What ARE you doing with your arms when you’re walking? What about uphill? What if you’re holding a dog leash? Let’s get down to arm-swing town with Katy as she breaks down the biomechanics of using those dangly things that hang from your shoulders.
DANI: Welcome to the Katy Says podcast where Dani Hemmat and Katy Bowman talk about movement: The tiny details, the larger issues, and why movement matters.
KATY: I'm Katy Bowman, biomechanist, and author of Move Your DNA.
DANI: and I'm Dani Hemmat, the chronically curious movement teacher.
KATY: And we have a new theme song!
DANI: We have a new theme song!
KATY: Actually we have a different version of our theme song because we know you loved it and we loved it too but we went homemade. We went to a little DIY.
DANI: We did
KATY: Which is kind of the theme - well it's been the trend I would say in understanding movement, right? From the laboratory mixed to them or do it yourself like that thing so we thought we'd adjust the theme song to match.
DANI: And reframing. It's always good to reframe the way you look at things.
KATY: Sure. It's good.
DANI: Which is the best part of the podcast for me.
KATY: Yeah. And mixing it up. Mixing it up. Changing dynamic. All those things. Any other changes? Slightly new format to the show. New image. But other than that. Same... well new co-host. We're gonna bring on Bob.
DANI: Ha! This'll be my last show so thanks, everybody. It's been great!
KATY: No, Bob's replacing me. I'm out!
DANI: Oh! Excellent. Bob and I can just sit around with our thumbs in our ears.
KATY: It's also gonna be on Sci-Fi going forward so I hope it doesn't mess anybody up.
DANI: I'm so glad of all these changes. I had no idea. This is great.
KATY: We like to keep you in the dark. So anyway.
DANI: We hope you like it all as much as we had fun doing it.
KATY: And see ya later!
DANI: Just time for a new coat of paint on the old gal.
KATY: All right, so third year. It's the third year.
KATY: This show is 3 years old!
DANI: I'm thinking this is actually episode 60.
KATY: Yeah. I think so too.
KATY: We've looked back at a lot of the shows. Just so you know Dani and I, although it doesn't seem like we're that together 100% of the time, we actually do try to plan out show topics and recording schedules for the year. And so I had a big hand in maybe the next seven or eight shows. Because there's gonna be a big hunk of shows on my upcoming book, Movement Matters, which you have not read yet.
DANI: I can't wait!
KATY: But it's comin' your way!
DANI: Gimme gimme!
KATY: And Bob's way. I'm sending you and Bob both a copy so you can discuss. Bob, that's a joke!
KATY: And so those shows ...
DANI: Bob didn't think that was very funny!
KATY: I know, Bob's like, "Are they talking about me?" Those shows I would say are going to be, they're paradigm-shifting shows. So, of course, there's a lot of paradigm shifting stuff on our podcast, but sometimes it's not so much about the analysis of movement and the way that we're used to analyzing movement, which is like the movement of your elbows, and your shoulders, and your knees, and your hips; it's more about the role of movement in the world and what does it mean to be a sedentary culture. Right? So these are big ideas. We've done a lot of those shows. We have a lot of those shows coming up because there's a whole entire book for the first time on that level of understanding movement. Movement ecology. However, I still, for one, and you, the chronically curious movement teacher, I think, still appreciate the elbows and the knees and the hips type analysis. Am I right?
DANI: Yeah. It's always good to go back to that and just kind of - for those people that don't, you know, haven't gone there yet, it's very eye opening and educational and helps you tie things together. And yeah, like you said, sometimes we start thinking about the bigger picture and it is kind of nice just to go back and pick the bones.
KATY: Well you're going to go back and forth, right? We've done a lot. I mean I've spent 10 years detailing the knees and the hips and the shoulders. So it's a natural evolution for me to now be thinking of the bigger picture. I mean, I've been in the minute picture for really over 20 years. So if you're just going, "I'm just into the smaller - well not smaller - but into the more intricate level of analysis of movement," you usually do start there first. There's plenty of resources to continue doing that. This show will be one of them. But for me, I'm at a place where I'm considering a much larger picture. And I like to show how the larger picture refers back to the smaller pictures, so if this is the first show, just know that that's where you are. It's like there's a global ...
