Episode 32: Enter the Gait Lab
Description: Talkin’ the talk about the walk
Do you walk? Is the nutritional value of your walking the equivalent of eating only Cheese Puffs for sustenance? Walking, like every natural human movement, comes with its own host of variables that provide our bodies the loads required for optimal health and expression. Listen as Katy gives a clear and understandable explanation as to why we need to consider both the micro- and macronutrients of walking and how to get more of them.
KATY: It’s the Katy Says podcast, where movement geek, Dani Hemmat joins biomechanist, Katy Bowman – that’s me – author of Move Your DNA, for discussions on body mechanics, movement nutrition, natural movement, and how movement can be the solution to modern ailments we all experience.
DANI: Today is all about the gait. Not the g-a-t-e as in shut the front, but gait. Like, walkin. Locomoting. Is it perambulation or ambulating?
KATY: We always – we always just said ambulating.
DANI: Oh, okay.
KATY: I wonder what the difference is between the two. You want me to look it up?
DANI: Well, if you can multitask and do it.
KATY: Ambulate is to move from place to place, or walk.
KATY: What did you – what was the word you were using?
DANI: Perambulate. Did I make that up?
KATY: Well, let’s see. Perambulate.
DANI: I make up words all the time and I say them with authority so that you think I know what I’m talking about.
KATY: You and me both. It says to walk through –
KATY: - to inspect an area. So if you were like a health inspector, you would be perambulating through a restaurant.
DANI: Like peruse.
KATY: So it’s – it’s on foot, but with a particular purpose, perhaps? Oh, it says ‘used specifically to mean determining the bounds of a legal area by walking around it.’ So there we go.
DANI: Oh. That kind of got stiff, didn’t it?
KATY: Well, it depends on your gait. Your g-a-i-t.
DANI: Have you walked yet today?
KATY: I did. I walked this morning. My 5 at 5 with my best walking partner ever. We celebrated our one-year of 5am walks.
DANI: Oh, already? Holy cow! That went quickly.
KATY: Mm-hmm. You’re telling me.
DANI: 5 at 5.
KATY: Our 5 at 5, and um – it’s been nice. We don’t go every morning. We try to go at least 4 mornings a week, and when we first started, it was going to be like, I just needed like 2 days a week, and it turned into every day – especially, ironically in the winter. It was freezing and we’d still get up and do it, but it’s – it’s good. How about you?
DANI: Yes, I did. I only do 3 miles every morning.
DANI: Only. Well, and I like 5 miles a day, but I can’t seem to crack that all out at once. As soon as it gets a little cooler here, I’m going to do a couple in the evening when the huz gets home from the job.
KATY: Oh, yeah.
DANI: So then I can nail that 5 but all at once, I just, I don’t know. That’s a lot of time.
KATY: I put on my Instagram account – did you see our nighttime walking post I did on our Instagram? What we do a lot of times, like I’m good at getting my morning miles in because I’m an early riser, but my other half is not. So we actually do nighttime walks, so instead of dinner, like a lot of times – I wrote it all out, but what we do is we pack up dinner and then we have this trick where we’ll drive to some trail or some place where one adult, in this case my husband, drops me and the kids off and then he drives and parks 2 miles away or 3 miles. Usually 2 miles because it’s our nighttime thing that we tend to do, and then he has a quick, 2 mile walk back to us which takes him, you know, 30 minutes, and meanwhile, the kids and I are walking towards him.
DANI: Oh, cool!
KATY: And he then turns back around with us and then we walk the other –
KATY: - it takes an hour a mile for our kids, which are little. And then I have dinner, like in a backpack, and we’re just kind of snacking and eating our dinner along the way, and walking. So there was a huge response to it, and I think that a lot of people are kind of paralyzed to move when they have that traditional work/school day, right? Your kids or someone’s at work, it’s like, how can we walk for our family, because when we get home it’s dinnertime? I’m like, have your dinner ready, put it in a backpack and take it on the go. So we get 2 extra hours outside, in the evening, we still accomplish dinner, we still have family time, talking time at dinner, and we get the movement in, so. That was a little solution there.
DANI: That’s a great solution. Like, I hear that a lot: I don’t have time.
DANI: How do you find the time, and it’s like, well, we all have that same chunk.
DANI: We’re all given that same chunk and I like the thinking outside the normal, cultural boundaries. That’s – that’s the part of this work that I’m fascinated with.
KATY: Yeah. But what about dinnertime?
DANI: Why can’t you? Why do you have to? And really just think about it for a second, so that’s cool.
DANI: And then he gets his walking in, I guess.
KATY: Right, you know, and – it’s been – it all depends on who had the hardest day. Like, maybe if you’ve been with the kids all day long, you’ll be like, you know what? I’m going to park the car and I’m going to do 2 quick miles, so it’s never the same, right? It’s just – everyone, we kind of play by, ‘who needs a break?’
