Katy Bowman – Move Your DNA: The Difference Between Exercise and Movement (and Why It Matters)

Katy Bowman – Move Your DNA: The Difference Between Exercise and Movement (and Why It Matters)

This lecture is part of the IHMC Evening Lecture series.

Evening Lectures

We are currently experiencing a pandemic of sedentarism. This sedentarism is an entirely new, entirely unprecedented environment for the human body, which does not cope well with a lack of mechanical input. We’ve been told we need to “move more,” but what does that mean, exactly? What counts as moving more? Regular movement doesn’t only affect our body composition and the state of our heart and skeletal muscles; through a process called mechanotransduction, our cells’ behavior changes when they’re moved. Movement influences the expression of our genes.

Animal bodies, including humans’, do not require exercise—they require movement. In order to be fully moved, humans need the almost constant, widely varied movement conditions in which human bodies evolved. Currently our society is almost entirely movement-free while our bodies’ need for movement is very high; thus we are experiencing an evolutionary mismatch when it comes to movement, both in terms of volume and distribution. A commonly proposed solution to sedentarism is exercise, which both technically and ideologically is limited to a very small section of a day, a handful of minutes per week—drastically different from the conditions that formed our physiology.

To understand why physical inactivity is a leading cause of non-communicable disease and disability, we must also understand: that movement is both a whole-body and a local (part-by-part) phenomenon; the process of mechanotransduction; and the cellular adaptations to movement. To understand why the rate of inactivity is currently increasing in high-income countries, we must understand movement outsourcing and the impact of convenience on our physiology. The key to moving our bodies more lies in understanding what movement is, how it works, and most importantly how it can fit easily into our daily lives, which was where it came from in the first place. To move ourselves well, we must understand the nature of movement.


  1. Refuz Tosay on July 11, 2021 at 2:56 am

    This should be a 10 min. video. 95% blather

  2. Fguramafia on July 11, 2021 at 2:57 am

    Thanks Katy for confirming my thoughts about life. Life is COMPLICATED

  3. Gerald Beaver on July 11, 2021 at 3:00 am

    I have just started listening to he but a tour of her home would not work for many people. I have fibromyalgia and pressing anything on me other than my feet and belly hurts ( I go barefoot and spent years improving my feet.) I also think about elderly people or very heavy people doing some of this movement. I am sure much of it can be adaptable. I also think it would interesting to see how affording not having to more relates to wealth and poverty. Just like shoes where many people equate shoes to prosperity; being able to get anywhere and do anything without much effort can be looked at as being in a higher socioeconomic status. Carla Beaver

  4. Don on July 11, 2021 at 3:00 am

    Love your video!
    Watching while a lay on the couch!

  5. Michaell on July 11, 2021 at 3:00 am

    awesome powerful informative video thank you

  6. Liz O'Connor on July 11, 2021 at 3:00 am

    The more you sit , the more you want to sit. That should be studied.

  7. Rajeshwar Sharma on July 11, 2021 at 3:01 am

    Can some please please sumarize this talk and include the key points?

  8. Alien Drone Services on July 11, 2021 at 3:02 am

    36:32 False. Myopia is genetic, and even expresses itself in people who can’t read.

  9. Bambi killer 69 on July 11, 2021 at 3:05 am

    Babble babble on to much, loves the sound of her own voice ,talks to fast ,seems like she on drugs to me.

  10. BuckandOden on July 11, 2021 at 3:05 am

    She’s so cute!

  11. atila correia on July 11, 2021 at 3:07 am

    Postal delivery workers in Brazil walk for miles and miles every day and still have potbellies and have no better longevity than regular people.

  12. Urban Favor on July 11, 2021 at 3:08 am

    She’s sooo hot!

  13. presjo on July 11, 2021 at 3:12 am

    She could make millions as a phone sex lady

  14. Palyne Gaenir on July 11, 2021 at 3:12 am

    These are many good points I had not even considered. Thanks for that.

  15. NeverStoppedSinging on July 11, 2021 at 3:15 am

    Phenomenal talk! So glad I found it!

  16. N M on July 11, 2021 at 3:16 am

    Does anyone have a transcription of this talk?

  17. Jeff Johnson on July 11, 2021 at 3:17 am

    Each point she makes is clear and obvious. I understand her.

  18. Ben Nguyen on July 11, 2021 at 3:19 am

    Is there any concern that more movement, causes the joints to wear out sooner? Is there any evidence for example, that marathon runners develop knee issues at earlier age than non-runners? Or are there a techniques, posture / squats, to INCREASE the life of the joints? Peter Attia has some great videos on movement and the perfect squat!

    Katy mentions that tech saves movement/time, but would like to have heard heard her thoughts on health tech.. Whole body Vibration plates, Electrical Muscle Stimulation / E-Stim? Or wearing Blood Flow Restriction bands around the arms/legs? Or even the use of pharmaceuticals (rapamycin, metformin, resveratrol, etc) that mimic exercise, possibly activating movement genes (PPAR alpha, gamma, etc)? Although Keith Baar, would probably say if it doesn’t load the tendon, then these techniques may help cardio, but not muscular/skeletal.
    On Katy’s podcast (#104 Death Moves, #99 Ihi Heke) she recommends sleeping on the floor in order to move/adjust more while sleeping.. however, it would be interesting to see if actual sleep quality (as measured via an EEG) is affected. Also, isn’t it often said that if you’re a side-sleeper, a hard bed can cause shoulder arthritis?

