Everyone knows we need to eat a broad diet of foods to obtain the diverse nutrients essential to our health. But what about a broad diet of movement?
In this excellent promotional video (also embedded below) for her book Move Your DNA, biomechanist Katy Bowman uses the analogy of food to highlight the gaps in our movement diet. According to Bowman, we are not moving enough, but just as importantly we are not moving enough in diverse ways.
As we engage in our habitual movement patterns each day, she suggests that we are like people who eat nothing but oranges. We may be getting enough calories — and plenty of vitamin C — but we are not getting the range of essential nutrients required for real health.
As Bowman says, “It’s essential that we understand that exercise is not equal to movement.” Many of us exercise everyday by riding our bikes to work, or walking the dog at the park in the evening, or perhaps going for a daily run. But each of these activities represents a repetitive movement pattern. They don’t capture the vast range of movements that have been essential parts of human health and development for thousands of years.
In this regard, Bowman’s video reflects an important understanding in the field of physical literacy: exercise and fitness are not synonyms for physical literacy. A person can exercise for years, but repetitive exercises won’t guarantee the development of the diverse movement skills needed to support a full state of well-being.