KATY: Who needs 20 or 30 minutes to themselves? And we just swap out and it’s actually totally mixes up the energy with the kids, just being at nighttime. Nighttime walking, like, we’re going to talk about this – not all walking is the same. Nighttime walking is different nutrients than daytime walking. If you’re like, oh, my kids, they’re not excited – they will be excited by all of a sudden, ‘why are we going somewhere at night?’ And it doesn’t have to be pitch black, but this is normally sit down dinnertime. This is something different; this is something exciting, and then all of a sudden they’re running on a trail for 2 miles because it’s out of their norm.
KATY: So. Variability in movement and variability in habit is pretty cool.
DANI: Well, then, let’s just step right into it.
KATY: Oh, gosh.
DANI: Stop it! You know, I could get away with these if you didn’t call me out.
KATY: Didn’t we do an episode where there was a bing! Every time you did a pun? It’s so good. I love it.
DANI: Oh, yeah. I don’t think – I don’t think that was very popular, love. They didn’t like the dinging. Oh, good for you. Well, yeah – let’s talk about you – you’ve got your plan, 5 at 5, and then the variables of like, tonight we’re going to walk here, and then you just pretty much – your real plan for walking is just a lot of it and different kinds, right?
KATY: Well, I think that that’s what I’d like to do this show about is: walking is – it’s like a big idea. It seems like such a simple thing, right? Where you’re like, every human should just do it. Just do it! But it’s like, well? You could think about walking; you can approach walking whether you’re doing it academically, like breaking it down for evaluation or if you want to study it, or if you are going I want my walking to be better. You have to think about walking in terms of both quantity and in terms of quality. So quantity is kind of what you and I are talking about right now – like if I say, did you walk, hey Katy, did you walk, hey, Dani, did you walk? We said yeah, and then we usually talk about it in terms of how long: I walked for like 30 minutes, or I walked 2 miles. And so we’re approaching walking as a mode in that case of exercise or behavior, and we’re looking at the abundance of which we have done it. So it’s just a thing in this case.
KATY: But – that’s one way of looking at it. Then there are qualities of walking. I think like last episode, when you were talking about moving to Colorado, there’s a lot of hills there.
KATY: So you’re like, Boulder’s got a lot of vitamin hills, right? So in talking about movement in terms of nutrition or nutritious movement, we are calling out what are the macro or micronutrients that are involved in walking. So we’ve got hills. Hills would be – that has nothing to do with how long or how far you went, but it gives us other information really about the loads that were created while doing it. So if you haven’t listened to the loads episode – gosh, that was such a long time ago. That was like, last year, yeah?
DANI: I know, I think we just passed 30. Is that crazy?
KATY: Me, too! I just passed 30 myself, how about you?
DANI: Nah. Yes! Yes, just 2 years ago. Uh – yeah, but 30 episodes. So that was a long time ago.
KATY: Yeah, I think – I feel like 3, but it might not be.
DANI: Back to qualities; I just want to back up what you’re saying. I’m not really walking any more than I was when I lived out on the prairie where it was flat. Like, I’m pretty much still getting the same, you know, quantity of walking, and that hasn’t increased. But because I’m on you know, hills 50% of the time now, it’s totally changed everything. I’m not investing any more time or distance, really, but because I’m on, you know, dirt surfaces or hills or scrambling up stuff, that’s been crazy, like the change in the way my muscles feel, you know, and it matters so much to mix it up.
KATY: Well, and that brings us to this other idea, like, people want to talk about – just tell me how to walk. Or there’s big discussions on what should walking look like? And it’s like, well, what kind of walking are you talking about? You have done walking 2 miles or 3 miles in the prairie, and also in mountainous regions, but those two things are not the same physical experience. They’re not the same muscles used, they’re not the same, um – they’re not the same muscles and joints used in the same way. It’s the same body, but it’s being used differently, and so the mechanically transduced outcome is going to be different. One is not better than the other; they’re just entirely different nutrients. They’re different foods, you know, if you will. Or they’re different – if we were going to say, if we want to call walking a macronutrient, they’re different types of fats.
DANI: Well, yeah, I like that you posted a picture, I don’t know, it was a few weeks ago of a trail close up and you showed – you can see all the texture of what you’d been walking on barefoot, and then in your Five Fingers. Or I think it was your Unshoes that I think you were wearing. And you wrote something to go with it, about that. Do you want to read that or do you want me to read that? Do you remember that?
KATY: Let’s let you read it, because you will speak it so well.
DANI: And I’ve been working with a voice coach.
KATY: I know, I need to get with her. I totally need to get with her. Let me get with you, Voice Coach! What’s her name?
DANI: Her name is Sarah, she’s awesome.
