We’ve all probably heard it: Sitting is the new smoking. We spend way too much time sitting at our desks and assume occasional exercising will negate its bad impact. But will it?
Today you’ll have a chance to meet Tim Sitt who is the author of Move or Die (February 2017). In his first book Tim Sitt claims that “sedentary life is killing us and movement, not exercise, can save us.” Where did the idea for this book originate from?
As someone who has worked in the fitness industry as a personal trainer and as a mental health professional doing therapy, I’ve tried to combine the worlds of mental and physical health in everything I do. Often times, fitness buffs take a very mechanical approach to fitness and focus on performance, weight loss, and getting big while neglecting the mental side of the larger picture of health. I’ve competed in bodybuilding, played sports my entire life and been around gyms for a long time. What I’ve come to realize that all of that has little connection to how we live in the majority of our waking hours. I think focusing on the spaces and moments of our daily lives and the impact it has on us has the potential to transform everyone’s health.
Working in the mental health field as a therapist, I see an overemphasis on the inner world to the expense of actually moving the body and being embodied. I felt pretty early on that approaches that emphasized a cognitive or verbal approach did not work well because the body was neglected. So for me working through the body with movement and with felt experiences has been an important tool for people to develop new awareness and to move towards positive change.
What is your book, Move or Die, about?
On one level this book is about incorporating movement in your life so you can be healthy, happy and energized. The context is addressing the problem of prolonged sitting, which is now widely known to be connected to long term illnesses like cancer, heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
On another level, this book is about the process of change and how we face challenges to grow and learn new ways of being that break from old patterns, patterns that cause harm or pain. Reading and practicing what’s in the book will hopefully empower people to move through resistance and to do the things they really want to do but are too afraid to try. Ultimately it’s about prioritizing your health and your body and learning to listen to what’s going on inside instead of always trying to meet other people’s expectations or following the beeps of technology. This book is about turning inwardly and creating a loving relationship with yourself.
Why did you write it?
This book grew out of a painful experience I had of falling and hurting my back and learning how sitting really contributed to that. I was frustrated I wasn’t getting better even though I saw doctors, chiropractors, and physical therapists. It wasn’t until I committed to doing my rehab exercises throughout my day, which was very awkward at first, and being clear with myself that this is something I had to do that I was able to regain my health.
I want people to have this information so that they know what it takes to be healthy and what stands in their way. Sitting is a huge culprit in this as is our sedentary work culture. Another perpetuating factor is the health and fitness industry which emphasizes exercise. For many reasons, a great majority of people (the stats I’ve researched show between 85% to 95% of people) do not make going to the gym a regular habit. On top of that exercise does not offset the effects of being sedentary since that 9.5 hours the average Canadian is having an effect all of its own.
There’s so many misconceptions about what people need to do to be healthy. I wanted to share an approach that is really a different entry point and more accessible for the average person who happens to sit a lot. I wanted to challenge the status quo and offer another way to be healthy and it doesn’t require a gym membership, doesn’t require a lot of time and is going to improve the quality of your work and life.
Who should read it?
This book is for people who are stuck in chairs behind desks for a better part of their day. It’s for people who feel like their health is slipping through their fingers and who want a simple and doable approach to getting their health back and keeping it.
This book is about becoming healthy. Reducing pain and increasing mobility and flexibility. It can help you lose weight and maintain a healthy weight. It can help you gain energy throughout your day and draw you and your colleagues closer together around this common goal of health.
What was the writing process for Move or Die like for you?
It was a mix like anything else: painful, fun, inspiring, collaborative, scary. I find that writing has helped me update my ideas about health in a deeper way. Each time I review a section I feel inspired to get up and move and I hope that it will have the same effect on the reader.
Many writers are also readers. What are you top three reads of all times?
Anything by Virginia Satir. Peoplemaking is a good place to start. That woman who has passed away now has taught me so much about life, the mind/body, relationships and I still have so much more to learn!
Jiddu Krishnamurti Freedom from the Known.
J.D. Salinger The Catcher in the Rye.
Are you thinking of writing another book?
Yes, this book focused on physical movement in a sedentary culture. My next work will focus more becoming aware internally and moving in this space. These things go together of course, but I would want to focus on mental health and relationship health in the next book.