DANI: It'll be ok
KATY: and there's a local
DANI: It'll all be ok.
KATY: Well that's a long way for saying today's show is a good old-fashioned discussion about arm swing. All right? So it's not about movement on the other side of the planet as much as it is right now with what's happening in your shoulders when you walk. So maybe you're listening while you're out walking, which would be awesome. And if not, I would say that there's a lot of movement in this particular episode. There's some movement that we can do. Dani has no idea what I'm going to be talking about.
DANI: None. None.
KATY: She was like, "What are you gonna do about arm swing?" So, I'm going to take over this show as ...
DANI: Bob and I are just gonna sit back and say rude things under our breath.
KATY: That's ok.
DANI: Go for it.
KATY: Wouldn't be the first time. All right. So arm swing. Do you remember a show, I think it might have been, Dani, in the first one, two or three shows. Or it might have even been in the shows where we were practicing doing a podcast. Which was the first 57 shows.
DANI: Ha. I think that's like the first 50 right? (Laughs).
KATY: Exactly! I remember that you were saying - we were talking about walking - and did you attach your dog leash to your waist or?
DANI: Oh yeah. I was complaining or saying something that I have a little waist belt because I felt like I couldn't swing my arms the right way. I was all tense holding a dog leash. I have 3 dogs - or had 3 dogs.
KATY: Right. Yeah. So arm swing is a natural phenomenon. It's actually called reciprocal arm swing. And it's that thing that happens when you're out walking; the coordination of your arms with your legs. The fact that when your left leg goes back, your opposing right arm goes back. Right? So you can recognize, right, my husband and I were taking a walk and he's like have you ever tried to walk same arm same leg. So if you're out there right now, this is a movement break. Try to take a few steps where your left leg and your left arm come forward and then your right leg and your right arm come forward and you're gonna feel like a very strange kind of robot creature.
DANI: Yeah, feel like Frankenstein. Like Peter Boyle.
KATY: Which is perfect for our new sci-fi podcast. This is how we walk. So, it's opposite. And the reason it's opposite is that the purpose, really, of reciprocal arm swing or the function that it serves, is that when you're leg goes behind you when you're walking ... so keep in mind that a lot of people will walk without their leg going back, where their force is not pushing their leg back. So that's that posterior push off where you're on one leg and it rows behind you to propel you forward.
DANI: Can you just break that down? Sorry to interrupt. But why wouldn't somebody use posterior push off? What would they be doing to move their leg?
KATY: Well the other way to walk would be to lift your leg out in front of you and fall forward.
DANI: Like a marionette.
KATY: Yeah or walking on a treadmill. If you're walking on a treadmill, that's why I talk so much about treadmills. Treadmills will kind of reverse the propulsion. The movements are still similar. You still see your legs swinging out and back. This is all in Move Your DNA if you want to investigate more. Instead of your arms going front to back but the work is on the front part, Right? You're using the front of your leg to lift it out in front of you and then leaning your torso forward to let gravity pull you forward, as opposed to if you stand on one leg right now and don't lean forward, if you just push, I'm on my right leg, if you just push your right leg back into the ground. It's kind of like if you were gonna slide back like with an ice skate but you don't let it slide, you let that kind of traction and that joint action move your pelvis forward. That's what we call posterior push off. So the work is behind you. You're actually working the muscles on the back of your leg and the net result is you go forward. So you've got this, your leg is heavy. It's a heavy, long piece of your body. So when you have a heavy long piece of your body move behind you, it's connected to your pelvis and so when you put that leg behind you, the tendency for that leg moving behind you is to also take, I'm talking about my right leg, the right half of your pelvis behind you with it. So it's like if your right leg goes back, it twists your pelvis to the right. So you've got his kind of big twist happening up in your body that could cause your entire torso, instead of going forward, to kind of all, whole body, turn to the right as your leg goes back. Which would mean that as you are trying to walk forward your whole body was swinging to the right and to the left and to the right and to the left with every step. So you have different mechanisms for balancing out that tendency of rotation. So my right leg goes back behind me. Simultaneously, my left arm goes back behind me, which kind of counteracts that tendency for rotation. Does that make sense?
