling. Whatever it is. The idea is - the magic is in the nighttime gathering. And then we almost always have a fire to warm yourself up before or after. Or we make it available to say - I feel like needing to feed your kids, needing to feed yourselves is always like such a hurdle. "I can't do the thing because I have to feed myself." And a fire is so great. Just bring something to roast really quickly so if you want something hot. It can be meat. If you don't eat meat it can just be bell peppers with cheese. Roast some vegetables. It doesn't matter. Just put it on a stick, heat it up, put it in your belly, and then nourish yourself with this other stuff. And then anything else? Do you have a favorite memory of the hot toddy?
MICHAEL: No the thing I was going to mention was just the mileage might sound like kind of daunting but kids move all the time all day long. And so it's like once they have their friends and their drinks and the magical excitement or whatever, mileage - people are always - our friends are always surprised how far their littles end up going. For miles.
KATY: "I didn't know my kids walked 3 miles"
KATY: That's because it's a party it's not a walk. Which is boring.
MICHAEL: That's right.
KATY: It's an on-foot party.
MICHAEL: It's never a factor. There's never a kid who is just unable to do the mileage unless it gets late and they get tired and sleepy because it's past their bedtime.
KATY: But then you're carrying it which is just more shared movement for everybody. We've definitely shared carrying babies. And if you see someone who is carrying a baby and they're also carrying a backpack, it's like, "hey can I grab that backpack for you?" You know what I mean? Just spread the movement around.
MICHAEL: Or that baby.
KATY: Or that baby! I know. Gimme that baby! And you know what, things also - this is all beautiful, I mean it sounds beautiful. And it is beautiful. It is beautiful to look at. It's beautiful to experience. But sometimes, like last year, our hot toddy party did not start from our house. We started it from a parking lot and sort of like the way we did our gingerbread - we had the fire and the gingerbread halfway on the walk. So it was a combination - a hot toddy solstice party.
KATY: We like to mix it up. But half of the beverages - there was probably 50 people there - dumped in the fire.
MICHAEL: Yes it did.
KATY: And it all worked out just fine. So things happen. This is not about perfection. This is just about trying. People are so grateful to have anyone organize or be thoughtful around this. The good time has already happened. Anything else is just bonus.
KATY: Right. Right. So just yesterday was an example of a lot of things. It was another celebration, right? I feel like we have friends who are farmers here and it's the popcorn harvest time of year. Their corn harvest that will be for their popcorn and they asked for help. But at the end of it, we're making tamales using the corn husks that we've discarded in the field. And it's not the popcorn corn but another corn. And then we just sort of - it's the idea of, I think, with celebrations, the idea has become "no you clean your house. You make all the food. You do all the dishes afterward." It's so time-consuming that we don't do as many celebrations. Because the workload just seems like such a hurdle. And it is when you do it that way. Versus create a party where it's like, "no you bring your own food". And you cook it yourself and you bring your own dishes. And you take them home and wash them up later. And everybody wins and you celebrate much more often. So I definitely think we have a style of celebration - the style of celebration that you see on TV just seems to be so like, "ugh, I can't do it. It's too expensive. I need space. I need extra time." And the type of celebration we're talking about is much more - it looks much more traditional. The work is spread out. It's not about lavishing lots of other stuff on people. It's just about the space of just gathering.
MICHAEL: And the "bring your own mess kit" has really taken hold in our community.
KATY: It's totally taken off.
MICHAEL: Because nobody feels like washing 700 dishes.
MICHAEL: So everybody brings their own mess kit. You're responsible for your own dishes. And usually, some people forget and there's some plates or whatever. But there's a big difference providing one or two families with some dishes rather than the whole party full of people.
KATY: And nobody feels like they need to do disposables. You're not making a bunch of trash. It's easier to justify it when it's like, "How else am I going to serve all these people? I can't bring all this stuff outside." Just have people bring a mess kit.
MICHAEL: And don't forget about the potluck.
KATY: Oh the potluck.
MICHAEL: I'd say our Halloween party this year was, during a time of fatigue. And you know you just say basically, what you're gonna do, we're gonna have a grill, with a lot of meat that we've provided for post-Halloween candy eating. And then other than that, bring some food if you want to and you just let people know exactly what it's going to be and how they can contribute.
