D: Thanks for listening! I’m Dani Hemmat, and I talk with Katy Bowman each and every show as she answers your questions about alignment, health, biomechanics, and all the good bits in between. Hey, Katy!
K: Good morning.
D: How’s the weather right now?
K: A little overcast right now, and I’m happy for it.
D: Yeah, it’s been kind of warm there in Washington, hasn’t it?
K: It’s been really hot. It’s been, like, uncharacteristically hot, but I think it’s also more that we just came back from a few weeks in California where it was dry, dry, dry. I mean, since I’ve been gone for 3 years, it’s gotten that much more so. I’m just – I don’t know, I’m a Washingtonian now. Like, I like cloud cover. I like moisture. Who knew?
D: Moisture’s important.
K: Yeah. It’s kind of essential.
D: Yeah, it matters.
K: It matters.
D: Okay, so. Every show, you answer one of my kooky questions, and it’s just a fun way for everybody to get to know everybody. My hope is that people listening will ask someone the same question that you and I ask each other, and the world will just be a friendlier place for it. So, are you ready for today’s question?
K: Yes, I’m scared. Bring it.
D: Don’t be, this one is awesome. If you could be one for just 24 hours, what cereal box cartoon character would you be?
K: Oh my gosh. Um…
D: And this could be one from your childhood, if there’s a cereal they don’t manufacture anymore. That’s fine, but you and I are the same age, so.
K: Yeah, and we don’t even eat cereal. I haven’t eaten cereal for years.
D: Yeah, but I know you liked it when you were a kid.
K: I did, and I loved sugary cereal when I was a kid because we were forbidden from having it. We were not allowed sugar cereals, which means – and all you parents including myself, any time you ban anything in the house, it essentially means your kids are going to go over to some other kid’s house and only do that activity for 7 hours in a row. Or in my case, go eat all the sugar cereal at my friend Suzie’s house.
D: Yes. Mine was KRAFT Macaroni and Cheese. That was my banned substance, so.
K: So I would say what popped right into my head was the Trix bunny.
K: I don’t know why. I don’t know why, but…I can’t imagine, but I guess just basically being told no all day long, right?
K: And called silly.
D: And he’s pretty inventive with his schemes. He was very inventive with schemes.
K: Yeah, I would say that maybe that’s me. And the other one is, uh, I don’t know. How about you?
D: Uh, for me it was Toucan Sam on the Froot Loops®.
K: Oh, follow my nose! It always knows!
D: Well, he lived in the jungle all day and that just seemed so cool to me. And he could hop from tree to tree, so that’s my choice.
K: But he’s also kind of obsessed with fruit flavored sugar cereal.
D: And the bunny wasn’t? The silly wabbit?
K: Yeah, I know. I know. I don’t – I’m not saying that I’m superior at all. I was just saying, like, I want to go back and change my answer. Now I’m thinking maybe the leprechaun from, uh,
D: Lucky Charms
K: Lucky Charms!
D: Sure. He was paranoid, though.
K: He was paranoid and, and, and that was a very fake Irish accent.
K: So he was offensive. Not only was he annoying, but he was offensive.
D: That’s awesome.
K: Okay, I can’t wait for your next question.
D: Oh, boy, I have got a slew of them, too. I can’t wait, either.
K: And there’s no way of training for it – at least people who go on Jeopardy can research this stuff. I just, like, that’s never on Jeopardy. That’s great. Next time I’m going to ask you a question.
D: Okay. I’m ready for it, too. It’s all about getting to know everybody, so I like that. And if you’re listening to this, hopefully you’ll go home and ask your significant other, or coworker about what kind of cartoon character on the cereal box they would be. So today’s subject is something I’m so excited about, because I wanted to just talk with you individually about it for some time, and I’ve had all these questions and I’m just beside myself with a geeky fervor because we’re going to discuss standing workstations and dynamic workstations today. Different than what most of use as workstations. You wrote a book that is not yet released, called Don’t Just Sit There. And I guess it’s coming out in the fall?