DANI: We’ll hook you up. She’s taught me how to do larynx massage and all this stuff. Apparently my throat is quite uptight. (clears throat) So. Mi-mi-mi. All right. You wrote: “walking is a large category of movements, just like fat is a large category of types of fatty acids. I could tell you that your diet is too low in fat and that you need to eat more – but what does this mean? You need more man-made transfats? Or that you need many different types of fats, as each plays a different role and offers unique nutrients? You could still be malnourished if you only added one type of fats without digging deeper to what kinds of fats you were in need of? In this same way, walking offers a broad range of nutrients as a category, but you have to make sure you’re not consuming only walks of a certain type.’ Like those prairie walks. ‘You won’t be fully meeting your movement macronutrient needs if you’re always on asphalt, or a path, or always walking a dog, always going the same rate, always on a treadmill, always on the same route, always on the phone, always in the same temperature, always at the same time,’ Ooh – oh, man. I need to think about that. You’re so smart. ‘Always in the same mood. Always on the same slope, in the same shoes, always on the same texture, always the same distance. You’d be blown away at the many variables affecting the nutrition of your walking bout.’
KATY: The variables. And then, you know, I tend to post on different social media different things said in slightly different ways, so I posted the same picture and then I had to do a one – you know, 120 characters on Twitter, and I put, so this is a sum-up of everything that Dani just read so un-uptightedly. It just, like, flowed from your, like, your supple, supple larynx.
KATY: ‘Walking, and fat, are categories. Make sure your walking input is not entirely of the trans fat type.’
KATY: So, again – another follow-up episode: this is like a thread, you know, when you look at one thing – this is like the Wikipedia version of this podcast. We’ll be like, are you interested in – what is junk food exercise? It’s like, oh, okay, so, what would be, like, trans fats are just a particular – I mean, hey, if you’re starving and the option is trans fat or not, then trans fat certainly has a role.
KATY: But if you are, like, feeling really good about meeting your walking nutrients and the only thing you’re doing is one or two particular maybe some are trans fat, maybe some are good quality fat, but you’re only getting one type of, you know, medium-chain fatty acid, you’re still going to be experiencing nutritional – there’s still going to be a malnutrition or a nutrition depletion in one particular way when we talk about, like – what is natural walking, right? Natural movement is the big thing. Walking as a category is natural movement, but there are types of walking that are not natural, or have less nutrition to them. Not that they are zero nutrition but they are less.
KATY: So, yes.
DANI: And we’ve touched on that in our – when we talked about treadmills –
DANI: - about a million episodes ago.
KATY: So there’s another Wikipedia thread. Blog – what is that – podcast-i-pedia. Do we have to pay something to Wikipedia?
DANI: We’re just going to call it Kate-i-pedia.
KATY: Oh, we should just –
DANI: It has ped in it, which is like walking, so it’s brilliant. Thank you, and no charge for that.
KATY: It’s pedipedia.
DANI: Okay, go ahead.
KATY: I’m going to ambulate over here. Right to the next part. So, um, that was nice. You’re welcome. I need to see your voice coach. When we had our gait lab here at the center, it was a 1-week long course talking about, you know, it’s the biomechanics of walking, right? So they’re learning the science of walking, the loads of walking – which everyone wants me to sum up. Just do a blog on walking! Just do a video on walking! It’s like, okay, but so here’s how I started it – because I knew I was going to get lots of questions about walking from this perspective that walking is a single thing that we do, a single geometry. So we want to talk about walking into a reduced: my arms go this way, my legs go this way, it’s at this rate. You know, all these things that when you research walking, the perspective is laboratory walking, you know, in modern populations who live basically in a zoo, you know, like flat level ground, man-made surfaces, mostly sedentary in between bouts of walking, and shod most of their life wearing shoes. And then we see what they do in a laboratory, and from there, that becomes what walking the thing is. So we started gait lab – I wanted to preemptively dissuade those questions by having people be able to refer back to this first experience, which was a 2.5 hour walk through the forest here – the Olympic National Forest – we took a trail, you know, we met in the parking lot, and everyone had a pen and a piece of paper, and I was like, there’s nothing to do here except: notice anything that affects how you are walking. We were barefoot; it was all-unfamiliar to them. No one had been there before except for myself, and then we walked for two and a half hours in this group. And as they were walking, they would notice anything that changed – I kind of started it with, there are many variables that are going to change the geometry, meaning like the shape that your body assumes while walking, and also the muscles used. Because geometry and muscular use, you could even have two similar geometries but different muscles creating that exact same geometry. So therefore, even though the geometry is the same, if muscles – different muscles are creating it those are different loads. Only when they had a piece of paper in their hand did they notice that, you know, then the um, uh, marmot jumped off the side of the road, you know, or came in front, everyone tensed as it became darker, your stride changed. Uphill, downhill, walking over slippery surfaces. Being afraid to cross a particular area, when it was cold. Walking faster or slower. Staying with a group – you might be able to walk really, really fast on your own and maybe that’s the sole motion that you walk with, right? That there’s a particular speed because you don’t walk with kids, because why would you want