KATY: Ok. So that's one of the benefits of arm swing. Now your arm going back is not the only counter-er of that leg going back. You also have psoas muscle that can brace yourself on the opposing side and you have obliques. And then you have spinal rotators that are all doing the same thing. They're all kind of firing at the same time to counteract that tendency to rotate. So when you were talking a long time ago - and it might even have been not even that one was in the first few episodes. But it might have been Gait lab. This would be a good time to revisit a podcast that we did called Gait lab. When we were talking about what's the right way to walk right?
DANI: Well and just things to pay attention to. There's so many things you don't think about. I mean I'm sure some people listening right now are thinking, "Don't I push off with my feet?" You know, they're just reassessing the whole thing.
KATY: They didn't hear anything we said the last six minutes. So arm swing, and I think it was your comment, going back to that first few episodes where you're like, "you need to be using your arms when you walk" and yes, you need to but at the same time sometimes your arms need to be doing other things. This idea that we can have this perfectly balanced symmetrical left arm going back with the right leg, really requires that you have a hands free kind of life. Which means your walking is not really ever to do anything else with your arms.
DANI: Right it's just for walking.
KATY: Which is a very unnatural - that's not necessarily natural gait. It could be one element of it. The fact that your arms swing reciprocally is natural but that you do that the entire time is not natural.
KATY: It would be much more natural, I mean, were you in nature, to be carrying something with your arms.
KATY: I mean why are you always walking around not doing anything.
DANI: Because my sherpa is taking care of everything else so I can swing my arms.
KATY: Exactly. So that brings us to the larger global picture of why we perceive things to be natural relative to our personal experience. See Movement Matters. Anyway. So, we used to have a movement break but for this episode there's just gonna be a whole lot of movement and we might give you a non-movement break. So you're gonna stand with your arms down by your side. Now if you lifted - or go ahead and lift your right arm in front of you.
KATY: So lift your arm up and let it drop. And then lift it up again in front of you and then let it drop. And you can do that with your left arm as well. You can actually do both arms at the same time. You lift your left arm or both out and then let them drop and they swing backwards. Right?
KATY: Lift them up in front of you. You're doing the work on the front of your shoulder. And then when it drops you're not doing the work on the back of your shoulder, gravity is moving it backwards.
KATY: So if you are trying to go "What's my net muscle development for moving my arms up and then letting them drop back down, " it would not be a balanced muscle on the front to a muscle on the back because the front action of your arm going forward is active and then the movement backwards is passive.
KATY: Gravity did it. All right so you would not expect to see equal balanced musculature. Now start with your arms down by your side again. Reach, you can do both arms at the same time, back behind you. You're working the back of the arm. Back of the shoulder, triceps, yes?
KATY: And then let them drop. And they swing forward. Right?
DANI: Uh huh.
KATY: And then you're gonna work your arms back behind you. You're lifting - the work is behind you. And then you're gonna go ahead and let them drop. So you have movement in both cases but in this case, the muscular development, theoretically, that you would get from doing this so many times would be on the backs of your arms. Right? Because the back would be, even though you are moving front to back, if you go a little bit faster and if you pick them up behind you and let them relax and pick them up behind you and let them relax and pick them up behind you and let them relax. Despite the movement being front to back, you're producing more force in the direction behind you. So you're using more of your musculature behind you. The front is a relaxing swing that gravity is creating. So, when you move, when you're generating force with your leg behind you, it's not only that your arm is moving back behind you, it's that you're actively reaching your arm behind you. Right?
KATY: So, if you're pushing off posteriorly, on the opposite side of your body, your arm is also reaching back. Likewise, if you have that kind of reverse gait, where you're doing your leg in front of you, then you're likely picking your arms up in front of you too and then relaxing your arm back. As you are relaxing your leg back too.