K: Yeah, hopefully. It’s an e-book and it’s part of a big, multi-media project that I’m doing with Mark’s Daily Apple, Mark Sisson of Mark’s Daily Apple.
K: So I wrote the book component and there’s video, a video tour. I basically made over the offices over at Primal Blueprint Nutrition, and I went and checked out Mark’s house to see if we could implement everything. So all of that’s on film, and Mark’s talking about all these things and questions that he had, and he just had some really great ideas. This was his brainchild and he asked me to write the book part of it and host the video part, so it’s been fun. We had a really good time creating it, and hopefully it’s out September or October. Keep our fingers crossed.
D: I’m so excited. You actually sent me kind of a draft that I could read through, and I can’t say that I’ve ever had a better time reading through your stuff than last night, and I love your books. But this one – aside from the typical belly laughs and hilarious way that you write, it’s your most digestible way that you have cut up and presented material, and I really think you’re going to reach a lot of people with this. I was wiggling my foot like a hungry lamb’s tail while I was reading it because I was just so worked up about it. I can’t wait until it comes out. Thank you for writing it, and now let’s talk about it.
K: Okay, let’s do it.
D: Let’s do it. So you just mentioned that it was Mark’s brain child, and you have kind of written this at the same time that you were writing Move Your DNA, is that correct?
K: Yeah, you know. I would say that what I spend most of my time writing, as many of you listening know, are blog posts. It’s really hard to present a comprehensive argument and solution in 1,000 words. So I’ve really enjoyed writing Move Your DNA which is the big book of everything. Because it’s the first time that you’ve really had a few hundred pages to follow logically through something, as opposed to the blog, which is all over the place. So again, though, in the book, because really every topic can be its own book, when I finished Move Your DNA I had certainly mentioned this – I mean, I had really flushed out the core principal of there is no one, best static position. And I applied that to everything, whether it was human development, whether you’re talking about your kids or yourself as an adult and how you spend your time, but the fact of the matter is, most people still spend most of their time at work, like, gag me, but that’s true. You are going to be at work or doing whatever it is your work, you’re going to be at your computer really more often than you’re going to be doing anything else – any one thing. You know, if you’re tracking the amount of time that you’re doing it. So when Mark had asked me to do a book on just work stations, I was super excited because then Move Your DNA is there as a reference, with like all of the more biomechanical arguments and science and genetic information laid out there. But now I can actually write a solution to the work place – the only problem was, I was working on the writing of Move – of, uh, Don’t Just Sit There while I was working on the edits and putting Move Your DNA to bed. So it’s totally insane to work on two books at one time, and I know that you’re a writer, so that you could understand the brain space to do projects at the same time. I just told everyone, I was just like, “Put me in a closet if I ever attempt to do this again.” It was just too much. But it was awesome, because I got to explain standing and sitting and lying down, and, as The Onion pointed out, fetal workstations.
D: Oh, that was good. I actually had assumed that you pulled this work out of Move Your DNA.
D: Not knowing it was Mark’s project, because it’s just – I mean, it really is intertwined with a lot of what you’re talking about.
K: No, I wrote it entirely fresh. It’s all fresh material.
K: And it’s quite long, I mean, it’s probably the equivalent of – it’s like 3 bonus chapters to Move Your DNA. Like, it’s 3 full chapters of long book chapters. It’s – by the time it’s laid out it’s going to be equivalent to almost a 100 page book, which is – by e-book standards, it’s quite long. It’s shorter for a publication book but it’s the most comprehensive thing ever written on making over your workspace.
D: I can vouch for that. And what I was thinking about on my walk this morning, when I was thinking about what I read yesterday, is that you are very bold and brave because I think what this book is going to do is take us in a quantum leap, because we’re still trying to convince people just to get off their rears, and everybody’s kind of saying, “Ok, well, we’ll stand all day then, fine.” And you’re saying, “Let’s not spend 25-30 years learning that this doesn’t work, either. Let’s just take this leap over standing all the time,” and realize that you can’t just be static; you have to be moving and be dynamic during your day at your workstation. And that’s really bold and kind of cool to try to save our culture a 30-50 year learning mistake.