    I like the idea of practicing falling, something that is often taught in jiu-jutsu. There was a great ’40+ Fitness’ podcast with Carol Clements on the importance of practicing balance as you get older!
    In terms of shoes, any thoughts on the Rocker-Bottom MBT footware? Katy warns against sandals without a heel strap since they cause feet muscles to grip, but why wouldn’t that be a good thing? Vibram, Vivobarefoot Primus Trek / RA II, Xero Z-Trek Minimalist Sandal, Merrell Vapor Glove 3/Men’s Luna Leather Sneaker, Plae, Lems, Altra , ZemGear, etc
    Finally, regarding the importance of chewing to increase blood flow to the brain, perhaps if doing time-restricted feeding (23:1) or fasting for a few days, then would masticating with gum be the same (Krinos Mastic Gum)?

  19. I am on July 11, 2021 at 3:22 am

    Ten minutes in and she has said nothing.

  20. sara hernandez on July 11, 2021 at 3:22 am

    I think, climb it the most completly excirses. Going to climb Mountain

  21. Dan Baron on July 11, 2021 at 3:28 am

    Both of my parents did not move as much as I do and I’m 56. They also both smoked. That said, I do see where she is going with this and overall, I think her conclusions are correct..just saying.

  22. David Klein on July 11, 2021 at 3:29 am

    I dont subscribe to her definition of exercise

  23. Remote Viewer 1 on July 11, 2021 at 3:29 am

    Emotional Health, spiritual health are equally important chosen environments of the mind.

  24. Aziz Salimov on July 11, 2021 at 3:30 am

    Old science and statistics, by adding electro-magnetics of the biological cell to the understanding of movement will make it absolutely clear why everything in this universe have to move.

  25. Jan Cerny on July 11, 2021 at 3:31 am

    Agriculture reduced the need for movement? Is she joking? Farming is one of the most physically intensive ways of life there is, and was even more so back before tractors and trucks came along.

  26. Gondwana on July 11, 2021 at 3:33 am

    Interesting findings but you have to wait through 26 minutes of yak-yak until you get to the punchline — lousy speaker but good researcher

  27. aseretk on July 11, 2021 at 3:36 am

    Grating voice and so repetitive when making the “ differences” between movement and quality of movement makes waiting for the point (which is movement and physical activity) hard to sustain.

  28. Chris on July 11, 2021 at 3:37 am

    Some good points but she uses a lot of old research.

  29. nwoo2002 on July 11, 2021 at 3:41 am

    Great talk! Is it possible to access the PowerPoint?

  30. Chip Spencer on July 11, 2021 at 3:41 am

    Bike ride not physical activity unless you ride to work?

  31. Philos Johnson on July 11, 2021 at 3:41 am

    Very interesting discussion. This really makes sense. As a recent retiree who’s attempting to rehabilitate himself and get back in shape and off my meds, I’m constantly struggling with this notion of what it means to be physically fit and it brings up the question as to what the limitations of traditional exercise are and how much of it is actually contributing to a better life.

  32. Martin Irving on July 11, 2021 at 3:44 am

    All animals try to "conserve energy." No animal arbitrarily moves around to burn off calories (except humans). The body doesn’t know what a calorie is. It has no calorie sensors or detectors. The calorie is a human construct and a product of the industrial revolution.

    We move so as to navigate our environment. If we create an environment that is not conducive to movement, we will move less. The patterns are set as soon as the child can walk.

  33. Deepak Choudhary on July 11, 2021 at 3:47 am

    Hi Dr Bowman,
    Are ELDOA exercises helpful DDD? please advise .

  34. jac gib on July 11, 2021 at 3:47 am

    Very interesting. Why no mention of yoga as it is very much about movement?

  35. Crunchy Cleaning by Kathy on July 11, 2021 at 3:47 am

    wow, I’ve heard a few minutes and fascinating! Does she a FB page I can follow and youtube channel too?

  36. Tommy Edge on July 11, 2021 at 3:49 am

    Isn’t this obvious to anyone above 10 years old or is it only for Americans with poor education

  37. Evan Hodge on July 11, 2021 at 3:49 am

    GET OFF YOUR CHUBBY FLABBY ARSES! GET OUT THERE! CARRY your stuff. Schlep it! WALK to things you drive to. Throw a ball to someone else’s damn dog. HEFT your "white goods" from room to room. STOP PRETENDING you are healthy. ^^^The Lady Speaker is GORGEOUS^^^. Donate your CAR! (You won’t!). Use your body weight. Learn FELDENKRAIS.. You know that annoying …down the block. Take that person DANCING!

  38. emmelawrence on July 11, 2021 at 3:49 am

    I like Katy, & think she’s a bright researcher, but would advise people to read her blog or watch her demonstrate exercises rather than listen to most of her public lectures. This could have been a ~10min talk.

  39. joE Lundgreen on July 11, 2021 at 3:53 am

    Movement is ________ speaking about that is a way of being conscious about the use of that consciously