DANI: Is that just because it would be a natural... I mean why?
KATY: That would be the natural balance. Yeah.
DANI: Ok. Got it.
KATY: I mean the reciprocity is balancing out the forces. It's not a natural posterior action. It's just your arm is going to do whatever it needs to do to counter the tendency to rotate. If your shoulders are super, super tight, though, where they're unable to do the balancing work, then your other parts of your body that counter that rotation are going to have to kick it up a notch. Right?
KATY: If your spine has a tendency to rotate, let's say my left leg goes behind me, if my spine has a tendency to rotate to the left, then I'm gonna twist my spine back to the right and hold it tense, right? To keep it going. So when you've got super, super tight shoulders, you are effectively naturally increasing your need for tension in the psoas, for tension in the trunk, for really bracing your trunk altogether.
KATY: So it's just another reason why - it's a whole body thing. You know what I mean? If those shoulders aren't going, then something else has to be balancing. Unless you're YAW-ing. YAW... it's the physics term for the rotation about a polar axis - an axis that goes like straight up and straight down, rotating your whole entire body about it when you go.
DANI: So if somebody were curious, like "Am I doing this when I'm walking?" is there a little ...
KATY: Which part?
DANI: Well the tight shoulders making everything twist with them. Can they just watch themselves just walk down the hall toward the mirror or?
KATY: You know what is a really great cheap biofeedback tool? Lanyards.
DANI: Plus they're super cool.
KATY: Exactly. All the cool kids are wearing lanyards. But if you put a lanyard on and it's swinging side to side, it could be that you’re actually rocking side to side but it could be that you're twisting. The easiest way is to just watch your pelvis.
KATY: You can see if your pelvis is twisting or if your chest is twisting. You just have to, sometimes, just pay more attention and if it's, if you feel like, as soon as you pay attention, you're no longer doing the thing, then have someone videotape you walking.
DANI: Oh that's a good idea.
KATY: And have someone videotape you from the same and from the front so that you can get a sense of the different planes of action because some motions you can't see from one particular view.
DANI: That's true. That's a really good idea.
KATY: Ok. So, arm swing. Yeah.
KATY: And that's a wrap everybody!
DANI: Is this another practice one?
KATY: Yes. Episode 1-67, practice episodes everybody.
DANI: You crack me up.
KATY: Well, I guess it's just another piece to pay attention to; to dissect this idea of movement. Here's the other thing that I was going to say. Is your arm swing, like I said, the reciprocity is the natural part, but the direction of it is not necessarily the natural because what happens when you start going uphill? Or downhill. Now the physics of your gait are going to change a little bit. Or fast versus slow. So one thing that I do in our gait labs for our teachers is have them walk really really slow. So as you walk really really slow, I don't even say anything, I'm like "ok walk really slow from point a to point b. Ok turn around and come back. Now we're going to go from point a to point b and I want you to go as fast as you can." And what you will see is no arms moving on the first one because you don't need reciprocal arm swing because you're not really counteracting the backward motion of your legs. So if I'm walking, it's not that my left leg is going back and so, therefore, my right arm goes back. It's that my left leg is going back quickly, which is going to kind of tend to accelerate and rotate my pelvis with it. But if the movement is slow you're not going to see the need to balance it with ...
DANI: That makes sense.
KATY: Right? So if you go slow you'll see that your arms just kind of hang down by your side. And this is why a variability in speeds is nice because there are natural things that happen in different speeds. When you go very, very fast, you're going to see your arms start pumping and actually if I had them go slow and medium and fast, you would see no arms on the slow. On the medium, you would have a longer arm working hard going backwards. Super fast, what happens to your arms naturally? And if you want to go take a few laps as fast as you can around your room what you will see is that your arms bend.
DANI: Yeah, I was going to say that you kind of bend, just naturally.