D: Because that’s kind of how we operate. I mean, if somebody says, “Well, wooden shoes aren’t good.” Okay, well, we’ll have these kind of shoes, and then for 60-100 years we do this. And then you come in and say, “well, you don’t need these shoes at all. You don’t need this support.” Well, that’s tough to swallow and we’ve got to make up and fix all these ailments that we’ve accrued, and you’re trying to save us from all that. So you’re like a superhero, in a way, to me.
K: I’m like, uh, maybe a cartoon off a sugar cereal hero?
D: Obsessed, even! But your accent’s real and you’re not annoying, so you’ve got that going for you.
K: There you go. Well, it all depends on the listener. I’m sure there’s someone in a place that’s not the United States that’s going, “Oh, that accent is horrible!”
D: “She’s so fake!”
K: But I think that also, I wanted to point out, too, that yes – I think that a big message of Don’t Just Sit There is that the solution that we’ve come to with respect to the workstation is that we’ve set it up as the position of sitting to be the problem. And so, like you were saying kind of in your, um, I don’t know if it’s a metaphor or an analogy – you’d probably know – when you were linking it to shoes. IS that a metaphor or an analogy?
D: An analogy.
K: Yeah, So you’re saying that when you look at research – and this is the problem, that I would say that most people have with research – is why correlation and causation aren’t the same thing. You know, if you do a bunch of research on people who wear wooden shoes and you’re like, “Oh, your feet are wrecked, your knees are wrecked, your back is wrecked!” you can see that maybe if it’s a population of people who wear wood shoes, you don’t know if it’s the shoe or if it’s the wood. So then a logical solution would be like, great! Then we are going to start wearing shoes made out of pillows! And then you have 10 or 15 years and then the problem with evidence is that would look like an evidence-based decision. It’s like, we are using evidence to show that wood shoes are problematic, so therefore that supports our decision to move to pillow shoes. And it does. It doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s biologically plausible, but you know, it is a way to extrapolate a behavioral change from some evidence. And then you have pillow shoes for a long time and you build this research, and you know people who wear pillow shoes have maybe different problems but maybe they still have problems. And you can go through many, many cycles of this before someone sets up some sort of study to notice that it’s the shoes! And then really, it might not actually be the shoes but it might be the lack – I mean, with biology, there’s not just what you do, there’s also what you don’t do. So I’m not really necessarily convinced that wearing shoes itself should be blamed as the problem as much as our habits of not going without shoes. Wrap your head around that.
D: Well, that actually kind of leads me to what – you said so many things that were memorable and made me think. One of them was, I’m going to quote out of your book, ok? You said, “What makes a chair good is the frequency with which you choose not to use it.”
D: “Spend your energy on improving your musculo-skeletal health, not on a device that makes your tissue weaknesses less uncomfortable. Discomfort is nature’s way of letting you know that something is wrong.”
D: I know. And you wrote that! That’s just, wow! I mean, we all say to people we’re trying to help, well, pain is a signal. But you look at ways that we tried to make the tissue weaknesses less uncomfortable – I guess I never thought of it in that way. It’s very; even though this word is very overused it’s a very proactive approach by saying, don’t just make the weaknesses less noticeable. Focus on building up that health, and that strength.
K: Yeah. And it’s a point of view. I mean, I would say that a lot of people spend a lot of – they think that the pain that they’re having is the problem, instead of the signal. But did you watch the World Cup? Are you a World Cup fan?
D: I like soccer, but we don’t have TV, so I did not.
K: Oh. We don’t have a TV, either, but for some reason my husband made sure that we saw it streaming on the Internet. Anyway, my whole point that I had written something else about this, I think on Facebook, last week, which was the end of the World Cup. Um, well, there’s this new surgery where if you have some sort of foot pain, the surgery is an injection of sorts to get rid of the pain, and it’s for – according to the article – people who enjoy wearing high heels. This is something that facilitates that, and I had written kind of a little blurb where, pain is nature’s yellow card. It’s nature’s way of throwing a yellow card. So in soccer your yellow card is like a warning. But if you get – did I say yellow card? I meant yellow flag.