to walk slow? It’s like, because walking slow – have you ever tried to walk very slow? Walking very slowly is – I mean, what’s the difference between riding a bike really fast and riding so slow that you can’t use the momentum to stabilize the bike for you – the same thing with walking. And so they got to experience over two and a half hours – so many things, and then on the first real day of gait lab, you know, in the laboratory in the facility is we’ve compiled a huge list, and they were organized by, was it terrain, was it texture? Right? There’s the shape of the ground, but then there’s also – a texturous ground is really only texture depending on the footwear that you’re wearing over it, right? Like, you can be like, oh, I walked on vitamin texture, but you’re in a shoe, and therefore the loads created by that vitamin texture are different than if you were in a minimal shoe, which are then different if you’re barefoot. So, on and on, they got to experience and then go – oh, my clothing! You know, I never really realized that this jacket that I wore to stay warm actually is, like, limiting my arm swing. Or the fact that they didn’t have to carry anything. Halfway through I made them compile and carry a bunch of things and then carry that burden for the rest of their walk, because of course, that’s going to change your gait, because –
KATY: - the very fact that we are a population that has a car and a refrigerator after the walk changes how you walk, right? If you have abundant food and you’re not even walking to gather, which means your walking bout doesn’t have any bends or ups or downs in it, or you’re not seeking – right? The multipurpose of walking is also to find or forage for something. If you’re not doing that along the way, then your walk is this very linear, repetitive thing as opposed to something with more movement built into it. You could walk really fast if you can then go eat a bunch of food when you’re done. Like, you could work harder just to work up an appetite because of the abundance of food in your house, and so that – our idea of walking, especially when you come to a gait lab, and I want to talk about the science of walking so that you understand how walking is – it’s like, this is not how walking is as much as what people who have a particular lifestyle view walking is.
KATY: And so when they got that experience, to go, oh, I didn’t really realize that when I was walking or talking with someone or that when I was scared, or that even a path – the fact that the path was there for you – if you were walking through Colorado before it was heavily deforested where everywhere you walked on had been blazed for you, essentially –
KATY: - Figuratively. I don’t think literally. Maybe. Depends on if you live in Washington or not. Knock on wood – I’m just going to knock on all the wood right now. Um, that you would be scrambling a lot more, right? If you were pushing your skin would be scratched. There would be loads to your skin that’s missed because everything’s been cleared off for you. You are walking always where someone has walked multiple times before. You’re never, you know, going out and bushwhacking.
KATY: you know, through a particular area. So all of these things affect stride length and rate, and then also, again, the things like geometry, so that there really is this interaction between you and the environment that create the loads. That’s what I mean by qualities. Qualities are all of those things that that huge list that we came up with.
DANI: Which is an awesome – I mean, can I talk about the 52 weeks course that you do?
DANI: Just bring that up? So the 52 Weeks Everybody Biomechanics – the lesson on gait that you do. You give a lesson every week, and the variables that you gave for walking; some of them, honestly, I never thought about yet. I thought I knew all this stuff about walking, but like, familiarity – that was a real mindblower to me. It’s like, oh, yeah, because you walk with more trepidation if you’re unsure of a place. If you’re looking around as opposed to just looking at the ground. You know, you’re taking in all the new contours and hills and – and landmarks and everything. And temperature. Like, living in a snowy place. You live in a wet place, walking on a slick surface sometimes in the winter is going to be a lot different than when it’s dry. And I noticed after winter in Montana, I had some kind of pattern use injuries because I was walking a certain – lifting my foot a certain way to deal with the ice.
KATY: Mm. Mm-hmm.
DANI: Because I couldn’t do my normal follow-through of what I was used to. Temperature and weather, that’s a biggie, I think, that I never thought about. And the fear – that’s huge – like you said, it does change how you walk if you’re uncertain. If you’re uncertain of a surface, if you’re uncertain of your company, even, you’re going to walk different. You’re going to be relaxed, and another one I never thought about – mood and attitude. Oh, my gosh!
KATY: Well, do you remember that gait thing I sent around? Like, I sent this little – there’s a little –
DANI: Yes, yes! That guy!
KATY: The Delaware Gait Lab, right? And it’s these dots – it’s – we should post it in the show notes –
DANI: Okay, I will do that.
KATY: - because it’s so fun.
DANI: I actually refer to that every once in a while.
KATY: Yeah, it’s super fun. It’s a gait lab assessment, and so you end up just seeing – what you get is you get what we work with in biomechanics, which are like, the people’s limbs represented by dots and lines.
DANI: Yeah, dots and lines.
KATY: So there’s – there’s these dots and they’re moving –
DANI: Their torso’s like a triangle kind of thing.
KATY: Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s reduced, but it’s fun. And if you have – if you have kids, what a great homeschool lesson –
KATY: - to bring that out. And you can add – you can toggle. So they have analyzed so many people. They have loaded up all of their data, and then you get to toggle male to female, happy or sad, heavy or light. Different features of a person – and meanwhile the dots are adjusting and you can see how the gait changes, so that you can toggle the exact same person, happy to sad and watch how their gait changes, right?
