Sitting Kills

death chair imageThis one really surprised me. Although it’s been a while since I was in the traditional “sit at your desk for ten hours a day” type job, I do remember how tedious that was.

When I those types of jobs, I would always make sure to get up every few minutes to get a bit of exercise and also to use that as an excuse to visit everyone on my team and get an update on how the project at hand was progressing. I took a page from Lee Iaccoca’s book — he called it MBWA, or Management by Walking Around.

The architectural designs for the Cielito Lindo Ranch Lodge and cabins all include plenty of places to sit and lay down. We’ve also accommodated “standing desks” and “standing counters” to allow people who wish to stand to be able to so when they eat or work. This came more from the fact that since we’re building with adobe and straw bales, we can easily “mold” furniture into the walls as a permanent part of the building. I’m sure you’ve see this type of thing in Cob houses where tables and benches are actually part of the walls.

However, the more research we do into this, the more we’re realizing that sitting is actually pretty bad for you. In a previous post we learned that at least in one society that had exceptional longevity, part of that was due to the fact that that culture sat on the floor and got up to their feet many times a day, which acted as good for for life-integrated exercise.

This article from USA Today says that sitting causes the body to shift into idle, which makes it much more suceptable to heart disease — up to 18% increase in risk. In it, Dr. James Levine, an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn says “The body’s idling state is very, very unhealthy. Much like a Ferrari, the human is meant to move.”

And also check out this article that shows that recent scientific studies show a direct correlation with time sitting and a reduced lifespan.

How do work and avoid sitting? This article talks about “standing desks”, which are an interesting solution. Of course, getting up and moving around works well also.

So the bottom line is, SIT LESS. Here are some tips:

  • Adopt a more active job/career where sitting for hours is not required
  • If you do have to sit at work, try to get up and walk around often, or trey to get a “standing desk”
  • Try to conduct or suggest walking or standing meetings — a great advantage of standing meetings is they tend to be shorter!
  • When you’re on the phone, walk around while you talk
  • If you sit all day at work, try standing or moving around when you’re home.
  • Avoid hours of sitting watching TV when you’re home. Do something active instead.
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