D: You said yellow card, which sounded like Candy Land to me, so.
K: I know.
D: But you know, I don’t know much.
K: You know what I mean.
D: Yeah. Yellow flag. Caution.
K: The yellow one.
D: Pay attention, that one?
K: But if you get a yellow, and you don’t really change your behavior, you get a red, and then you’re out. And there’s nothing you can do about it. So I had kind of thrown that out there, that our search to turn off the yellow cards is a sure way to get a red card. And there ain’t nothing you can do about a red card. When you’re out, you’re out. And there’s no surgery to fix a red card. There are people who, you know, a lot of times have a red card and will tell you that they spend the rest of their life just dealing with this issue and trying to control it. The point of fixing it isn’t even something in their mind at this point, so. Heed the yellow cards, heed the fire alarm. Heed the signal. Get out of the house; don’t search for how to turn it off.
D: And pay attention to the yellow flags, too, because
K: Well, that’s a fire alarm. Fire alarm and yellow flags are the warnings, the alarms. They are letting you know to change something.
D: I see lots of people with red flags that have been given the red flag and I so, you know, there’s no point in wishing what you could have done, but I really – I’m always hoping to catch the yellow flag people before they hit red flag.
K: And also, just for those listening – a lot of people think that they’re at the red flag stage and they’re actually at the yellow flag. So don’t let our crazy discussion about flags discourage you, because, you know, as long as that piece is still there, that body part’s still there, those nerves are still there, those muscles are still there, there’s still plenty of um, I don’t want to call it back pedaling, but forward motion that you can do to improve those areas. I just wanted to say that.
D: Okay, well, speaking of static positions, I don’t know about you, but I’ve been stretching my calves and rolling on a pinky ball, but I think we need a stretch break.
K: Oh, I’ve been stretching this entire time, so let me just tell you what I’m doing right now. I’m sitting in a v-sit, so that’s where your legs are spread out in front of you, wide. I’m on a pillow, because that helps me get a little tilt of my pelvis, which changes the stretch in the hips. So if you’re really tight through the hamstrings, um, sit up on something, and you can sit way high. Don’t feel like you can only be 203 inches. Like, if you need to sit in a chair, feel free to sit in a chair and do a wide, v-sit. So if you’re sitting in a chair or if you’re out on a walk, you can also just assume a straddle position and then if you’re on the ground you can lean forward, if you’re in a chair you can lean forward, if you’re standing you can bend forward. Go ahead and do that, which is going to put my head under the mike. I’m going to go around here. And then you can shift your torso from right to left, or you can – if you’re sitting on the floor you can move your upper body from right to left. If you are standing, like, say you were out walking and listening to this – and well done, you – you can shift your hips from right to left in that straddle forward bend. And you’ll feel, no matter how you are shifting your weight from side to side, you will feel kind of a wave of load pass through your right and your left legs. So are you doing it?
D: I am, I’m doing the standing version.
K: How’s it feel?
D: Pretty good.
K: How’s your right side compared to your left? Are they different, or the same?
D: I have a little bit of a cranky, kind of a cranky side from past accidents and stuff. I think everybody might have a funky side.
K: I have a cranky side from 3PM – 10PM. Can that be my cranky side?
D: Yeah, it can. Yes, it can. That feels good.
K: Oh, that was great. Thank you for that.
D: Thank you! And that actually kind of brings me to another cool thing that I – well, I think it’s cool that you wrote. You said in the book, “You want to build small, actual walks across the earth into your work day.” I think you were referencing treadmill desks.
D: “Walk for 3 minutes every half hour of your 8 hour work day.” Now that’s just so simple, I don’t even know how to digest it. But it was so simple. And you say, “If you do this, 3 minutes every half hour of your 8 hour work day, you’ll have been moving for an extra 48 minutes every day.” I can’t tell you how these 3-minute health breaks add up, but they really do. That’s such a simple solution, for anybody. 3 minutes. More people spend 3 minutes on Facebook, or checking their email. Three minutes for every half hour that you work – that’s easy, and simple, and to have almost an extra full hour of movement into your day – what a great tip.