DANI: It’s awesome.
KATY: Of course, we all know these things, right? You know than when you’re –
DANI: Yeah, well, I mean, I just didn’t really think about how that affects the quality.
KATY: And mood, too – you know, I even put things – in this gait lab, it was really hard for one person to stay with us, you know, like it’s even the kind of like, I gotta do this as fast and as hard as possible, and it’s like, okay, well, that’s a particular mood, and the fact, like – but they ended up getting separated from the group.
KATY: You know, so it was one of those things where if your livelihood depended on the group staying together –which, you know, as humans in a natural context it does, for the most part – then your gait would be different, right?
KATY: Right now. Movement is often replaced with exercise, and exercise is often replaced with elite types of movement, and that is one way of moving. It’s one particular nutrient, but you’re not doing that all of the time – you know, you live with a group of people, and there are ways of moving that aren’t always you by yourself, sprinting and running off by yourself. There’s squatting around and hanging out with a bunch of other people and helping other people who are not as strong as you to get to the next part. Like, there are elements of that that do round out the nutritional value, I guess, of their movement diet. So, yeah. 52 Weeks. So much fun to do one lesson at a time.
DANI: It is cool.
KATY: And then – on arm swing, right? So arm swing is another component of, you know, do you want to talk about classic gait? Because I’m – I mean, I do think that people should understand “classic gait biomechanics,” because it’s the easiest portal. I mean, it’s one way to say, hey, there’s all these ways of moving, and there are more rigorous ways of analyzing these more classic gait components like reciprocal arm swing and –
DANI: Right. That’s what everyone wants to know, it’s like, posterior push off, how should my feet be?
KATY: Yeah, yeah yeah.
DANI: Where does my heel hit? That’s –
KATY: Yeah. But again – it’s really hard to have that conversation without context, right?
KATY: Posterior push off and arm swing and muscular use – all those things – we want to make sure that that’s not the only – when they say, ‘how should I be walking?’ Well, where are you walking? You know, you should be walking many different ways – you know, reciprocal arm swing is absolutely part of natural stride; however, it’s also completely natural to have one – to be carrying something heavy in one arm and swinging only one arm, and then switching and doing it to the other side. That symmetry doesn’t always have to be evaluated over a period of five seconds, or one minute of activity. That symmetry sometimes – many times – all of the time – is always evaluated – evaluated of body use over a day. Or over a month, or over a lifetime that symmetry comes about because you’re constantly engaging in random and unique situations, which don’t always call on the same movement patterns.
DANI: Yes! You wrote at the end of that lesson, that one gait lesson, that there’s no natural – there’s no one natural walk.
DANI: Natural walking and natural gait is a response to a natural environment.
KATY: Right. And it’s the response of your natural body to a natural environment. That’s why we do the corrective exercises; because your body has adapted to an unnatural habitat, so we are doing correctives or what we call the micronutrients to mobilize your parts, because if you take your body now, like, your heel wearing, mostly sitting body into a natural environment, you still wouldn’t be creating natural loads, because the shape of your body – the addition or removal of parts – your adaptation to what you’ve done before limits, by proxy, the loads that you experience in nature. So we’re kind of approaching it at both ends; we’re saying: engage in a variability of movement, so say walking. If you’re going, okay, Dani, Katy – how do I apply what you’re talking about right now? It’s like, okay, look at – look at – if you were to quantify – or not even quantify – if you were to list your last 10 walks, and pluck out 5 similarities of each of them going, it’s always on this path, it’s always this distance – whatever it is, find similarities. And then create 5 walks that don’t have those similarities, right? So that you’re getting a little bit different nutrients. It doesn’t mean that you have to stop doing those, but you can replace some of those with a different type of walking nutrition. So that’s the best way of – it’s like, do you always take your dog out for a walk? You can still do that, but you might want to consider non-dog walking walks, because the pace is going to be different, the mood is going to be different, you can pick a different location, right? If you feel like –
DANI: The carrying of poop is going to be different.
KATY: How much poop do you carry when you walk a dog?
DANI: Actually, my husband has to carry it because I – because he’s a nice guy? I don’t know, anyway. Because I hold the big dog.
KATY: He holds the big poop?
DANI: He holds the big poop.
KATY: Yeah. I don’t even know where to follow – when I hear poop? It’s like my concentration bombs.
DANI: I’m sorry, I was just thinking about the variables of not having a dog with you when you walk. Five different walks, different nutrients –
KATY: And you’re not – your arm’s not out, and – like, some people always on one phone and hold it in their hand – it’s just like, what is your arm use, you know? Do you have – do you always wear a backpack? Like, again, on Instagram, I walk to the store every day. So there’s very little I can do about that distance. But I could mess with other things, like, I can walk on the other side of the road, okay? So familiarity is different. I can walk on the side of the path, which is asphalted, so I can walk over the lumps and bumps. I can walk on the left side, vs. the right side of the path. What I did the other day is I took my backpack, because I’m getting groceries. After the kids go to bed I usually take myself on this 2-mile loop to get groceries for breakfast, and I put my backpack on my front. I just carry it on the front of my body.