KATY: Yes so the natural bend is great. The natural bend is a response to the speed. But what do we do when we go out to go speed walking, besides put on all of our speed walking pants and special hats...
KATY: Headbands, sunglasses and butt pack full of goo. Eighty percent goo. We pull our arms to the bent position. Like you are faking the natural responses and it's like people are walking really slow with their arms bent because they're like, "This is the form for walking," right?
KATY: So you're projecting on your body what you think is supposed to be happening, doing the slower version of what other people are doing as fast and hard as they can. So there's a natural tendency to flex your elbows once you start going really, really fast. Because now, not only do you have to counteract backwards, when you're walking really fast you're also pulling your leg forward really fast, right? So the work isn't only backwards. The work is back and then it's swinging through and naturally it's shortening, or bending at the knee, to shorten the leg, right? So you can pull your leg through faster if it's a shorter limb. There's less resistance for it coming forward. So you bend it. You're not consciously doing it. Your body is all doing it for you. And same thing with your arms. Your arms have worked back really hard and then you're swinging through and then you are actually swinging through in this flexed position. So my larger point is stop faking it. Stop faking the form. Just do the activity and see what form you naturally beget. That you don't start out holding your elbows at 90% and pump your arms. Let your arms relax down by your sides, start going, and see what happens naturally. Because your body knows the right angles and speeds to hit better than you do with your mind and its current relationship with all these things you've been told about how to move.
KATY: If that makes sense.
DANI: Which is pretty clear if you try to run with your arms straight.
KATY: Well that's what I have people do. I was like "you have to walk as fast as you can but don't move your arms." So these are, like, fun things you can do. For those of you who homeschool, if you wanted to teach kind of anatomy/physics lesson, walking is a really great way to do it and you can use reciprocal arm swing as a really great lesson to kind of play with. Like, oh there's like: one, it's a category of many different things and has different directions of forces and if you try to take it out walking becomes very labor intensive, right?
KATY: Because if you have no arms and you're trying to walk fast, your core has to lock down, to keep your pelvis from going, plus you're missing how much work your arms are creating by pushing back. You know, you're actually pushing against the air behind you a little bit to help you move forward. So it's very fun to see the whole body nature of walking. I find it fascinating, anyway. So what else that. Ok so uphill and downhill. When you go uphill and downhill, once you start going up, there's more work. When you're climbing let's say hill, like a 45-degree hill, when you're walking on flat ground, there's not a lot of work to be done in front of you. At a leisurely pace. Let's just say you’re going, you know, walking... what's the word, sauntering? Is that the good word?
DANI: Yeah. If you're just...
KATY: You're just meandering, you're not...
DANI: I think meandering means you're making a turn here and there. So just sauntering is good. You're just going from point A to point B.
KATY: Yeah, it's just an easy going walk. You're not doing a lot of work with your legs out in front of you. The bulk of that work really should be behind you. But once you start going uphill, you have to take the weight of your leg and lift it up 10 inches higher than where it normally rests. So it's a lot of hip flexion action. Like you're actually pulling your leg up towards the ceiling. So that's work. You're lifting, not only are you lifting the weight of your leg, it's like "uuuu uhhhh" and then you set your heavy leg down up in front of your and then from that leg you push off "whooooop" and then do the same thing with that next leg. Right? So there's a lot of active lifting of the legs out in front of you. So what do you imagine the arm swing would be doing as you're going uphill? Pop quiz everybody.
Jeopardy Music. Katy humming (sort of)
DANI: I wish somebody would answer this... she's just looking at me...
DANI: Uhhhh Arm...arm...
KATY: continues humming
DANI: push back I think... I just hiked so much this weekend too, let me think.
KATY: Ok, so if I'm lifting my leg up in front of me...
DANI: I think I'd be pushing back more with my arms. Is that right?
KATY: Well, you're not going to do the same thing with arms. Right? So watch this. So it's left leg. My left leg goes up, what do you think my right arm is gonna do if my left leg is going up in front of me, which direct is my right arm ...
KATY: Right the opposite side's gotta match. Unless you hike left arm... if you hike left arm and leg going up, then you are a bigger nerd than I ever imagined. Here we go here we go... yes.
KATY: So we have reciprocity right? So it's gotta be opposite. And if you're working your leg up, then you're gonna be working your arm forward too. Like so it's not only the motion that matches, it's the direction of force production.
KATY: Um. Now, that all being said, once you... like that's just the motion of getting your left leg and your right arm to match ... once you actively push that left leg back to get up to the next step, what is your opposite arm gonna do?
KATY: hums jeopardy
DANI: Ask it again?
KATY: So I've got my left leg up on the hill. Now I have to put all my weight on it, right? So what's my right arm going to do...
DANI: As I put my weight on it, probably swing back.
KATY: Yes right? Because technically my left leg is swinging back behind me too.
DANI: Right right so I'm pushing yeah...
KATY: And you're gonna be working that arm just as hard as you're working the leg, relatively speaking. Meaning that you're digging into the earth and you're pushing down and back and your right arm is gonna do the same. Which is why you really do use your arms. And I think that's why people are starting to use a lot of poles. It's because they're trying to parlay arm work to compensate for maybe some missing leg strength. Or it's a way of sharing the work with more of their limbs.
DANI: Is that what that is?
KATY: Yeah, yeah. Definitely. If you hike with poles...
DANI: I would have to say 80% of the hikers I encountered had poles and I was thinking it was for balance and stability because, and they were people ...
KATY: That too.
DANI: all ages. So I just didn't know.
KATY: It's balance and stability and it's also to parlay some of your arm motion into the ground so that your backward action doesn't have to solely come from your legs.
KATY: The question is, is it really a necessity and do we want to strengthen our body relative to poles or would you be like, "I gotta get my body..." you know, I think if you're a person who doesn't move a lot on a regular basis it's probably a nice way to accomplish a longer hike because you're sharing the work over more parts of your body. But when you start depending on outside things for endurance, or for balance, or for strength, that's putting some of it outside of your body. So you just wanna look at the sustainability of that over time.
KATY: Ok so now downhill. And take it away. You totally could. So you're standing on a hill and ...
DANI: I couldn't teach it as well as you could.
KATY: This is like zork. Or dork. Or whatever that video game is called. You're on a hill. You are looking down. There is a pot of gold to your left, an old farmhouse to your right... you know what I'm talking about?
DANI: Rig...no. That sounds like it was too cool for me.
KATY: You never played those. You never had a Commodore 64 and the video game was just text. Go southwest.
DANI: No, Was that like Oregon trail? Stuff like that?
KATY: I don't know. You lift up the wood. Oh! You got bit by a spider. You're dead. Go back to the beginning and I was like "yes!" Oh gaw...
DANI: Ok, well it seems like...
KATY: If you know what I'm talking about would someone please ... Otto, Otto you have to know what I'm talking about. Otto, please.
DANI: Poor Otto! Whoever knows what she's talking about, send...
KATY: Send a link
DANI: Send a confirmation and also a video of you running with your arms straight down at your sides to
KATY: Thank you. And me. Please. That would be awesome!
KATY: And Bob. Don't leave out Bob.
DANI: Yeah. Well it seems like you don't want to fall, right? When you're walking downhill. I'm spitballing here.
KATY: Yes. So going downhill you are falling.
KATY: When you go downhill your tendency is to go downhill. So when you're going downhill you're essentially keeping yourself from falling downhill. So everything changes. Your arms and legs are still moving, yes. But you're preventing a fall. You're slowing yourself. It's different. So, um, as you go down, as your leg moves out in front of you... if my left leg moves out, like I'm on my right leg because I'm gonna take a step down with my left leg, my left leg is going out in front of me, which direction is my right arm going.
DANI: Well, I would want to be having my torso go back toward the hill, so probably, it would go up, wouldn't it?
KATY: You just have to go, if you're left leg's going forward, your right arm is going forward. It's opposite.
DANI: Yeah yeah.
