Sitting kills, movement heals.

Dr. Joan Vernikos, author of 'Sitting kills, Movement Heals', speaks briefly and concisely about the research she conducted on sitting and movement, whilst working as a scientist at NASA.


Take the stairs! Credits: Yoosun Won.
Take the stairs!
Photo credits: Yoosun Won.

This truly is fascinating stuff, providing amazing insight into how the body responds to the act of standing up from the sitting position as opposed to simply standing or walking.

It turns out that the act of moving into a standing position from a sitting position is what has the greatest benefit for us.

Because it’s exercise. It works your heart, gets you breathing and utilises some of the biggest muscles in your body. Take it a step further by doing it with awareness.

In other words, focus on tightening your butt cheeks as you start to stand and pulling your belly button in toward your spine (basically, sucking your tummy in) when you move to sit down again.

These actions will help place your body in a more anatomically correct position AND will help strengthen your abs and glutes! And very importantly, stop you from over-using your lower back muscles.

Dr. Vernikos’ scientific viewpoint doesn’t take into account the social aspects of taking a walk and the pleasure that can be derived from that and in turn how we then feel.

Our body responds to these sensations most often with a relaxed and upright posture. We can see beauty and breathe out with a drop of the shoulders. We’ll stand straight and tall if only momentarily reveling in what we have just experienced.

We can also literally ‘stand taller or straighter’ as a result of a confidence boost such as when someone says something positive about us and us about them.

So it turns out, you don’t need to stand for long periods. Although standing is according to Dr. Vernikos better for you than walking, she states you do need regular movement of the body for optimal health.

Set your alarm for 2 – 3 times throughout the day, kick your shoes off and practice 10 stand and sit movements. Work those buns and pull that belly button in.

Standing for short periods of time throughout the day 5-10 minutes, without shoes on, can help (re)train, and strengthen long dormant soft tissue in your body, not utilised whilst sitting.