KATY: And as far as old school food prep to go back to it, this one was really about finding one of those traditional ... just like the candles were sort of like... what is something central to your celebration, and can you deepen your connection with the celebration. The same goes for food. What are the foods of your traditions and your cultures? And can you choose to try to make something like that yourself? Even if doesn't turn out right. Can you make it with your children or your elders? Can you be a little bit more involved in that? I just love that you always make - that you brought out Irish Soda Bread to make for your parents as a present who are from Ireland.
MICHAEL: And a fruitcake.
KATY: The fruitcake.
MICHAEL: and the
KATY: And to have the kids make it. And to me that was - that was deepening the connection to your family and to this period of time and education. It was all the things. So just finding something like that. And again this is not about perfection. It's just about trying and seeing what happens.
KATY: This was actually a tip taken from my Movement Matters holiday meals specifically. It's like when people are driving in to come eat with you, the idea of driving for hours and then sitting down right away to eat. Why don't you set up an outdoor standing soup course on the porch? Just something that gives people permission to go stand outside by a fire or to go stretch their legs. Stretch their back. But you can still start the meal. It's an outside soup course. I think that one's pretty straightforward. And I think a lot of families do a football game or we've got to go take a walk before we do a dessert. Ok …
KATY: It's getting colder. Lights shrinking time of day that's lit is shrinking. So we came up with soup and sports. You've got a best memory there?
MICHAEL: Uh... (laughs)... I have a memory of the night getting closer. We were doing it at, what, five o'clock or whatever. And I just remember the night getting closer and closer. And meaning every week it was getting darker earlier.
KATY: (whistles for dog)
MICHAEL: Our game of frisbee was getting harder to see.
KATY: Harder to see.
MICHAEL: But I just think of all of that with some fondness of just being out there. And it was so cold. But you got the soup. Eventually, we'd go out there for 45 minutes rather than two hours.
KATY: But we did it.
MICHAEL: But we did it and it's just. I don't know. There's just kind of a determination in getting together and sort of like not letting the weather or the cold or the dark or the season kind of get the best of you in a sense. Like you're still getting together with your friends. With your gloves and your hats and your hot soup. It gets harder and harder to keep hot. I don't know. I just like the whole thing. I like person versus nature.
KATY: That one's pretty self-explanatory. It's just an easy way if you have a gift-giving tradition, to just spread yourself out on the floor and get your legs out there straight and long. Sit on a pillow or two if you need to. And this idea of just taking care of your back while you're preparing the gifts. I think gift-giving has become such this stressful thing. I have to give gifts. And we've just lost the connection to "this is something that we wanted to do" and just, again, making it a little bit more nourishing for yourself, your body is involved in giving a gift. And then even walking to deliver gifts. If it's plates of food or whatever it is - on foot. Just adding a little bit more movement to your gift-giving sessions.
MICHAEL: And the kids have often whether through school or independently, designed their own gift wrapping paper.
MICHAEL: Which I've always enjoyed using that.
KATY: And fabric. They're just a little bit more creative. Even making your own gift paper is kind of fun. As we're trying to consume less and reuse more. Painting newspaper. Saving newspaper and then painting it and sponge pressing it to add a little bit of holiday color. It's a task to do but it's just using your body more.
KATY: Oh my gosh I could just go on and on about this one. In the article, we have access to lots of places for safe fires here and lots of wood. And I know not everyone has that same situation. So in that article one of the things that we talked about was that you could - that you can get approved fire... if fire safety is a concern where you are or permissions for fire where you live - outdoor fireplaces. They're not as expensive as they sound. They're more like portable fire pits that you can build a fire in so it sits above ground. And then the other one is to use your campgrounds. We use our campgrounds for a lot of entertaining. They're approved for fire pits in your cities. And it's a great way - we've done salt making there. We have had our solstice party there. Especially because there's usually trails around there so you can have some sort of hike. And in the article, I talked about throwing a New Year's Eve party outside. And when I had mentioned that, people were chiming in to say when I had mentioned it on probably social media, people were noting that they would go to, in really snowy icy places, which is not where we live. We're on the pacific northwest. And it's certainly cold and below freezing but not like my friends who live in Minnesota would say it was freezing. And they're like someone threw these, they had fire pits and you chip for the ice for your drinks - you chip it off the roof or whatever. And that was the thing and it was the best celebration ever.