DANI: That’s super, super awesome.
KATY: You know, so – same walk, completely different experience, which means it’s not really the same walk as far as loads go. And so – just think of little things like that you can play with. Do you always wear the same pair of shoes? Can you mix them up? Can you put your right shoe on the left and vice versa? J/K.
DANI: I was going to say.
KATY: Um, so just, like, little things – like, little things – I am such a Californian. Little things like that can change – remember: micronutrients. Micro means small. They’re little changes that bring about a different use of your body and therefore a different adaptation to your behavior. Gosh, that was a lot.
DANI: That was awesome, though. It was. For people that are just, like you said, they’re always in heels or they’re always sitting and stuff, there’s just by virtue of changing that every day stuff – before they even go walking – will even change the quality of their walk. Right?
DANI: If I stop wearing my high heels and then, you know, start walking without them, it’s going to be just that, even if I’m walking the same path. There’s so many variables, it’s just mind-blowing, and none of it costs a thing. That’s the cool part.
KATY: And I think, like, you said it a nice way. Like, if we wanted to quantify a micronutrient of walking, it would be what are the degrees of plantar dorsiflexion? What are the degrees of ankle motion used for your walk? Like, no one’s going to get that specific. But let’s say that, you know, you want to do a full range of ankle joint motion that your walk should be using, even if it’s not one walk, but let’s say you’re walking over a month. It should use this full range of motion of your ankle joint somewhat regularly, which means if you are thinking about it in a reduced way, what happens is like, okay, I need to walk on slopes from, you know, zero – like, a flat ground, all the way up to, say, 45 degrees. Then I will make sure that my walking involves zero slope-age – I don’t even know if that’s a word – slope-age of 0-45 degrees. That’s one way of going, every single degree and half degree between is a different nutrient. But if your ankle doesn’t go to 45 degrees, you could be walking on a slope without dorsiflexing all of the way, which means that you’ll just kind of stiffen your calves or spring through, so your – you have to bring a body capable of matching the environment in order to get the full nutrition out, and that’s why the corrective exercises –
KATY: The corrective exercises are trying to coax out those old adaptations, trying to set a broader stage for then engaging in a natural habitat and moving through that habitat. So it really is both.
KATY: Because you could say, oh, I can – you can go up and down those slopes, but you could very well not be using your ankle joints actively. You could be using them elastically, because you can get your heels down with no problem, but you’re not really passing through active ranges of motion and it’s the active ranges of muscular motion that brings about the cellular adaptation – the goods – of mitochondria – the cellular stuff, which is what we’re after. So active ranges of motion are key, but you need to prepare your body for them, and then engage your body in them.
DANI: Yeah, it’s kind of fun if you just go to a place, to look at those variables of how bodies move across the earth. Just go and people-watch, and you can watch the variation with people, how they lift up their leg or how they swing it back, and I mean – you don’t have to really know anything about anything to spot all of those differences. There’s so many ways that we adapt before we are actually walking that prevent us – or help us – get more out of our walking. Does that make sense?
KATY: Yeah. I think that – that’s been the easiest thing I can explain. Walking – just the big, big category. Look at what you’re consuming and vary it up naturally. You know, I think some people go oh, then I’ll run backwards. Or – like, it’s not – I don’t mean that kind of varying it up. It’s mostly habitat, right?
KATY: Habitat is where your habit’s at. The habitat is really setting the boundary of body use during movements, so.
DANI: So if you’re walking, you’re probably really good on certain walking micronutrients, but you could be missing some of the critical ones as well, because of the environment that you’re walking through, it doesn’t create all of the loads that the body requires.
KATY: Exactly. That was pretty good. That was a nice summation!
DANI: Gracias. Do you remember Ben, from the Ben Show? Awesome, awesome Ben?
KATY: Do I? Do I!
DANI: Do you remember Ben? Think back, Katy, reach back deep into the recesses. So did you see what Ben’s up to?
KATY: I did.
DANI: You know.
KATY: Ben. Like, what is Ben shooting for? Ben is shooting for his own show. Ben, like, “How to Live Life, by Ben.”
DANI: I know. This guy!
KATY: He’s so amazing.
DANI: This guy, Ben. He’s something. But he kind of – I mean, of course, he’s inspiring, like, a thousand times over. But I was just thinking about him when you were talking about foraging, you know, and walking as bending down and picking stuff up and all that, everything. Because I don’t live – Ben just – Ben walks a lot, you know, if you heard the Ben Show, and Ben decided to start doing other things on his walk, like feeding people, and handing out food and clothing, and you know, just – I’ll link to his post on Facebook.
