Is Sitting the New Smoking? Pilates Can Help Add Years to Your Life!

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sitting-is-new-smokingAmericans are sitting more now than ever. According to Dr. James Levine, director of the Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative and inventor of the standing desk, we lose two hours of living for every hour that we sit.  He found that people who mostly sat and were inactive were more likely gain weight, get diabetes, have heart attacks and develop cancer. The American Journal of Epidemiology reports that a man who sits more than six hours a day has an 18%  increased risk of dying from heart disease and a 7.8%  increased chance of dying from diabetes compared with someone who sits for three hours or less a day.  Only a three hour difference! Who knew that sitting can be dangerous to your health?

In 1945, Joseph Pilates published his first book, Return to Life through Contrology documenting his advice on health, posture and breathing. More than 70 years ago, Mr. Pilates saw the effects of poor posture: shallow breathing, backaches, and lack of energy. He developed “Contrology”, a mind-body exercise system (known today as the Pilates Method) as a solution for correcting physical imbalances and improving one’s quality of life. People were sitting poorly back then, straining their eyes to see in dim light without the benefit of the ergonomic chairs that we utilize in today’s modern office spaces. He even invented his Wunda Chair- a modified living room chair that could be converted to a piece of exercise equipment. Susan Lucci sells a version of this on QVC. He was way ahead of his time!

Original Wunda Chair

Joseph Pilates demonstrating the first home fitness equipment, the Wunda Chair.

Poor posture and weak muscles can cause backaches that prolonged sitting can aggravate.  The Pilates Method is a great way to improve your posture, invigorate your circulatory system, and strengthen muscles weakened from long periods of sitting.  My clients who used to have chronic back pain frequently report that they are now pain-free thanks to regular Pilates classes. Attend a Mat Pilates class that focuses on posture and strengthening your core, RollPlay that focuses on balance and myofascial release (guided self-massage of the back and legs with the foam roller) or BellaBody Barre classes that focus on posture, balance and endurance. Try the ultimate in resistance training– Pilates equipment sessions.  Add walking or swimming to your daily routine. As Helen Hayes famously said, “if you rest, you rust.” It’s time to get moving at BellaBody Pilates! Contact Deborah Lavinsky, PMA®-CPT at or 602-318-5068 for more information or schedule online here:


For more information on Obesity Solutions at Arizona State University and their collaboratives please click here: