Sitting Kills Moving Heals: How Simple Everyday Movement Will Prevent Pain, Illness, and Early Death—and Exercise Alone Won’t

Image of Sitting Kills, Moving Heals: How Everyday Movement Will Prevent Pain, Illness, and Early Death -- and Exercise Alone Won't
Release Date: 
December 1, 2011
Quill Driver Books
Reviewed by: 

“Kudos to Dr. Vernikos for learning to ride a bicycle at age 60.”

Sitting Kills Moving Heals is best read while walking around with a book on your head or engaged in the head stand position—both of which are advocated in this blithe tome for improving physical fitness without even leaving your house.

As Dr. Vernikos reveals, modern exercise theory has focused too much on aerobic fitness and strength training, to the detriment of balance and bone loss. She even hints that premier athletes may experience bone density reductions due to calcium loss through perspiration.

The overweight American who may read this handbook for health improvement take heed, because Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis or NEAT is the key. That is correct; Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis can improve the quality of your life. About all I can say to that assessment is: nifty, because certain aspects of this book will require embracing your inner nerd.

Dr. Vernikos refers to stabilizers and mobilizers as key components of this everyday living home-based method of fitness. Though her book has applications for the general public, much of it is geared to an aging Medicare-age population.

Endearingly, Dr. Vernikos ascribes the symptoms of menopause as gravipause, which can be mitigated by following her guidelines. The doctor does attribute loss of health, your bladder control, stability of movement, and structural damage to a sedentary society (no kidding), which can be corrected through the use of hundreds of small non-intensive movements in daily living.

The key is through the use of G or the force of gravity (Newton you are getting your due) to offset sedentary activities. Ingeniously one of her suggestions is simply to count how many times a day you stand up, as apparently there is a correlation between the optimal number of repetitions used by recovering astronauts after a space flight and that which is good for “ average Joe” anti-aging protocols.

The genius of this doctor’s advocated non-exercise activities for extending healthy living is that stirring pasta, rolling out cookie dough, and cracking nut shells for noshing all count as exercise. Another activity that qualifies as NEAT exercise is walking down the stairs, which is good for balance and coordination as long as you don’t look at your feet or use the handrail. The book is filled with tips to create health-building movements into your day, from walking tall to putting on your socks while standing up, good for a laugh at least, if not a “G force mobilizer.”

Though some of Dr. Vernikos’s references are dated, such as the use of “gameboy” as the symbol of electronic games and handheld devices, she gets the point across in a quick read. Unfortunately she does not give greater emphasis to some of her strongest most refreshing assertions, including the impact of mindfulness in thinking about exercise and not just “the act.”

Dr. Vernikos also identifies therapies for specific medical conditions, especially in children which have benefited from prescribed G force activities and this may be worth the price of admission. The book left me wishing she had said more about the use of gravity therapy for rehabilitation. Maybe that will be in the next book. Kudos to Dr. Vernikos for learning to ride a bicycle at age 60.