K: Yeah, I’m just thinking – does that math sound right?
D: I don’t know.
K: That sounds like a little – I’ll have to go back and check that. Sometimes editors – people will edit my work sometimes and I’ll come back and be like, they’ll want to make it sound better, and I don’t blame them. I don’t blame them at all. Oh, I’m looking at a hummingbird!
D: Well, it’d be 6 times 8 so it’d be 48, right?
K: What’s that?
D: Isn’t that right, 6 times 8? Six minutes times eight?
K: Yeah, I guess that’s –
D: You were right.
K: In my mind, I was just thinking 8 hours, twice an hour, that would mean that you’d have to walk 3 minutes as soon as you got into the office. It’s totally doable. I think the sentiment is there.
D: Well, just thinking about ways to squeak in those little movement breaks that they really – it doesn’t have to be a half hour after work, with your duffle bag, at the gym.
K: Correct. And I think that also, too, you know, and I posted things of the like on Facebook before, about how you have to take breaks away from the screen, and I also mention the difference between sitting and screen time. So a lot of people take their desk break and then take their screens right with them, so there’s a zero break from the screen, you know what I’m saying?
D: Yes, I do.
K: You know what I’m talking about?
K: And the screen is, itself, a separate risk factor for disease. So it’s like, if you get out of a chair, if you took that screen with you it’s not the same thing as getting completely away from anything. But you can – when I was filming the Don’t Just Sit There video stuff, you know, everyone’s – we actually shot during a workday. I don’t work in an office; I’ve really taken a lot of pains to make sure that I don’t, starting as a teenager I knew that wasn’t going to be for me. But we were filming in a working office, and I was just – I was going crazy being in this office for 6 hours. The air quality, the lack of light – I kept going, “let’s open these, let’s open these sliding glass doors!” and they didn’t normally have them open because some people were cold, and some people were hot. This was in California, this was in Malibu.
D: So really severe weather.
K: Yes, the most perfect weather ever and it’s still on temperature control. And I was like, for goodness sakes! Let’s either take sweaters on or off. Let’s open this and get some fresh air. Everyone thinks and feels better, but I kept leaving. I had to keep leaving filming to go walk around the building – and there was a tree and I would just hang from it for one minute. I mean, these breaks were 2 minutes long. Maybe 2 and a half. But it was enough for me to keep, essentially what was a headache at bay. I’m really prone to work tension and stress, and when you’re thinking a lot and when you’re filming, you have to think on your feet and the only way to get out of that was going outside and just moving around for a couple minutes. It wasn’t, “man, I need an hour off,” or “I need to go meditate,” I didn’t have to do any of that. I just had to move for a couple minutes outside and I was good to go.
D: Which – and you say in your book that we get so overwhelmed by all the ways that we could improve that we feel paralyzed. We feel that if we don’t do everything perfectly all at once then we’re taking a step backwards. And you’re saying that just that one minute outside is enough to improve the situation.
K: If you only went outside for one minute once a day, that would be a step forward.
D: That would be a step forward. And also, you mentioned about the whole pooping and taking your screen time with you. I like that you could do that as long as it’s not – as long as it gives you free time away from the screen at another point in your day. So if you want to go into the stall at work and answer those important emails, that’s great if it keeps you from having to sit at your desk and do that. So kind of like that, you’re giving everybody wiggle room. You’re saying, yes, you can go do business on the pot if you want.
K: Yeah, as long as you are not doing what I tried to delineate between in the book was, I know for me that was a section on my personal stories. A lot of time, I will use my handheld device when I’m in the bathroom, doing a squat, if you will, on my Squatty Potty because it frees me up from – I’m already sitting there. I’m already sitting there, I’m already getting some unique joint loads, so I will take care of some business there if it saves me from having to be at my computer for the same amount of time. So if I’m on the toilet for 3 minutes, and I can respond to a couple emails or delegate a couple tasks, or return a few texts or whatever, um, I will do that. But I won’t do that if – I wouldn’t sit on the toilet and play games, or check a Facebook account. I wouldn’t use my break away from the screen to do something on another screen. I only do it if it saves me screen time or if it gives me more time with my kids being outside. Because that’s the whole reason I’m trying to work more in that kind of fashion, which is kind of a guerilla-style – a guerilla style fashion.
