This is not your typical exercise class. It’s a movement workshop. It’s a class that shows people
how to move in more diverse, healthier ways. There’s me. I’m Molly, a journalist and also what you might call a
sedentary person. I really hate exercise. It’s not just me. We’re more sedentary than we’ve ever
been as a species. And it’s having a serious effect on
our health. Welcome to the movement movement. A way of framing fitness not by how
much we exercise, but by how little we move. We talked to scientists
and movement experts to find out if, maybe, we’ve been
thinking about exercise all wrong. I’m Molly Rubin. This is Quartz. Please subscribe to our channel. – This is your living room? – It is. To learn more about
the movement movement, I traveled to a small town on the
Olympic Peninsula to meet Katy Bowman. – I don’t see a couch. – You don’t see a couch. There’s no
chairs really in the entire house. – We’ve got lower tables. Katy is part of a larger,
global fitness trend that emphasizes diverse,
natural movement and is gaining followers from
Hong Kong to Israel to the UK. Even at home, Katie takes
movement very seriously. – I will put things that I use
most regularly where I have to go the lowest
or the farthest. There are monkey bars in the bedroom. She sleeps on a mat she rolls up
every day. – So this is our bedroom. It’s hanging
here on the walls. It might seem like a lot… – Where are your chairs? But for Katy, it’s natural. She built her life to maximize
movement wherever possible. – Why is movement so important? – We have an epidemic as far as
sedentary behavior. Katy is a trained biomechanist
and fitness instructor who teaches people how to add more
movement to their lives, which she says is an essential part
of staying healthy. – We seem to only value long
duration, big, intense. We no longer see the value in small,
slow, accumulating. Katy preaches more movement,
not more exercise. – Movement is any physical
change in shape, whether it’s whole body,
or an area, or a cell. For me, the exercise hater, movement
sounds too good to be true. I wanted to know more about how
and why we need to move. – You don’t have to go to go to a gym! Keith Diaz is an exercise
physiologist and he says sitting at desks all day, spending hours in front of the TV or
computer, could be killing us. – Sedentary behavior increases
your risk for things like heart disease,
diabetes, early death. Exercise is good. But even
if we exercise, it doesn’t undo the harmful effects
of sitting for hours on end. – When you’re not utilizing your muscles, they start not regulating
like they should— your blood sugar levels, the fat
in your bloodstream. Think about the math. If you exercise for half
an hour every day, that’s 23 and a half hours
you aren’t moving. But even a little bit
makes a big difference. – If you replace 30 minutes
of your sitting time with 30 minutes of light-intensity
physical activity, so a casual walk down the street
or down the hall, you’d lower your risk of death by 17%. – Wow. And there’s an even bigger advantage to breaking up that movement
throughout the day. – Those individuals who frequently kept
their sitting breaks to less than 30 minutes at a time,
had a lower risk of death. It’s not just how much you sit, but how you accrue that sitting time
over the course of the day. – Why is movement so important from a
physiological perspective? – Our bodies are designed to move. What he’s talking about here is
evolutionary mismatch. – Hi! Herman Pontzer is an evolutionary
anthropologist who studies the Hadza, one of the last remaining
hunter-gatherer tribes. – How can hunter-gatherer populations
be models for public health? – They don’t get sick from the things
that are going to kill us. They don’t get heart disease. They don’t get diabetes,
they get less cancer. Our bodies are built…they
were shaped by evolution for two and a half million years to
be hunting and gathering. So our lifestyles today are
completely mismatched from the lifestyles in which our
bodies were shaped. This lifestyle is extremely weird. And another thing about the Hadza… – How much time per day do
the Hadza spend running? – Zero. The Hadza don’t run at all. Back in Washington, Katy
has a pretty unique way of thinking about our
need for movement. – Well I really liken movement to
nutrition, to dietary nutrition. Just like food, she says, our bodies
need a healthy movement diet. As far as dietary nutrition goes, it’s all about the diversity
of foods that you eat. The bulk of us are movement-starved,
and so that is why the recommendation keeps being, “Just move more, just move
anything more!” And if high-intensity exercise a few
times a week is all we do, we’re not getting a broad range of
movement into our diet. – Maybe movement is what it’s about and that exercise is great, but maybe not the best
that we can be doing. And the idea of exercise
itself is pretty new. Exercise science really didn’t come
about until the 1960s and 70s. – I would say that exercise is
more like the solution that’s erupted from
designing a society that doesn’t require
very much movement. We’re primed to think of
high-intensity aerobic activity as the healthiest way to move. But taking a long walk means moving for two or three hours
versus 30 minutes. Why choose less movement? – We sip the exercise Kool-Aid. It’s about re-examining your entire
life and environment to be more active overall. The key is finding ways to
stack movement on top of things you’re already
doing. – So for example if you go out on
a date, is there a chair involved? Is there a lack of movement involved? You can layer movement into the
things that are already happening. – I’m sure you hear all the time the
counter arguments to stacking and people say, “I just don’t have
enough hours in the day.” – If you can’t walk all
the way to work, could you drive halfway or three
quarters of the way? Don’t worry about not being able to
fit in a five mile walk, or a three mile walk, or
even a one mile walk. Do you have six minutes? Even sitting can be movement, if you
choose to sit differently… – Choosing to sit on the floor
in your home is stacking. …because you’re moving
your whole body all the way down and
all the way up. I don’t think many of us will get rid
of our couches anytime soon. But it’s not about turning
your life upside down. It’s about having an open mind. There are extremists: Ido Portal
became a viral Internet star preaching a lifestyle that requires a
ton of time and money. Videos of athletes like Conor
McGregor movement training rack up millions of views, but we all have the tools to do it. My trip to Washington opened my eyes to how often I choose the easy way. Changing the patterns
of your daily life is a daunting challenge, but the more willing you
are to make a shift, the more benefit you’ll
get in the long run. – I think the Hadza teach us that
getting older is inevitable, but getting frail and sick are not. – I can’t wait until I’m 70. You know, just to have gone through so many different phases to see
where movement fits in. I’ve been climbing the stairs to my fifth floor apartment for six
weeks now. It’s a small change, but I can already
feel a little bit of difference. And I find myself itching to move
just a little bit more.