As I sit down to write this article, I have to admit, I’m a little scared. The emphasis on the fact that I’m sitting down. Researchers have now linked sitting down for long periods of time with stroke, heart disease, and diabetes.
Sedentary lifestyles are still all the rage here in America, so this news may shake a few foundations, but for the few folks committed to an active life, this study is an affirmation of all the hard work it takes to not lay comatose watching Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta re-runs and instead exercise at the walking park.
According to Peter Katzmarzyk, PhD, an associate executive director for population science at Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University System in Baton Rouge, La., the study confirms that our nine-to-five desk jobs are as much of a risk factor for developing potentially fatal diseases as obesity.
But judging from American’s current apathy towards eating healthier foods in the face of an influx of cheap processed food, we won’t tell our bosses we need more sunshine and less stress, Office Space-style, until the obesity epidemic reaches the levels of anti-cigarette campaigns.
But CEO’s don’t lead companies because their complacent, so in an effort to keep production at or around the rate of “Kimye” photo-ops, according to Katzmarzyk, we’ll see new office-gym hybrid models (as if we needed anymore of a reminder that we’re hamsters on the wheel).
“Some companies are replacing standard desks and chairs with treadmill desks or standing desks, Katzmarzyk says. “Rather than emailing a colleague, go talk to them,” he says. “Walking meetings can also take the place of sitting around a table.”
It seems pretty simple, but it feels so good to sit on my Humanscale Liberty chair. Conversely, many studies suggest that humans have evolved to walk, not run, long distances, helping us find food and shelter when modern civilization was just some lonely man’s Oedipal dream.
Garry Sigman, MD, director of the pediatric obesity program of Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Ill adds some words of wisdom as I start to type this standing up on my smartphone:
“When we move, we feel better,” Sigman says. “If you are sitting because of your pastimes, try to adopt and enjoy a more active pastime like walking or bicycling.”
Ummm…you’re misconstruing the facts. It’s not as much “sitting for long periods” as it is “not being active.” If you sat for 8 hours/day and worked out at night or on the weekends, your risk would go down. The problem is that many people are sedentary ALL THE TIME- whether at work or in their free time.