D: Or gorilla style, depending on how you sit.
K: Yeah, maybe it’s a little of both.
D: It’s guerilla gorilla when you’re on your Squatty Potty. You know, you just need to invent a new word for that. Just combine the two. We’ll just call it bonobo style, how’s that?
K: I mean, the word crapper comes to mind, but
D: No, it’s not going to fly, I’m sorry. Okay, we are at the end of our time. I want to remind everybody: if you are staring at a little glowing rectangle, or a big glowing rectangle, remember your eye breaks throughout the day, where you look out a window or you go outside and look at something far away and focus at it. I’ve been doing that for the last few weeks and what a difference it has made.
K: Isn’t it amazing?
D: Oh, boy. And it just takes just a second. It’s not even a whole minute if you want. It’s just 30 seconds.
K: You know, and I know that – it’s in my book. I taught you that. However, I didn’t look outside at anything far away until you just reminded me right now. The power of someone reminding you is so great, and you actually turned me on to that Time Out software.
D: Yes, that is a good one. That’s for Macs, and you put a link to that, I think on your blog or on Facebook.
K: Yeah, I put it on Facebook and I put it in the book because I found it so helpful. You can pre-set it just for eye breaks if you want to. It’ll just kind of dim the computer, and just look away!
D: Yep, and it’s free, which is fantastic.
D: There’s all sorts of tools and technology we can use to help us get away from our technology.
K: Ironic but wonderful.
D: Wonderful. You just gotta use what’s out there and do it well. Thank you so much for writing this book. I think we’re going to talk more about it later, just because I’m – I haven’t gotten my geekness out. I’m still really excited, and I’m just kind of wiping spittle off my mouth while I’m talking because I’m so happy you wrote this book and I can’t wait for its release.
K: Well, after you watch the video we’ll send you the whole package and maybe we can do a show with a Q&A or something. That’d be great.
D: Groovy, thank you. So what are you going to do for movement today? Because we’re coming on mid-morning for you.
K: Well, I am in the process of buying a house.
D: Really? In Washington?
K: In Washington. It’s a 100-year-old farmhouse on 2.5 acres.
D: Is this where you’re living now?
K: Yes. It’s about a mile away. And it’s got, like, ancient growth. I mean, ancient. Not ancient, it’s only 100 years old. But it’s got old fruit trees, and it has an old garden that was established. So basically what we’ve been doing is work on the property – like, it’s not really – like, I’m not doing major, major heavy type stuff, but clearing – all the berries are out – clearing vines and, um, moving hoses around to water stuff and doing extensive weeding and really things that are pretty natural in terms of movement. Being outside, the kids are running around.
D: Is this officially your house yet?
K: It’s not. We haven’t closed escrow, but.
D: But you’re on your way.
K: I’m doing the labor, so if not someone else is going to way benefit from my work. Although, I’ve already benefitted, so that’s one way of looking at it. That’s fine. But yes, it’s supposed to be ours, knock on wood.
D: Super cool.
K: Knock on old farm wood, which is what the house is made out of.
D: It sounds like it’s right up your alley.
K: Yeah, it’s – it’s small, it’s got – anyway, I don’t need to go on. But that’s what I’m doing for movement. It’ll be the process of getting the land prepared, and we’re getting turkeys and some sheep.
D: Excellent. Turkeys are a hoot. Let’s talk turkeys sometime, because I know some things about turkeys.
K: I bet you do! In fact, my next question is going to be some sort of turkey fact that you need to supply.
D: Oh, boy, have I got a slew of them. Gobble, gobble. Let’s go. All right, well, have a good rest of your day.
K: You, too.
D: And I will talk to you later.
K: All right. Thanks so much, Dani.
D: Bye bye.
Time Out APP: http://www.dejal.com/timeout/