I can’t lie. When Breaking Muscle asked me to review “Movement Matters” by biomechanist Katy Bowman, I had a fanboy moment. As soon as I gathered myself, I pulled out my copy and re-read it. It’s even better the second time through.
In “Movement Matters,” Katy takes us on a winding ride, along the way exploring her main question:
What if we can make ourselves, our communities, and our planet healthier—all at the same time—by moving our bodies more?
She lays out a compelling case, and along the way she challenges us to think bigger about our conception of movement. Every page encourages us to rethink our assumptions and perspectives through compelling scientific explanations, relatable anecdotes (like, she’s actually funny), and intensely deliberate language.
“Movement Matters” will help you reframe not only your movement, but the words you use and the life you choose.
What really shines about this book is how Katy applies a “movement lens” to so many facets of our lives. The underlying theme is that we are a part of nature through and through, and as such we follow the same patterns and rules that the natural world does. Our problems—from myopia to achy joints to disconnected communities—all seem to crop up when we act as if we were somehow separate from nature (and the movement required to exist in it).
However, the title itself may be misleading. Yes, it’s a book about movement, but more importantly it is a book about awareness: awareness about our choices, and awareness of the assumptions we use to make those choices. In Katy’s eyes everything lives in context. Our bodies reflect the context we put them in. Our language reflects what we do and don’t do.
Hell, even our scientific research is influenced by our sedentary culture. As she says herself: she used to write as a bioMECHANIST, concerned with the mechanical loads we do and don’t give our bodies. This book is a distinct shift to Katy as a BIOmechanist; her focus is rooted in the interconnectedness of the natural world (humans included).
A Word Of Caution
As such this can be a harrowing line of inquiry. We’re swimming in the deep end here. The book itself is easily accessible, but it raises challenging questions. It leaves you uncomfortable at times. Katy calls us out on just about every line of BS we’ve settled for in health and fitness and opens our eyes to the imminent solution: move more, and in more ways. She’ll be the first to admit: this runs counter to what’s considered “normal” in our culture. A movement-oriented lifestyle (you know, the kind humans lived for millennia) is distinctly abnormal these days. But we shouldn’t limit discomfort to our training stimuli. Growth happens at the edges, and “Movement Matters” will challenge you to grow.
Katy sets the stage perfectly in the introduction:
“You have a role in the ecosystem, and it’s not a static position at the top of the food chain as you were taught. Your role is a dynamic one, critical to all the other living things on this planet.”
In “Movement Matters” you’ll find radical new clarity on how to fulfill that role in a meaningful way. Do not expect a list of exercises or go-to movements. Expect to shift your perspective. Don’t expect an easy read. Expect an engrossing one, one that will leave you not only a better “mover,” but a better human animal.
A review to help mobilize your muscles: