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“Sitting Kills, Moving Heals”

A NASA scientist reveals the science of why sitting is deadly — and how to use gravity to achieve lifelong health — in new book

Americans have struggled for decades to exercise more and get healthy, but we’re still fatter, sicker and more tired than ever before. Why isn’t exercise enough? What’s missing?

Gravity is the missing element in Americans’ exercise plans, says Dr. Joan Vernikos, former director of NASA’s Life Sciences Division, in her just-released book “Sitting Kills, Moving Heals: How Simple Everyday Movement Will Prevent Pain, Illness, and Early Death — and Exercise Alone Won’t” (Quill Driver Books, December 2011).

Dr. Vernikos’ NASA research on the health effects of weightlessness proved that the human body can’t maintain good health without continuous gravity-challenging movement. Modern Americans, who work at desks, drive long commutes and watch hours of TV, simply don’t move enough against the force of gravity to stay healthy.

The good news in “Sitting Kills, Moving Heals” is that anyone, at any age, can reverse the effects of sedentary living and regain their good health by making simple and easy lifestyle changes to put gravity-challenging movement back into everyday life.

“Sitting Kills, Moving Heals” isn’t about getting more exercise; Vernikos recommends a different kind of exertion — natural, habitual, low-intensity, gravity-effective movements made throughout the day in the course of active living

“Sitting Kills, Moving Heals” presents an easy-to follow plan of increasing everyday activity through simple, traditional and fun activities like walking, climbing stairs, gardening, dancing, golf, horseback riding, golf and even play. Just a little bit of everyday activity gives tremendous health benefits, helping to preserve lifelong health, strength and independence.

“Sitting Kills, Moving Heals” is based on Vernikos’ pioneering NASA research in Gravity Deprivation Syndrome, a medical condition found in astronauts who spend extended periods in near zero gravity.  Astronauts seem to rapidly age in space — they lose muscle and bone density and develop osteoporosis and aching joints.

 Sedentary living here on Earth is just as dangerous. As Americans have become more sedentary, there has been a steady increase in obesity, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, muscle wasting and arthritis, balance and coordination problems, poor sleep, and lack of stamina. Diseases that used to be associated with aging are now appearing much earlier in life.

Traditional gym exercise doesn’t help. Astronauts exercise in space, but it doesn’t prevent Gravity Deprivation Syndrome. Numerous medical studies by Vernikos and other researchers have shown that even regular traditional exercise only partially improves health of people who, like most Americans, sit all day long.

But gravity-challenging movement isn’t traditional strenuous exercise. Dr. Vernikos stresses that the most beneficial activity for your body is continuous, low-intensity, all-day, everyday movement that resists the force of gravity — simple habits like standing up, walking stretching, even fidgeting, pacing and hanging clothes out to dry.

The health plan in “Sitting Kills, Moving Heals” is fun, easy to follow, takes no time commitment, can be practiced at home or at the office — and it works, giving far better results than conventional diet and exercise. This is a must-read book for all people who care about their health and the health of their loved ones.


Medical studies on astronauts show that gravity-challenging all-day movement is more essential to good health than traditional exercise


About the Author: Joan Vernikos, Ph.D., is a pioneering medical research scientist who has conducted seminal studies in space medicine, inactivity physiology, stress and healthy aging. Vernikos a foundational figure of space medicine research and served as Life Sciences Director at the NASA Ames Research Center from 1986 to 1993 and Director of the Life Sciences Division at NASA headquarters from 1993 to 2000. Vernikos has written three previous books: “Inactivity: Physiological Effects” (1987, co-written with Harold Sandler), “The G-Connection: Harness Gravity and Reverse Aging” (2004) and “Stress Fitness for Seniors” (2009).

Book Details:

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

Author: Joan Vernikos, Ph.D.

Publisher: Quill Driver Books, an imprint of Linden Publishing

Publication: December 2011, $14.95 ($16.95 Canada)

Health and Fitness, ISBN 978-1-61035-018-1, 6″ x 9″ trade paperback, Kindle, Nook, EPUB, 136 pages, index


Available from bookstores, online booksellers and Quill Driver Books (1-800-345-4447, www.QuillDriverBooks.com).


Christine Crosby

About the author

Christine is the co-founder and editorial director for GRAND Magazine. She is the grandmother of five and great-grandmom (aka Grandmere) to one. She makes her home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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