Sheila K. Collins Website



May/June 2011 

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When I started this every-other-month newsletter project, I wasn't sure I'd have enough news. But as you will see when you read down the page, life is full. This issue includes:


  • A program at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, using InterPlay to create responses in the moment to art exhibits
  • Pittsburgh is Art Day of Giving May 11th - A small gift on that day to InterPlay Pittsburgh can make a BIG difference cause of the match. Learn more below. 
  • An article that presents some ways to stay healthy while sitting at a computer.
  • An annoucement of a new InterPlay class just forming, and
  • at the Three Rivers Arts Festival June 12 - Wing & a Prayer will help with A Celebration of Unity: an artful reclaiming of Indigenous Wisdom.

Thanks for your interest and support and let me hear from you.



Sheila Collins 


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Our Unhealthful Lifestyle and What To do About It


I'm one of a small group of people who still reads a newspaper most mornings. I'm really glad I did a couple of Sunday mornings ago when I found James Vlahos's article in the New York Times Magazine, What's the most unhealthful thing you do every day? Click on this link to read the article 


He answered some questions I've been living with for a long time, like why do people who have the same diet and exercise regimes, not have identical weight loss or gain records? And more personally, why does every slice of bread or pasta I eat appear to add to the extra flesh at my waistline?surprised woman


The culprit it turns out is inactivity, and apparently our exercise four times a week while spending the rest of our time at our computers lifestyle doesn't quality as enough activity. An emerging field of inactivity studies has arisen and Mr. Vlahos volunteered to become a mock research subject to understand how these researchers have been gathering their data. He began by wearing motion tracking underwear, and like the real subjects, he eliminated all exercise, and consumed only food from the research kitchen. Following this protocol, nothing is left to the inaccuracies of poor memory and fudging self-report. Researcher Dr. James Levine, at the Mayo Clinic creates a closed metabolic system which accounts for every calorie consumed and expended.


Initially, researchers expected to find some metabolic factor that would explain why some people don't gain weight while others do. But after six years, with the help of the motion tracking underwear, they discovered that some people were unconsciously moving around more. This motion happened, even when sitting. (If you were one of those kids who got in trouble for squirming in your chair, this could turn out to be a good thing.) 


Sitting, according to the researchers interviewed in the article, is not good for our health and well being. When we are sitting, our calorie burning rate plunges to one per minute, instead of three per minute when we stand or walk. The risk of type 2 diabetes rises along with the risk for obesity. And over a life time, according to one study, the men who sat for six hours or more a day had a death rate 40 percent higher than those you didn't. So sitting too much can take years off your life.


This makes sense to me and has made me more determined to change my practices around working at my computer. Here are some actions in addition to my Zumba class that I am taking and I am pledging to stick to more systematically in the future. Let me hear from you about yours.


1) Setting the timer on my cell phone to interrupt my sitting once an hour. 

2) Stretching and twisting in my chair while I'm typing and reading on line.

3) Taking the stairs and a brief walk every morning and afternoon.

4) Wiggling and squirming and moving the muscles of my face and hands. Turns out these micro-movements count to your metabolism. 

5) Here's a practice from InterPlay - we remind each other often, "Take a deep breath and let it out with a sigh."

6) And in InterPlay we even have a tee shirt for this one, "Shake out whatever you're sitting on."



Sheila K. Collins 2011

Pittsburgh is Art Day of Giving May 11th - A small gift on that day to InterPlay Pittsburgh can make a BIG difference cause of the match.


Help Us Mobilize! Help Us Demonstrate a Strong Interest in the Arts in Pittsburgh!


Be a part of the first ever, online Pittsburgh is Art Day of Giving May 11th.


day of giving logo 

InterPlay Pittsburgh and Wing & a Prayer Pittsburgh Players appreciate your interest and support of our efforts to use the arts in service of noble purposes in the Pittsburgh community. As the Pittsburgh is Art Day of Giving approaches, we ask that you help us in two ways. First, consider making a personal gift to InterPlay Pittsburgh on May 11th. The minimum donation is just $15 but every gift counts more than the amount because of the $475-500,000 match!




Here are examples of what your gifts can do:


$15 buys a one hour consultation on social networking technology, (facebook, tweeting) or an admission to an InterPlay Performance Jam


$25 pays for a musician for the weekly rehearsals of Wing & a Prayer Pittsburgh Players  


$50 buys reception refreshments for InterPlay Responds to an art exhibit


$100 provides an honorarium for a musician for a performance


$1000 funds a day-long InterPlay Playshop for human service workers to offset the stressful impact of their demanding noble work. 


Second, please encourage your friends, family, and colleagues to make a donation on May 11 to InterPlay Pittsburgh and their other favorite arts organizations. The Pittsburgh is Art Day of Giving is a great chance to make a huge difference in the programs you care about.  


Go to and just Point. Click. Give. Bravo!


Sheila K. Collins, PhD 
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