7 a.m. to 7 p.m. — How Movement Expert Katy Bowman Keeps Her Family Active

Katie Bowman and her family

Verywell / Photo Illustration by Christian Alzate / Katy Bowman

Parents don’t work 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.—we work 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., from the moment our kids wake up until they go to sleep. This is an unfiltered look at a few days in the life of movement expert Katy Bowman.

When bestselling author and speaker Katy Bowman had her first child, she and her husband were living in urban southern California. But after becoming parents, they knew they wanted a change. “We wanted more nature, more outside time, and a slower pace,” shares the movement specialist. “And my family was in Washington state, so we made the move when our son was 5 months old.”

For Bowman to be the mother she wanted to be, moving to a more rural setting was the first step. “For me, being a parent is about creating an environment that allows them to do their thing well,” says the mom-of-two. “I’ve always felt that my job as a parent was to get them in the best environment to let them do their natural biological thing.”  

The other crucial part: Helping them move as much as possible, a piece that is at the heart of Bowman’s work as a biomechanist. “I study how mechanical properties, things like force and pressure, affect biological systems. And I study human movement through that framework,” she explains. “What I’ve found is that movement is just as, if not more important, than a nutritious diet to overall health.”

The juvenile period is when you’re setting your adult body. They need walking, running, crawling, squatting, jumping, landing, hanging, and carrying to do so.

That’s especially true for children. “The juvenile period is when you’re setting your adult body,” Bowman shares, adding that kids not only need to get enough movement but also to distribute that movement throughout the body so that every bone and joint grows strong. “They need walking, running, crawling, squatting, jumping, landing, hanging, and carrying to do so,” she says.  

In her latest book Grow Wild: The Whole-Child, Whole-Family, Nature-Rich Guide to Moving More, Bowman seeks to provide a guide for parents to incorporate this nutritious movement into their lives and the lives of their kids. “When I wrote Move Your DNA, I had a 3-year-old and a 2-year-old. I was always a mover and an exerciser, but I couldn’t reconcile how I was supposed to move so much while
doing all these other things as a parent and meeting the needs of these other people,” explains Bowman.

Fast forward seven years of research and on-the-job experience, and Bowman was ready to share the answers. “After I had many years of parenting I thought I understood the problem and the solution well enough to give some help to the adults trying to figure out this problem,” she says.

The idea of nutritious movement informs Bowman’s daily habits and those of her kids, now 9 and 10 years old. “It is important to me that my kids spend some time moving outside every day,” she shares.

Follow along as Bowman reveals how she emphasizes movement and incorporates joyful family time into her daily life.

Katie Bowman children

Verywell / Photo Illustration by Christian Alzate / Katy Bowman

Monday

7 a.m. I’ve been up since 5:30 a.m. After making a cup of rooibos tea (I gave up caffeine a year ago), I do a 45-minute yoga or other workout video at home before the kids wake up.

The kids get up around 6:30 a.m. and we all do the farm chores: feeding and watering the chickens and sheep. Next is breakfast, which we all eat together and the kids usually make. Them being capable in the kitchen is a big thing for us, so they both have learned some knife skills and are interested in cooking. Our go-to is an egg in the hole, a piece of sourdough bread with an egg inside and some sprouts on top.

8 a.m. I drop the kids off at school. It’s a bit of a commute from our house, so by this point, I’m out for the day.

8:30 a.m. The dog comes with me so we go for a walk, and I take some work calls. I try to get as much of my work done on foot as possible.

9 a.m. Morning briefing with my team about the day’s projects. Afterward, I’ll work on answering emails or doing some short writing assignments—nothing that requires a long train of thought. I used to work in a public library, but that’s not as available right now so I’ve adapted to working on the go, which a lot of the time means working in my parked car.

By 11 a.m., I’m ready to tackle projects that require more focus and more creativity, like working on books or long-form writing projects.

1 p.m. Time for my “lunch break!” The dog and I will walk to the grocery store to grab anything I will need for dinner or an after-school snack. This is my time to get away from my computer and not be beholden to anyone else. I might also grab something I can eat on my walk back, though our main meals are breakfast and dinner. Not sitting down for a meal three times a day is one of the ways I get more movement.

I’ve found that a lot of parents lament not having enough time to move and that their kids don’t either, but that’s just because of the way they are used to doing tasks. It takes me longer to get the kids home, but it’s just part of their after-school time and everyone feels better for it.

3 p.m. When it’s time to pick up the kids, we park three-fourths of a mile away from the school, walk over to get them, and then spend 20 to 30 minutes walking back. It’s a great way for them to release the pressures of school, debrief their day, and have a dynamic snack time. We talk about what homework they have and make a plan for the evening.

I’ve found that a lot of parents lament not having enough time to move and that their kids don’t either, but that’s just because of the way they are used to doing tasks. It takes me longer to get the kids home, but it’s just part of their after-school time and everyone feels better for it.

5 p.m. After responding to any late-day emails, I prep split pea soup, and we sit down for dinner. We like to eat by 5 p.m. because we’re all early risers. Plus, I’ve found that if we have a big snack after school then no one wants to eat dinner. So in order to get the most nutrition, we skip the big snack and go right to dinner.

6 p.m. Once the kids have spent 45 minutes or so on their homework, we head out for a family walk. We take with us any homework that can be done on foot, like practicing spelling words, memorizing play lines, or learning math facts, in order to minimize an unnecessary sitting indoors time. Lots of people learn better when they’re moving, and I have kids for whom things sink in better when they are allowed to fidget and move.

We always try to get an hour walk together; where lots of people like to plan and talk about everything over the dinner table, we do it over the family walk. It makes the day feel richer, not just like we worked or went to school all day.

Once the kids have spent 45 minutes or so on their homework, we head out for a family walk. We take with us any homework that can be done on foot, like practicing spelling words, memorizing play lines, or learning math facts.

7 p.m. After the walk we play a game or do something else that doesn’t feel like a chore. Then the kids will start to put their lunches together for the next day before getting in bed around 8:30 p.m. They’ll read for 30 minutes and then it's lights off.

Once the kids are in bed I’ll clean the kitchen and figure out what I need to do the following morning. Then I’m off to bed nice and early too.

Katie Bowman kids movement

Verywell / Photo Illustration by Christian Alzate / Katy Bowman

Tuesday

7 a.m. In the spring or summer, I meet friends to walk five early morning miles at 5:30 a.m. It’s my hang out time! But if not, I might start the day with an hour of work.

The crock pot is a big deal in our house, so I’ll also put dinner together in the morning. I put a whole roast in before we head to school.

10 a.m. I teach a weekly Nutritious Movement class. I have a studio in town where the class is recorded and put onto our virtual studio. I’ve also been teaching in some outdoor venues when the weather cooperates.

4:30 p.m. We’re having tacos tonight. I take the meat out of the crock pot and shred it, then chop a few toppings and in 15 minutes we have a nice taco dinner.

7 p.m. I take a bath and read a book in the bath almost every night. If it’s my husband’s turn to put the kids down I take my bath during that time. It is my bit of self-care that makes me feel really good.

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