My standing desk, an old drafting table. Next project: wire management. Image Credit Lloyd Alter
James Vlahos asks in the New York Times Magazine: Is Sitting a Lethal Activity? He tells of a study that used motion-tracking underwear, among other tools, to find out why some people get fat and others don't. It turned out that some people just gotta move, while others don't; " On average, the subjects who gained weight sat two hours more per day than those who hadn't."
The posture of sitting itself probably isn't worse than any other type of daytime physical inactivity, like lying on the couch watching "Wheel of Fortune." But for most of us, when we're awake and not moving, we're sitting. This is your body on chairs: Electrical activity in the muscles drops -- "the muscles go as silent as those of a dead horse," [researcher Marc] Hamilton says -- leading to a cascade of harmful metabolic effects. Your calorie-burning rate immediately plunges to about one per minute, a third of what it would be if you got up and walked.
Dr. James Levine of the Mayo Clinic is blunt, calling sitting a "lethal activity." The article concludes:
For all of the hard science against sitting, he admits that his campaign against what he calls "the chair-based lifestyle" is not limited to simply a quest for better physical health. His is a war against inertia itself, which he believes sickens more than just our body. "Go into cubeland in a tightly controlled corporate environment and you immediately sense that there is a malaise about being tied behind a computer screen seated all day," he said. "The soul of the nation is sapped, and now it's time for the soul of the nation to rise."
Indeed. So get off that chair!