By Sue Redmond
Studies have now shown that the “couch potato” lifestyle, and even a desk job where you are sitting for long periods of time, can heighten your risk of certain diseases and even age you faster. Joan Vernikos PhD., former director for NASA’s Life Sciences Division, found that the force of gravity is essential to good health. Astronauts were able to reverse the rapid aging from anti-gravity in space (muscle, bones and overall health) by frequent actions that resist the force of gravity. In her book Sitting Kills, Moving Heals, Vernikos lays out a plan for the average man or woman to do the same without a diet or exercise. She shows how non-strenuous, frequent actions that resist the force of gravity can accomplish this.
Whether you follow the plan in Vernikos book or just get up from your desk every 20 minutes throughout your day, you are likely to feel better, physically and mentally. Habits are formed in about 30 days. You could start out with the easy habit of leaving things out of reach and add some exercise in little by little. Here are some easy steps to start:
- Place your water bottle or cell phone in a place that forces you to stand when you need them. (Vernikos recommends standing slowly and steadily. Work up to 36 times a day or more.)
- Once standing, reach overhead. You could even add rising up to your toes.
- Reach your shoulders back and then round them forward. Repeat.
- The Handshake – clasp hands together (with one hand’s thumb pointing to the floor and the other pointing to the ceiling). Then pull! Resist the motion of both arms (feel it in your biceps). Hold, release and repeat.
- The Lean – while you are standing with arms at your sides, simply run your hand slowly down the side of your right leg to stretch the left side. Keep your head in line with your shoulder. Come back to standing and slowly run your hand down the side of your left leg. Come back to standing. Repeat.
- Desk Squat – Start standing with feet together (and the desk chair pushed out of the way). Bend the knees slightly so the thighs are almost parallel to the ground, as if sitting in a chair. As you bend, raise the arms to shoulder level. Keep the knees together and aligned behind your toes. Hold for 15 seconds and release.
As always, speak to your doctor before starting any new exercises, but get moving!! Your body and mind will love you for it!!
Vernikos PhD, Joan. “Sitting Kills, Moving Heals.” Media Kit. Quill Driver Books. December 2011. Web. 14 Aug 2014.
Milam, Emily. “Deskercise! 33 Smart Ways to Exercise at Work.” Fitness. Greatist.com, 28 May 2014. Web. 21 Aug 2014.