We know there is a clear link between exercise and stress reduction, and nature and stress reduction. But if we aren’t moving enough or getting outside enough, what happens?
Human movement is at an all-time low, leading to children facing both a movement and nature deficiency with mental, physical, and environmental consequences. We can blame technology and modern conveniences for this more inactive lifestyle, but we can also take action and make some changes in our family’s routine to get moving more.
In Grow Wild: The Whole-Child, Whole-Family Nature-Rich Guide to Moving More, Katy Bowman offers a fun, simple solution to this movement problem. She focuses on ways to stack our life for richer experiences that involve more movement.
First, let’s take a look at the history of movement that Katy highlights so well in the beginning of her book. She points out that each technological step forward during the Industrial Revolution and Information Age was also a step toward decreased movement. Sadly, we are now in a time of rapidly accelerating sedentarism (the habits and routines associated with relatively low levels of activity and movement), with children having never moved as little as they move today.
Katy writes, “For almost the entire human timeline, movement has been woven into all aspects of humanity, beginning at birth. Eating, learning, dressing, playing, building, foraging, celebrating, and traveling all required changing your body position over and over again, in different ways. Movement was inseparable from human necessities; every task was accomplished through movement.” She then goes on to explain how for millennia children grew up experiencing all-day, every-day movement with tons of walking, running, climbing, jumping, digging, carrying, etc.
That just isn’t happening anymore. Think about how you and your kids spend your day. I would guess for many, it is sitting in front of screens.
What Can We Do?
Rather than being a book filled with exercises for kids, Grow Wild is about recognizing how sedentary culture removes movement from our lives. Once we see where movement used to fit into everyday activities, we can take steps to add more movement into our day. The book will help you explore how to tweak different aspects of your life to get moving more, including clothing, cooking, home life, learning, activities, and celebrations.
The most interesting and unique solution that Katy Bowman offers throughout her book is how to stack your life to move more. She describes this as “an approach to selecting daily activities so fewer tasks allow you to efficiently meet more of your needs and accomplish more, naturally.” Stacking your life means to take all of the categories of needs you have and, instead of trying to meet them one at a time, doing something that fulfills many needs at the same time. Thinks of all the time you will save! Brilliant!
She breaks the categories of need down by:
Nature Movement Ideas
The book is filled with gorgeous colorful photos to showcase what families can do to get moving more. There are countless movement opportunities wherever you live and whatever interests you have. You and your family can thrive by learning to move more through outdoor adventures.
Some simple ideas to stack your life with nature and movement include:
- Turn a meal into a light hike. Pack a bag and thermos and take your food and drinks on the go—around the block or through a local park.
- Create a dynamic homework station outside in your backyard that allows your kids to move differently than they do at school. They will get some exercise in while getting their work done.
- Put the kids to work outside helping with some household chores, such as weeding, mowing the lawn, taking out the trash, and watering the lawn or garden.
- Walk or ride bikes as a family to get a local errand done, such as buying groceries, shopping at a farmer’s market, or going to the post office.
- Hold a celebration, such as a birthday party or holiday dinner, outside at a local park.
- Pick your own produce at a local u-pick farm and enjoy creating a delicious healthy meal together.
About the Author
Bestselling author, speaker, and leader of the Movement movement, biomechanist Katy Bowman is changing the way we move and think about our need for movement. She teaches movement globally and speaks about sedentarism and movement ecology. Her work has been featured in media such as the Today Show, CBC Radio One, Seattle Times, the Joe Rogan Experience, and Good Housekeeping. One of Maria Shriver’s “Architects of Change” and American Walks “Woman of the Walking Movement,” Bowman also consults on educational and living space design to encourage movement-rich habitats. She has worked with companies like Nike, Patagonia, and Google as well as non-profits and other communities. Her movement education company, Nutritious Movement, is based in Washington state, where she lives with her family. You can follow the organization on Facebook.