KATY: So if my left leg is going forward, because I'm gonna step down. I get down because I'm gonna bend my right knee and drop the left side of my hip a little bit which is gonna be using the muscles of my right leg. That left arm's gonna go forward but it's like pushing, it's swinging forward actively which helps keep me pushing back into the hill right?
DANI: I was gonna say a lot more active. Like a lift rather than a swing back.
KATY: Yeah. So as you're going down, the work of your arms is really forward because that's, if you swung back really hard, you're just going to go pitching forward down the hill right? So it's like you're sitting back with your hips a little bit and you're swinging actively forward with your arms and all of that is what keeps you in the hill. So I just thought that everyone would really appreciate a good old fashioned biomechanical breakdown of arm swing. Am I wrong?
DANI: No. You are right. And can I just say, when you came out to visit, I hadn't finished the fifty-two weeks bio course. Are you gonna do that every year? Are you gonna put that out again?
KATY: No, because that will be a book. So that's eventually...
DANI: Well when the book comes out y'all have to get it...
KATY: It's not coming out for 2018. So don't ask me. I'm not doing any books besides
DANI: Oh like I'm pushing you to write a book? Please. Everybody's writing me letters. Stop with the writing books.
KATY: Stop with the pressure. Stop with the pressure, Dani.
DANI: Make her stop. Laughs. I'm a slave driver. Ok. We went for a walk. You had a coffee mug, a jar, that you had your coffee in. Or a cup or something. And I'm like, "you wanna leave that here?" Because we were going to walk in the prairie dog town and you're like, "No, I'll carry it". And then you finished it halfway through the walk and I was like, "You can leave that here and we'll pick it up on the way back." And you're like, "No I'll carry it". And you go, "People don't carry things enough." And I started to think about it because I hadn't finished the course. And so then I was just on a mission because I just thought about for about an afternoon. I was like, “Yeah, I've been so concerned about that perfect reciprocal arm swing that I didn't think about the bigger picture.” And you're right. Unless you've got a sherpa doing everything for you, life necessitates you're gonna have to haul some stuff. And you're not gonna be able to swing your arms.
KATY: No. And the thing is, that's what I mean, all of your core muscles. You know, your arm swing is also... you know we think of our...
DANI: You're just so smart...
KATY: You think of your ... I'm actually just the opposite. I'm just a hyper worker is what it is.
DANI: Well thank you for thinking about this and bringing it up. Because then now I just see everything in terms of, "I gotta carry it". Like I go into the grocery store and I try not to grab a cart now.
KATY: Right. Or a backpack, right? Loading everything into a single pack on your frame because you don't want to use your arms. You do not wanna... no one wants to use their arms. And they don't realize it because that's the good thing. Right? Like it's, "Put that down. It's gonna be so hard for you to carry something in your hands." And meanwhile, you're like, “My fingers are swelling when I'm walking.” And it's like, yeah, because you're doing... they're not do nothing vessels for holding blood. They are active tools that have gone underused your entire life.
DANI: Poor forgotten fingers.
KATY: You know, like there's just so many things and we just get used to not ... like hands-free as being a natural state. And I'm like, it's the opposite of a natural state. Walking around and doing nothing with your arms is really only made by an ultra convenience society. And look, we're back to Movement Matters again.
KATY: Which is pre-sale-ing now, everybody.
DANI: Is it?
KATY: It just... it should go up today when we're recording this. And this won't be out until after that. So yeah!
DANI: Oh sweet!
KATY: I know! I know!
DANI: Well put me down for one cuz that's...
KATY: I'm sending you one at the end of this show. You're gonna get an advanced copy because we're gonna do a whole entire show based on how you, Dani, read it.
KATY: I want to, like, how you...
KATY: I can't do a show with everyone, how they read it. But I can do one with you. And I'm excited.
DANI: Excellent. I'm excited too. Well, and just thanks for opening up. I mean, I've already learned to use my arms in so many different ways pre that comment that you made to me but then that just, it brought in the rainbow loads of movement. Carrying things on one side. Switching things. And, you know, it's really, you've taught me a lot of good things but something I cherish is, it's really not bad to be uncomfortable.
