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Is Sitting Killing Us All?

Posted February 10, 2017 6:00 PM by M-ReeD
Pathfinder Tags: Health Sitting

Did you know that sitting is allegedly as dangerous as smoking? Well I didn’t, and I have to admit, it has been all that I have been thinking about for the last 48 hours. Well that, and the state of the nation. (I am remarkably well-rounded.)

The concept that sitting for too long is bad for us is not new. Several studies have cropped up, particularly in recent years. One of the most recent being a book by Dr. James Levine entitled Get Up.

According to Levine, not only is sitting more dangerous than smoking, it is also more dangerous than parachuting and it kills more people than HIV. All of this is bad news for Americans who spend a great deal of time seated.

Based on Levine’s research, Americans spend 7.7 hours a day sitting (a combination of work-related sitting, commute-sitting, and recreational sitting). For people between the ages of 60 and 69, that number is higher with 8.5 hours of sitting.

Sitting for long periods has been linked to shorter lifespans, increased risk of dementia, stroke, heart attack, diabetes, depression, and cancer.

A similar study from 2011 also alleges that for every one hour spent sitting and watching television, 22 minutes are deducted from our lives.

And scarier still, another study revealed that prolonged sitting might alter the shape of one’s behind. A condition cheekily referred to as “office ass” is a phenomenon where prolonged sitting makes your tush resemble a pancake because of a breakdown in glute muscles.

So, while the obvious solution seems to be a simple one (stop sitting down!), that isn’t always possible. Especially for people who are required to sit for work.

A few practical solutions for sitting too much in the workplace: take breaks to walk around periodically; when you must communicate with a coworker, walk to their desk instead of sending an email; park farther away from the entrance to your office; create walking meetings; pace during conference calls; take the stairs, etc.

Employers are becoming more sensitive to the health benefits of offering standing workstations and treadmill desks as well, with the benefits of both often overlapping.

Standing desks have been credited with resolving back pain, increasing energy levels, and improving mood, while treadmill desks are credited with reducing stress, promoting strong bones, increasing creativity, lowering blood pressure, maintaining healthy body weight, increasing energy levels, and improving mood.

Unfortunately, the costs associated with both workstations are greater than the cost of a seated workstation. Other possible drawbacks: Particularly for the treadmill desk, the motion might be a distraction to other co-workers and could also challenge an employee’s ability to type accurately. Additionally, an employee might exhaust any available cognitive resources thinking instead of keeping balance on the treadmill.

For standing workstations, there are fewer drawbacks beyond tiring an employee more quickly and the expense.

So the last 48 hours have returned very little in terms of offering a comforting solution to my seating obsession. While I am still concerned with being killed by sitting, I am even more concerned with face-planting off an office treadmill in front of coworkers.

Do you sit for long periods? Have you tried an alternative workstation?

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#1

Re: Is Sitting Killing Us All?

02/10/2017 11:06 PM

Yes! Get up!....walk around.....

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#2

Re: Is Sitting Killing Us All?

02/11/2017 9:24 AM

I want to start a class action lawsuit! I'm being slowly poisoned by second-hand sitting.

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#3
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Re: Is Sitting Killing Us All?

02/11/2017 11:28 AM

Regretting that lap dance?

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#4

Re: Is Sitting Killing Us All?

02/11/2017 10:37 PM

No wonder the previous generation of people are living longer than us now today. Well better throw all the chair away so that everyone is standing up while working.

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#5

Re: Is Sitting Killing Us All?

02/11/2017 11:12 PM

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#6

Re: Is Sitting Killing Us All?

02/12/2017 12:55 PM

Is Sitting Killing Us All?

that reminds me, I'd better go to the gym this afternoon.

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#7

Re: Is Sitting Killing Us All?

02/12/2017 1:11 PM

I had a couple of hours to kill between my lab and my doctor's appointment. I dicided to go for a bike ride to check out a new trail. It turned into a vigorous, peddles to the mettle bike ride. When my doctor checked my blood pressure it was so low I though I must be dead. And they had been treating me for high blood pressure.

So the moral of the story is go do a workout before your doctor's appointment. You might not need their medicine.

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#8
In reply to #7

Re: Is Sitting Killing Us All?

02/12/2017 1:32 PM

Good advice... but do it regularly, and not just for the doctors visit

On my yearly physical, I came in after working out in the gym, (because it worked out that way) my blood pressure has always been normal, but when he took mine, he was concerned because it was so low. Until I told him I just came from the gym. It is rather relaxing.

