This informative analysis of natural exercises uses apt analogies to demonstrate how best to build strength.
Exercise is not good for us; movement is, posits biomechanist Katy Bowman in this intriguing look at effective physical fitness. A core premise of Move Your DNA is that today’s sedentary lifestyle filled with luxuries designed to help us multitask, outsource work, and enjoy more leisure time sitting in front of computer screens renders an hour in the gym inadequate. “Even if you are a great exerciser—maybe you bike or jog religiously—only the muscles you’ve used for that specific exercise garner any benefits.” Move Your DNA argues that a physical fitness program should focus on how we move in natural ways.
The book focuses on mechanotransduction, the process by which forces or loads are experienced by cells. Mechanotransduction influences the shape of the human body. All movement and inactivity contributes to what Bowman calls a load profile. Certain exercises strengthen some cells, and if movement is not varied, surrounding cells can weaken. The author suggests walking, as it is a natural movement that helps create the strength needed for carrying the body in a standing position.
Move Your DNA is organized into two informative sections, “Think” and “Move.” In the first section, the author, who earned a master’s degree in kinesiology at California State University at Northridge, explains the science behind the theory that exercise is insufficient for optimum health and can lead to injury and inactivity. In the “Move” section, six chapters offer specific, detailed alternatives to traditional exercises, alternatives that promote deliberate, careful, and useful movement for healthfulness and pain reduction, such as walking and squatting. Photos accompany most of the movements, for guidance.
Bowman covers some complicated topics, including physics, biology, kinesiology, and mathematics, but her tone is light, conversational, and often humorous, making learning from her effortless. Skillful use of analogy and metaphor makes complex topics accessible. For example, Bowman explains that loads are akin to the bending and rustling of a tree on a windy day and that inactivity can lead to disease in a way similar to that of a confined orca that develops a floppy fin. Move Your DNA is enjoyable, convincing, and sure to change the way fitness buffs (and coach potatoes) move.
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