DANI: And, and we kind of have spent all this time as a society being as comfortable as we can and we don't want to be uncomfortable, but that's really not a terrible thing. To be uncomfortable.
KATY: It's also, it's making you sick. And uncomfortable. Ironically.
DANI: What? Being comfortable. I know...
KATY: So it's like your comfort, moment to moment, is like what, over time, accumulates into the thing that brings you the greatest, you know, physical and mental discomfort. So...
KATY: ...having control over when you can be uncomfortable by parlaying this discomfort is me, what it feels like to adapt to the things I want to be able to do. That's what's uncomfortable about it all.
KATY: And the discomfort goes away over time, so.
DANI: Yeah, and then you just, you feel good. You know. You don't, like, like you said, you not always comfortable, but you always feel good.
KATY: Right. And you're always moving right. That's the ... the discomfort. I would propose that the bulk of discomfort that you feel is the feeling that ... that's what movement feels like. It's just not movement that you're used to because you're used to the exercising movements but the discomfort that you are feeling, that's what movement feels like.
DANI: Yeah. Just a sensation.
KATY: It's outside of your normal movements and you're like "Ahh I don't like that." I'm like, that's movement. That cold, those chills, that's the movement to warm you up.
KATY: It's like this is movement.
DANI: Yeah. I was hiking with a friend on Friday and she was like, "Yeah I don't... yeah I was listening to something Katy said and then I thought about goosebumps, blah blah blah, so I don't towel off anymore. I just drip dry." And I was like, "Huh." Afterwards I went home, showered, didn't towel off. Holy guacamole! You can get goosebumps for a really long time and survive.
KATY: And be stronger for it.
DANI: It's amazing.
KATY: I just saw something that said: It's not cold and flu season. It is the season in which you lose your adaptations because you stop going out in the sun and stop going outside. And I was like oh that's such a good way to put it...
DANI: Oh yeah
KATY: It's the season or you've removed yourself from nature so much that you can't deal with the things that are around you all the time.
KATY: So stay adapted.
DANI: Wow. That was good.
KATY: I thought so. I didn't write it.
DANI: mmm. Laughs.
KATY: All right my friend. Well...
DANI: Cool. Well, I think that is it. We're just gonna keep on going with this stuff. I think it's really gonna be an interesting few months and hopefully when that book comes out... so pre-order.
DANI: Now. We can pre-order it now. And good one on ya.
KATY: Ok. And I just wanted to also, on our way out, send a big huge thanks to Dan MacCormack and Penelope Jackson who played all of the instruments and recorded that new theme song.
DANI: Expertly and passionately done. It's so great.
KATY: Yeah. You can find Dan MacCormack. He's amazing. I mean they're both amazing. Dan's got an amazing album out. But you can find them on twitter if you want to. We can link to them in the show notes and play some other cool stuff from them coming up because they're a great band. A great duo!
DANI: Out of Nova Scotia
KATY: Out of Nova Scotia. Halifax, Nova Scotia!
DANI: Have you ever been there?
KATY: I have
DANI: Is it nice?
KATY: It's great. I have sat in personally and listened to Dan and Penelope jam. So...
KATY: While I was eating jam.
DANI: Oh, no way.
KATY: I don't know, I might not have been eating jam. I can't remember.
DANI: Yeah. You're such an exaggerator.
KATY: Maritime... Maritime's a great...
DANI: Let's listen to the whole thing. Here's the whole song.
KATY: All right.
KATY: Thanks for listening everybody. For more information...
DANI: Thank you so much.
KATY: I'm not... I was gonna give some more information.
DANI: Oh. Ok.
KATY: For more information, books and online exercise classes you can find me, Katy Bowman at NutritiousMovement.com. You can find more from Dani Hemmat at MoveYourBodyBetter.com. And we have no contact information for Bob at this time.
DANI: Nope. Thanks for listening.
KATY: All right. Bye!
VOICE-OVER: 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.