It’s been five years since I published my first book. At the time, I thought I’d be a one-hit wonder. But I’ve gone on to publish a total of 11 books and one audiobook. So I now confidently introduce myself as a writer, especially since I’m working on my next few manuscripts.
In recognition of my five-year authorship anniversary, I’ve been reflecting on what led me to write my first book, Move More, Your Life Depends on It. That was published in 2019, but I founded THE MOVE MORE INSTITUTE™ in 2016. It was an initiative I created to help sedentary individuals learn how to incorporate non-exercise activity into their daily lives. You know, how our grandparents used to live when they didn’t have so many labour-saving devices at their fingertips.
Here’s a post about it from 2018, when I appeared on local television to promote my initiative:
Living in the nation’s capital—home to the federal government and a multitude of associations and institutes—I wanted a whimsical, tongue-in-cheek title for my initiative. That’s how THE MOVE MORE INSTITUTE™ came into existence. But there was nothing formal or regimented about it. In reality, I was trying to work myself out of a job. You see, as a group fitness instructor and personal trainer, many clients participated in weekly exercise with me. But for many, that was the extent of their physical activity. The rest of their waking hours, they were mostly sedentary at work and home. I was trying to inspire people to sit less, move more--even if that meant they no longer felt the need to attend my classes or hire me for personal training.
And that was a problem, because sitting had been identified as the “new smoking." You see, exercise alone isn’t enough. Daily movement that breaks up long periods of sitting is vital. I first read about this concept in the 2011 book, Sitting Kills, Moving Heals, by Dr. Joan Vernikos—the former Director of NASA’s Life Sciences Division. Vernikos was instrumental in astronaut John Glenn’s return to space at the age of 77.
Although I wrote about Vernikos’ important work as early as 2014, Vernikos published her first book on the topic a decade earlier— The G-Connection: Harness Gravity and Reverse Aging. Although I can confidently say I’ve been ahead of my time with many of my publications, it is Dr. Vernikos’ ground-breaking research at NASA that led the movement to reduce sedentary time. When I realized in 2018 that many of my blog posts had already touched on this important topic, I knew I wanted to expand on my previous writing and turn it into a book.
So that’s my story of how NASA inspired my writing career. If you haven’t had a chance to read Dr. Vernikos' work, I’d recommend any of her books. But my favourite is still Sitting Kills, Moving Heals.
Other books by Joan Vernikos, Ph.D.:
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Amanda Sterczyk is an international author, Certified Personal Trainer (ACSM), an Exercise is Medicine Canada (EIMC) Fitness Professional, and a Certified Essentrics® Instructor.