136: Move to Backpack, Backpack to Move

Show Notes: Episode 136

Today on the First 40 Miles, a hiker, a backpacker and a biomechanist all walk up to a bar.  What they do next might just surprise you.  On today’s Top 5 List, we’ll talk about how another podcaster we listen to has changed—nay—revolutionized the way we move.  Then we’ll review some stretchy pants that allow freedom of movement along with the power of wool.  For today’s Backpack Hack of the Week, a movement hack provided by Katy herself.


  • Katy Bowman is a biomechanist—and her gift to the world is that she makes the complex movements of the body easier to understand and she advocates for less sitting, more living
  • Nutritious Movement or Natural Movement
  • Exercise vs. natural movement
  • Natural movement is life—and our life has had the movement sucked out of it by the way of modern conveniences such as chairs, tv, cars, easy access to food, lack of community, etc.
  • Outsourced movement
  • Podcast/books/blog
  • Every Woman’s Guide to Foot Pain Relief
  • “A hiker, a backpacker and a biomechanist all walk up to a bar. What they do next might just surprise you.”  They hang from the bar.  Hanging and swinging help with upper body strength.

Top 5 Ways Katy Bowman Has Changed the Way We Move

How is daily movement at home, at the office, at school relevant to backpackers?  Because the way we move at home is the way we’ll be conditioned to move on the trail.

We incorporate more movement into our day

  • The first huge idea that Katy helped us understand is that our culture is sedentary—and people who think they are active are actually just as sedentary as everyone else. That didn’t make sense to me until she did the math:  1 hour of exercise + 23 hours of sitting= 4% of your day moving.  What are you doing the other 96% of your day?  You are 96% sedentary.
  • Incorporate more natural movement into our day.
  • Natural movement is any movement that you do that helps you accomplish something else. Exercise is any movement you do to extract the health benefits of that movement.
  • Walking is the best bp prep, not treadmill –great podcast episode on treadmills
  • Sit less, move more
  • Break up the sitting chunks (20 min sit, 3 min walk)
  • One salad a day can’t compensate for an otherwise nutrient-poor diet

We now see the benefits of crunchy, wobbly, rough, steep trails!

  • No more complaining about roots, downed trees on the trail or steep calf-burning inclines
  • And here’s why: We need texture in our terrain to strengthen and use all our foot muscles and joints! All of our walking surfaces at home/work/school are flat, level, smooth—which presents very little challenge—therefore, we reap very little benefit from it, beside the benefit of working against the pull of gravity which helps maintain our bone density.
  • The modern surfaces we walk on is the dietary equivalent of drinking Ensure for three meals a day
  • Where’s the texture? Where’s the variety? Where’s that delicious movement?
  • Katy is pretty clear that we need texture to move around all the joints in our foot, we need walking that is in big chunks as well as broken up into little frequent chunks, we need to feel the ground, we need to strengthen our feet and bodies by giving them challenges

We are trying floor sleeping

  • We thought since we sleep on the ground (with padding) while camping, is this something we should try at home to prep us for a future trip (get us “in shape’)
  • Adapt
  • Adds movement into our day.
  • Up and down, letting gravity work

Changed the way we think about cold temps

  • Let your body experience intermittent coldness so that you can give you body a chance to help you adapt
  • Still haven’t learned to find the joy in being cold…
  • Goose bumps, feeling cold and letting your body respond.

Changed the way I look at heels—on any shoe—including hiking shoes!!

  • Minimalist shoes (zero drop heels) heels tilt your geometry!

#6 If you want to be able to to do things when you’re older, keep doing them now

  • This means that age-related debilitation is not a fact of life. It’s a choice
  • Test: can you get up off the ground without using your hand or knees.
  • If you want to stay mobile forever, and you’re under 50, get Move Your DNA. If you want to stay mobile and you’re over 50, get both Move Your DNA AND Dynamic Aging. If you’re a 20 something, get Movement Matters which will make you realize how much movement we as a culture outsource—and you may be able to be a part of helping our culture reverse some troublesome trends.

SUMMIT Gear Review™: Women’s Ibex Wool Pulse Leggings


  • Merino wool and spandex (stretchy merino)
  • 95% Merino Wool, 5% Spandex
  • Lightweight
  • Double thickness from the waist to your thighs, so its not going to underwear showing thru—which is an issue with traditional base layers
  • Flatlock Seams
  • Women’s specific garment


  • Tiny pocket for holding a key
  • Drawcord waist which
  • Waist is also elasticized
  • Reflective piping on the side of each leg—in case you want to use these as running tights


  • Weighs: 7.3 oz
  • Explain how wool is measured (grams per sq meter)
  • Fabric Gram Weight: 160 g/m2
  • Micron: 18.5


  • Hand or machine wash
  • Don’t put in dryer
  • And if you wash and dry on the trail, be careful where you hang them to dry, so they won’t snag or get eaten by little trail animals who like to eat wool or who are attracted to sweat.


  • $120
  • Ibex is a premium brand


  • I love backpacking gear that can seamlessly work its way into my everyday use—and we have quite a few pieces of backpacking gear that we turn to for non-backpacking purposes.
  • These stretchy merino wool leggings are exactly that. Something I can bring on the trail, or wear under a skirt, or as pajamas at home.
  • They have the extra coverage from the waist to the knees, so you’re not going to have the issue of undie peak thru.
  • Waistband is only there to hold the leggings up, not to turn you into a human sausage. I loved that.  Not tight and restrictive, just a humble waistband doin’ its job, just trying to stay out of the way.
  • Leggings you can move in, leggings you can sleep in, leggings you can use as a layering piece
  • Yoga pants or running pants that you can use for a base layer multi use item!!!
  • Because of the pinch of spandex they used with the Merino, these tights retain their shape and don’t get saggy in the knee or waist.
  • Lightweight, soft, stretchy, and a multiuse item

Backpack Hack of the Week™:  Downhill Hiking with Katy Bowman

Trail Wisdom

To move the world we must first move ourselves. –Seneca, Roman statesman, 4 BC—65 AD