I am very excited to announce I have a new book, Rethink Your Position: Reshape Your Exercise, Yoga and Everyday Movement, One Part at a Time.
As our sedentary culture progresses toward even less movement, we desperately need to move more. We also need to move—and sit, and lie, and work, and rest—better, in positions that give us the varied and targeted motions our bodies need to thrive.
Thoughtful positioning of our bodies all day, whether we’re exercising, working, cleaning, playing, or resting, is one of the best ways to address a huge number of aches and pains. Learning how to move individual parts throughout the day is also an easy way to start moving your body more regularly and happily, so you can keep doing all the things you love—or used to love, or might love if you try them! Lifting kids and pets, salsa dancing, gardening, hiking, even just sleeping comfortably or getting dressed every day—all moves are “use it or lose it” moves, and this book helps you “use it” in sustainable, long-term, joyful ways.
Here’s a bit from the introduction.
Every day we make hundreds of choices about how to move our bodies.
Will we walk, or will we drive? Will we sit, or will we stand? Will we slouch or sit up tall? Will we keep our hands in our pockets or crossed in front? Will we wear heels or flats? All day long we make choices about the positions we place ourselves in, and how often we vary our body position, whether we realize it or not.
While disabilities might immobilize us or parts of us, by and large we have uncountable choices to make about how we move. The problem is, we make most of those choices subconsciously, usually choosing the move that’s easiest in the moment, and we suffer long term consequences for not being more deliberate in our approach to using our body.
I’ve written many books about movement. Books on how certain positions can lead to body damage and pain and how other movements can make the situation better. Books about getting kids the movement their body needs as they grow, about moving as we age, and movement as a form of activism. Rethink Your Position is also about movement.
More specifically, I want to get one big idea across to you with this book: the way your body works and feels is all tied up with how you move your body all day long, but you have a lot more choice than you probably know when it comes to how you move your body all day long, which means you have a lot more control over how you feel in your body and how your body works than you currently realize.
Rethink Your Position is about the options we have when it comes to positioning our body as we follow along in an exercise class, walk from here to there, or pull a suitcase through the airport, and it’s also about the idea that our bodies are always being moved, even when we’re just sitting there. Using better form all day long, even when you’re just sitting there, is another way to move different body parts, which means you can move more of your body—you can move your body more—while you’re “just sitting there.”
In fact, because you’re probably sitting more often than you are exercising, making over the alignment you use to perform everyday tasks and activities throughout the day can make you feel really good. An hour of daily exercise done on purpose is great for the body, but so are minutes of thoughtful movement done every hour, hour after hour. By learning to consider your body in all that it does, you’ll find yourself getting way more movement than just exercise alone gives you.
As a biomechanist I study how forces and motion affect living matter, and specifically human bodies. I know that the way our bodies feel each day, and the things our bodies will be able to do as we age, relate directly to how we’ve been moving. Not only how much we’ve been moving but how our body lines up with gravity as we move. Sure, we’re also impacted by the quality of food, rest, and love we all get, but our mechanical environment—i.e., how often our body is feeling and detailing with loads created by its own weight—is constant. Our cells are sending and responding to the mechanical environment every second of our lives, which means our movement habits are super-duper impactful.
Bodies start to hurt when they aren’t moved enough, but also because when they are moved, some parts aren’t moving with ease. This then makes it harder to move enough, and our movements get more diminished, immobility and pain arises, and we think it’s all inevitable.
It’s not inevitable. Our ability to make small adjustments in the way we create body loads, to change the state of our tissue through movement, our ability to change our alignment, is an inexpensive, low-tech, and effective way to disrupt that cycle. If “move more, it’s good for you!” was the primary message in this book, you could stop reading it now, because I know you already know that. Here’s the part I think most folks don’t know yet: You have much more control than you realize—over how you move, how it feels when you move, and therefore how you feel each day. Rethink Your Position shows you how the controls that move your body work. Once you learn them, you can steer your body in the direction you’d like to go.