KATY: Let’s just go to Ben’s house. Everyone, just go to Ben’s house, where you’re going to learn – he was walking through, if I recall, you know, on his 72km walks or whatever he’s doing every day. He was walking, um, and you see, as he pointed out in the first show, you see things more clearly when you’re not driving through them and 40 MPH. You’re like, wow, look at all these people sitting here on the streets. And he was – I don’t even think he was in his town, I think he was out of town, in a hotel, walking through –
KATY: - an area that had an issue with people not having enough, and so he made 100 sandwiches?
KATY: And then handed them out on his walk, so it’s like a different way of foraging. It’s like reverse foraging. He has such abundance that he used the same foraging behavior to – to re-stock other humans, and I just – yeah. Let’s just call this, let’s just be Ben Says from now on.
DANI: It’s Ben-i-pedia. And his Hashtag was #MoveBeyondYou, which I love that, because he’s integrating movement with a movement. But I was thinking, well, I don’t really live in a spot where I walk every day that I, you know, can hand out sandwiches, because I walk through like prairie dog preserves and stuff like that.
KATY: You can totally hand out sandwiches to prairie dogs.
DANI: Yeah, I don’t think you’re supposed to – I could try, but anyway. Sometimes there’s garbage, like, sometimes people throw cigarette butts, or leave their bags or whatever. Well, I decided, okay, that’s going to be my do-good while I move. I’m going to walk, and bend – like foraging – to pick up the garbage.
KATY: And also – adding a city walk, we’re such –
KATY: We are – we are technology-city people. Whether we like it or not, that’s the reality, so I think that even if you’re like, oh, rural, rural, rural, trying to get out in nature – sometimes, a family urban walk may be called for, you know? And then you can see, it’s like, this is where – this is actually where we live. This is the condition of people who might not be in your, you know, regular daily view. So. So many different ways to move and then – what did he say, move beyond –
DANI: Move Beyond You.
KATY: Move beyond yourself.
KATY: Move beyond – you know, your purposes for moving. Yeah. Ben. Come on, Ben.
DANI: Come on, Ben.
KATY: I have people here who have never even – I know, I’m sorry. You’re going to end the show, but I have to just say. I have people here who I never even thought listened – like, people who don’t – they’re not into movement or whatever, but maybe they picked up a show. They’re like, “that guy Ben, he was so inspiring.” I was like, I know! He’s fantastic. Anyway. Okay. Are we all done?
DANI: Yeah. Ben’s my hero. Okay, do you want to do a question? We have time for a question.
DANI: Okay. This is from George, and George writes: “Hi, Katy. I recently heard you talk about your husband losing his soles while asleep.” Remember, he got his calluses all shaved off in Thailand or wherever it was? “This made me wonder whether you recommend visits to the podiatrist. I just see the nurse who gives my feet a deep cleaning every 4 months, consisting mainly of scraping off the calluses. Do you consider this modern intervention to go against foot health and longevity?” That’s the first question, and the second one is: “I have spent the last five years wearing Vibram Five Finger shoes almost exclusively, and only recently did it occur to me that this may not be the best idea since I’m always on hard surfaces. I’d love to hear your thoughts, thank you.”
DANI: It kind of fit in with today’s show.
KATY: It did, yeah.
DANI: Thanks, George!
KATY: Yeah. My husband – just for anyone – quick context – he was in Thailand, and at the end of his Thai massage they – while he was resting – they basically gave him their equivalent of a pedicure, which was cutting off all of his calluses and as an almost lifelong bare footer, it was quite substantial, and it was difficult for him to walk, because now he had lost, essentially, the shoe of skin. The skin shoe that he had developed – like, that was his adaptation, and again, from the Skin Show – pedipedia – um, that a callus is a healthy – it’s a more vascularized part of your foot. Now I can’t answer George’s question – I will answer his question – but I don’t know why he is getting – why he’s at the podiatrist. So usually podiatrists are – wouldn’t necessarily be prevention? You would be there for medical reasons, so if there’s been a medical reason why someone has suggested the removal of well vascularized portions of your feet – like, is he there because he has other issues?
DANI: Right, we don’t know. Yeah.
KATY: - and they’re – I’m not – I don’t know why he’s going there, so no. That would be the first question, is why are – if it’s entirely preventive and you’re doing it for foot health and you’re not doing it because of some other medical reason why they’ve advised that you remove your feet, like, calluses are uncomfortable for people when they’re usually in one small spot, because then you have, like, soft skin surrounding this hard skin, and then when you put pressure on it, then that skin increases in density and mass. Like, you get more regeneration, right? It’s more vascularized, you get more of it. So then you get this area of thicker surrounded by thinner, and that itself becomes a stress riser, and if you’re not loading the rest of the areas, either because of your gait pattern or because, like, say you have one bone pushing down into your foot more because the strength of your feet isn’t what it would be had you not always worn shoes and walked through urban environments. People will have them cut out because eventually they become irritants. But if that’s not the case, if it wasn’t an irritant, and it wasn’t a medical issue why you’re having it removed and it’s just because we want to keep your foot cleaner and healthier so let’s cut it off, then I would say I don’t know if the reason why you would have that done. Because that’s the adaptation that you’re after. If you’re wearing Vibrams it’s because you want a more functional foot, and with more function comes the need for thicker skin.