MICHAEL: We brought in our... I think we may have just been simply celebrating "it's been too cold for too long"
KATY: Oh gosh.
MICHAEL: When we had our fire out in the snow. We usually don't have snow for long periods of time here. But we did this particular winter that I was talking about. And we got out the maple syrup candy as they did in Little House on the Prairie. And, again, it was kind of a person versus nature. "We are going to stand around this fire as everything around the fire turns to mud and we're going to celebrate each other's company."
KATY: That was a very - that was the winter where the schools shut down for a couple of weeks. And the stores weren't open. Our town was not prepared for snow. So alright. Snow party it is!
KATY: Yeah. I mean just to know that fire makes it warm outside. Movement makes it warm outside. So figure out if there's a way to add fire, which to me is such a natural element that humans are used to being around. And learn fire safety. And learn how to make a fire and how to put it out when you're done. I mean these are skills that everyone including your children need to be aware of.
MICHAEL: And my only thing that I've learned in parenting is: children love novelty. So if it's weird that it's been snowing so long, that's enough for them to entertain themselves.
KATY: That's a party.
MICHAEL: That's a party. Whatever is unique about what's happening right now, is all the kids need to make it entertaining for themselves. They come up with things.
KATY: All right. And finally,
KATY: I mean I think that people tend to think more about donating and volunteering and the abundance that they have around the holiday time. And so people do more volunteering. And just to look at your volunteer time to see how could I add more movement, nature, and community to volunteering. And where we live is really cool. They were having people bicycle around neighborhoods to pick up canned goods and other goods and food goods for our food bank. Look for opportunities of a lot of food banks and churches that, you know, host soup kitchens are looking for people who can be physical to stack and move things out - lift things out of peoples' car and so, you can put your body to use in that way if you're interested in volunteering during this time by looking for those physical opportunities that arise during this period of time. So it's just a way to, again, donating is always appreciated. But sometimes it takes more than money to get certain organizations to be able to distribute what they're able to do with that money. So look for those movement opportunities. (whistles for dog) And just before we wrap up one thing I wanted to add is I am aware that when you're talking about doing things outside, doing things with more movement, doing things with other people, the idea is always there's no way people are going to be as interested in this in our high tech societies and times. And kids aren't interested in doing this kind of stuff. Teenagers certainly aren't interested in this kind of stuff. Maybe I'm not even interested in doing this stuff. But it doesn't all have to look like low-tech. So the one dynamic celebration that I wanted to talk a little bit about especially when it comes - let's just say and end of the year celebration, a New Year's Celebration is - one thing that our community has done which I would say is a high tech - it's using technology as a means to get more movement, nature, and outside time is our community crowd-sourced silent dance party headsets. And so these, and we were doing this during the pandemic when people wanted to get together but outside was - how do you get together and celebrate. All the teens, they didn't have any dances or anything else. So silent dance party headsets are - there's like a broadcasting device where you load up all the music and then everyone has these headsets on which have three channels. And then you throw a dance party just in a park or a field or in this case, some of the farms around here would sponsor them and you, it doesn't make any noise pollution for the community because everyone's music is on their own head. There are three different channels to listen to. It just became this magical dance thing that our community does, including the teenagers. Including the pre-teens. Where you could be outside and we did it in the dead of winter. And again because of the fire...
KATY: You'd have a fire. And dancing makes you really really warm. And these are things that you could also rent. You don't have to buy them. You can rent them and everyone can pay and get a ticket and it was - that was to me it was look at this...this is a five hour outside all weather ...
MICHAEL: (talks to dog)
KATY: It was a way of taking a high-tech tool and making a fun four/five hour outside party with lots of movement and lots of celebration. It doesn't look like a traditional old-fashioned thing to do.
KATY: It was a really new-fangled, modern, thing to do. A high-tech thing to do. So it's just - it's not all old fashioned, I guess is my point.
