“Sitting Kills, Moving Heals”

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“Sitting Kills, Moving Heals” is a great book I came across by Joan Vernikos, Ph.D which I highly recommend. Dr. Vernikos, an amazing woman, was the former Director of NASA’s Life Sciences Division. She had the privilege and responsibility of figuring out how to optimize the health and well-being of our astronauts. In her book she explains the parallel of how our earthly sedentary lifestyle is surprisingly similar to the lifestyle of astronauts in space. She details how unfortunately an astronaut’s health rapidly deteriorates in zero gravity during spaceflight, which is similar to how our health on earth deteriorates exceedingly quickly when we adopt a sedentary lifestyle. For example, by not moving much we lose bone density, we lose plasma volume, and we decrease our aerobic capacity. All deterants of good health and well-being!

The book further covers important and fascinating topics about gravity and its relatedness to our daily routines. She writes: “It became my passion to share, in plain language that anyone could understand, the knowledge we acquired from our research at NASA. If astronauts could regain their good health after shaking off the ill effects of spaceflight, so could people suffering similar health problems due to their sedentary lifestyles. My challenge was to provide clear, practical guidance to show the public the value of making use of our old friend gravity, simply through doing everyday activities that were of a different nature than traditional vigorous exercise in the gym.”

Dr. Vernikos also details many gravity, or “G-Habit” building tips like:

- Stretching: “Whenever you are not sure about what to do next, think of that child in you and stretch.”

- Stand Up, Sit Down: Simply standing up from a seated position is HUGE. She writes, “If you do nothing else from this book, this is the single most important habit you can acquire. The key to independence in old age is being able to stand up. It’s no more complicated than that.”

- Stand Tall, Walk Tall: If you’re not sure how to start adjusting your posture, place a book over your head and stand and walk tall. Try it. :)

These are just small samples of the practical and fascinating scientific information Dr. Vernikos shares from NASA astronauts’ experiences in reversing the ill effects of being in space. Think about your day and figure out the many opportunities you can add to your routine to do more momentary standing, walking or lifting that will add to your subtotal of ‘movements’ to keep your health in check.

If you ‘gravitate’ toward this topic I recommend you grab this book!