October 2023 Book Review: Move by Caroline Williams

Move by Caroline Williams is a book about how movement improves our overall health but more specifically the book shows the link between movement and a healthy focused mind. For some this may seem like common sense but with all the technological advances that we have seen in our society over the past few decades many of us now spend over 70% of each day sitting still. Unfortunately going to the gym for an hour, even if you go every day, doesn’t make up for an overall sedentary lifestyle. Williams’ premise is that movement is not just good for your physical well-being, but it is equally important for your mental well-being.  She states, “it is entirely possible to use the way we move as a form of self-management for better physical and mental functioning.” 

Williams does a good job explaining the scientific research behind her premise.  In fact, this book is quite heavy on the research, which I appreciate but it did make for some slow reading in parts. Overall though I found the book interesting and informative.

The book starts with an overview of movement.  I recently learned a new term, “proprioception”, which is how we can move freely without consciously thinking about our environment.  Williams talks a lot about it in this book so it may become my new go to term to try to sound smart. Of course, I’ll have to learn how to pronounce it first. 

In the next several chapters she breaks down different types of movements.  Including steps, weight training, dance, core strengthening activities, and stretching.  Each chapter ends with a summary of the key ideas from each chapter.  The final two chapters of the book before the summary explore the importance of breathing and rest. Williams’ definition of rest is one that I hadn’t heard before.  She explains that “rest doesn’t necessarily need to involve being physically still.” Rest can be active if it “gives you a mental break in the moment and a feeling of satisfied exhaustion afterward”.  Throughout the book the author points out the importance of movement to our our mental health. Mindfulness is a practice that I personally have found to be beneficial and I am always looking for ways to incorporate more mindfulness practices into my daily routines. In this book Williams describes movement as a way to practice mindfulness. I think it’s an interesting take on the practice to realize that being mindful doesn’t always mean being still.

The book ends with a summary of the key points and some ideas of how to incorporate more movement into your day. Many of us have professions that make it harder for us to incorporate more movement into our day and it takes some planning to be able to make sure that it happens. Personally, before I retired, I had a job that kept me on my feet and moving pretty much all day and now that I have more free time I have become more sedentary than I like to admit. Even before reading this book, I knew that I needed to incorporate more movement into my daily routine. Now that I know more of the science behind it, I hope that it will motivate me not only to start moving more but to keep moving. 

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