MICHAEL: Right right. No, it was very new-fangled. And it really brought in the teenagers in our community.
MICHAEL: A lot.
KATY: And to see teenagers dancing with elders and younger kids and to really make dancing seem to be this thing that was ok to do, not just with other teens at school or at a dance. We're just out here. We're just doing this together. And the same thing with karaoke. The idea of these...we have a couple karaoke machines. And the idea that you can take them outside in the winter, again with a fire, and just have this - it's a higher-tech thing. They're mostly just speakers with a microphone and then you're using your internet to stream lyrics. But it just - it's piqued the kids' interest. I would say. And they are equally interested in cookies in the forest. But it's just to expand the idea of not everything has to feel like hunter-gatherer celebrations.
KATY: That's not only what we're talking about. We're talking about a way forward. Not a way back. And so just to keep in mind that there might be a solution like that outside that still gets you, again, outdoor time, movement time, community time, with your celebration.
MICHAEL: All good ideas are welcome! We never heard of the silent dance party until we did.
KATY: And it was widely adopted!
KATY: By a hundred people or more in our community. It's been really great. Anyway, I'm gonna go keep my dog from killing this chicken.
Now, after me sharing all of these stories, experiences, ideas ... if you're still feeling a little bit lost - good news! This is a three-step process to make it as simple as possible:
- You are going to take something you were doing for your celebrations and move it outside. Anything that was inside, just move it outside.
- Take something you were already doing for your celebration and do it traveling - on foot, on wheels, or do it more by hand for more movement.
- Invite other people to do a portion of the celebration with you. One that is outside and/or on the move.
All right? That's really the three principles that I'm talking about here. You can apply them to whatever your celebrations look like. You don't have to use my examples. I'm just trying to give you lots of different - it's like math. You take math class, you learn the principles, you work through the examples to hope make the principle more clear. I'm hoping by sharing all of these examples, the principles, the steps that you need to do this in your own life emerge so that you can solve your particular movement math problems using the formula, if you will.
And I know. Dynamic celebrations take more work. But that's kind of the point, isn’t it? You were wondering how to get more movement, more nature time, more time with friends and more time with family, more time to celebrate? You cannot achieve this from your ergonomic desk chair.
And this is another bit of research that’s important: Adults spend twice as much time in nature when they have friends or family who make a concerted effort to get outside. This might have to be you and your role in your community. Be the catalyst. Be part of the movement Movement by making some small changes to your celebrations and inviting others to join.
I also want to say you do not have to lose the coziness of the holidays. You’re just making your traditions more dynamic and taking your cozy on the move.
And I know you think I’m the grinch, here to steal your comfort. The Grinch Who Stole Comfy. I’m the Scrooge of sedentary. Well maybe I am, but in the end, those stories had happy endings, and moving more, and going outside, and gathering outside in community to celebrate is another way to spread cheer and connection with the ones that you love. So maybe I’m not taking something away, maybe I’m adding to your celebrations and you just don’t know it yet. Try it, and let me know.
P.S. Stay tuned for my annual exercise advent. That’s an exercise to do every day, December 1st through December 24th. This is the ninth year. No one is more shocked about that than me. I cannot believe I have been doing an exercise advent for 9 years. This is the ninth year I'm going to create this bit of celebration for you. This is another example of me taking a bit of my work that I do and say today we're going to do learning about movement and alignment and natural movement on the move. You just show up by following on my social media channel. Just come in every day between December 1st and 24th whether it's Instagram or Facebook. Or you can just come to my website. I will post an exercise there every day. Just search ADVENT if you're on the website. And that is, again, my movement gift to you. It's us getting a little dose of moving together. Although not as good as you moving together with people actually in real-time. But we do the best we can, don't we? Happy celebrations, y'all.
Hi, my name is Anna Gianpetro from Portland Oregon. 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's not intended to replace medical advice and should not be used as such. Our theme music was performed by Dan MacCormick. This podcast is produced by Brock Armstrong and the transcripts are done by Annette Yen. Find out more about Katy, her books, and her movement programs at NutritiousMovement.com. Thanks, Katy and the whole Nutritious Movement team for everything you do!