DANI: And I would just venture to guess by that – that 2-part question that if he’s been wearing Vibram Five Fingers for 5 years, he’s probably not – most people go to the podiatrist for those cleanups because they have neuropathy or diabetes, you know, an issue with that –
KATY: Diabetes, yeah.
DANI: I’m guessing that maybe not if he’s out wearing really minimalist shoes. He’s probably maybe just doing it for maintenance, that’s what I gather from that.
KATY: It could be. It could also be that he does have diabetes or neuropathy, and that’s why he switched to Vibrams and they’re keeping him on a prevention. So – I would communicate with your doctor, you can say, like, can you show me the evidence for – because even then, I imagine like, a pressure spot being more prone, perhaps, to an ulcer, maybe?
KATY: And that’s why they’re cleaning them off? But in general, in a healthy foot, in a well-developed callus, you could ask for perhaps some of the literature on why that would be done? And if it’s just, like, oh, we want to keep your feet clean, it’s like, can you do the cleaning or whatever you want without the callus removal? And like, it’s your deal – you’re the one in charge. Usually the person – the professional you’re working with has more information than you, but for them sharing that information it’s certainly within your interest to ask. So that would be my – my – let’s see what Ben Says. What does Ben Say?
DANI: Ben, could you weigh in on this? Thank you.
KATY: That’s right. All right.
DANI: Well, that was awesome.
DANI: I know we’ve both done our walks, but I think we should go out and walk some more.
KATY: I’m actually doing a family walk right now, when we’re done.
DANI: Awesome, that sounds good!
KATY: Grandparents are here.
DANI: Oh, cool!
DANI: So it’ll be a variable speed walk, because you have grandparents and toddlers. Are they still toddlers, would that count?
KATY: No, they’re sprinters. I say toddler – I mean, toddler maybe capital T, but they’re certainly not lowercase.
KATY: You can’t toddle five miles. They are full-on walkers now.
DANI: Awesome. Getting those macro and micronutrients, woo woo!
DANI: Well, thanks for listening. For more information, books, online classes, etcetera, including that 52 weeks – doesn’t that come up once a year? Are you going to release that again next year, or?
KATY: Oh my gosh, thank you for bringing that up, because yes – if you are like, I want to take that class! That class only opens once a year, ooh, sorry.
DANI: Did you fall over?
KATY: I knocked my microphone over. That was a mic drop! That was a premature mic drop!
DANI: Yeah, that’s not really when you’re supposed to do it, KB, but I’ll just teach you that later.
KATY: I know. I’m all awkward, I’m like, so anyway, what I said was, THUMP. Once again, she’s nailed it.
DANI: So cool. Backwards backpack. So cool.
KATY: Fifty – such a geek. 52 Weeks, which is an Everybody Biomechanics course, which is a once a week lesson – only opens once a year. You can’t find it on our website; we announce it via our newsletter and through our social media. So if you’re following us on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or whatever’s of the 100 billion other social media – like, what is Periscope? Someone just asked me if I Periscope. I was like, I can’t handle any more social media channels! So anyway, I digress. Oh, no – I’ve already digressed. I will digress back to what I was saying, which is – if you go to NutritiousMovement.com, you can sign up for the newsletter and we open it at the end of the first week of December. It’s a very inexpensive – it’s like $15 a month or something.
DANI: It’s the biggest value ever.
KATY: Well, I wanted to make it super affordable.
DANI: It is an amazing course.
KATY: Yeah. Thank you. So that will open the last month of this year, so – sign up for our newsletter and we’ll mail it out that way, and you can learn the stuff that we’re talking about.
DANI: And it does not matter what your background is – I have to let everybody know, because I have no background, basically, and it’s just a fantastic course. And it’s once again, totally Katy-digestible. Once a week.
KATY: You have no background at all? You just are – you don’t even, like, you’re just camouflaged or what?
DANI: Well, I’m not this genius, but this course is so well done. It’s so well done.
KATY: Oh, you are.
DANI: And so I’m glad you’re going to open it up again next year, that’s cool. So everybody pay attention, and just follow Katy, go follow Nutritious Movement or KatySays.com, and you can learn more about me, Dani Hemmat, movement warrior and hill lover at MoveYourBodyBetter.com. Thanks for listening! Bye!
We hope you find the general information on biomechanics, movement, and alignment informative and helpful – but it is not intended to replace medical advice and shouldn’t be used as such.
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