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#11
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Re: Is Sitting Killing Us All?

02/13/2017 12:00 PM

Good for you on the Fitbit. I have one and it constantly reminds me to get up and walk.

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#9

Re: Is Sitting Killing Us All?

02/12/2017 9:50 PM

No Death does.

Not many people sit when they die.

Seems not preferential.

We die anyway.

The question really is: are we already dead when we sit down?

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#10
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Re: Is Sitting Killing Us All?

02/13/2017 7:09 AM

Its not so much expiring (dying) ... it the quality of life up to that moment.

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#12
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Re: Is Sitting Killing Us All?

02/13/2017 12:04 PM

I totally agree. I really don't know if i will live any longer, but after seeing my dad suffer at the hands of doctors for 20 years i would chose workouts over suffering.

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#13
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Re: Is Sitting Killing Us All?

02/13/2017 12:14 PM

My dad had arthritis in the neck as well as other joints due to accidents starting in his 30's.

Instead of giving up, I recall him saying his joints hurt, he has to get moving. That's only one of the reasons he's in his 90's now.

I'm 56 now, I myself notice in the last 3-4 years, I have trouble running and getting progressively worse, hips on down.

I used to play basketball, Racquetball and LaCrosse at the 'Y' with the 20+ year olds up till early to mid 40's, I tapered down until I stopped al together due to injuries.

That is what got me going again. Only less competitive sports like Bike riding, weights and cardio.

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#14

Re: Is Sitting Killing Us All?

02/13/2017 1:20 PM

The famous surfer/ fitness guru, Laird Hamilton says to remove all the chairs in your house, and replace them with large fitness balls, even for your computer chair. Heals back pain, improves posture, gives your core the best workout, and other benefits..Sounds good, but after a few beers, I am not quite sure....

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#15

Re: Is Sitting Killing Us All?

02/13/2017 2:07 PM

I had to quit running when I was thirty die to back problems. But I could still ride a bicycle. I thought I couldn't ride a road bike so my next new bike was a mountain bike modified for an upright sitting position. What I had created was what's now known as a hybrid. Now it seems we have come full circle and recreated the touring bike.

Then I found I could ride a road bike if I slightly modified the seating position and used a spring loaded touring seat. It's worked great for long distance tours. You might not want to "race" for sixty miles but it is nice to roll along efficiently.

One of my bike riding friends had hurt his back and the doctors said he was going to need surgery. He asked his doctor if he could ride a bike and the doctor said it was OK. The exercise helped his back heal and he no longer needed surgery.

My other "exercise machine" is my antique bathtub. I'll lean on it in various ways and use the water for gentle resistance exercises to keep my knees and shoulders in shape. Much more fun than fighting giant rubber bands. And I take a bath every day so it's harder to blow off my exercises.

When I was in school I would get up and walk around the halls every hour to keep my self loose. I figured four laps around the building was about a mile.

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#17
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Re: Is Sitting Killing Us All?

02/13/2017 2:20 PM

For my girlfriends birthday, I got her 10 dance lessons. The instructor was moving out of state and he would come to our home and give the lessons. so we had the (10) 3 hour lessons in a 2 week period. It was an extremely intensive workout that was through end of May and 1st week in June.

I loved dancing, but it has been awhile and my girlfriend would liked to learn.

We first learned West Coast Swing and then East Coast Swing.

Afterwards, the instructor would chat with us before he left.

I was pretty active in sports, but not lately... On the sixth day of lessons, I was in so much pain in my hips and knees, mostly hips, I excused myself, went into the bedroom got down on my knees, (because I could no longer stand) and said 'God take me now'.

That sixth lesson must have been the wall because the following 3 lesson were great. everything seemed to gel. It was fun.

But compared to sports, this was an excellent workout.

I like get some lessons to do the waltz.

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Re: Is Sitting Killing Us All?

02/13/2017 2:09 PM

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#18

Re: Is Sitting Killing Us All?

02/13/2017 4:40 PM

This kid in high school joined the dance class. He said "I thought football was tough."

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#19

Re: Is Sitting Killing Us All?

02/14/2017 10:03 AM

Well, I guess I am almost dead by now. I have a problem in my neck that makes sleeping lying prone a one to two hour at most venture. The remainder of my sleep is sitting in a chair.

Ever visit Mount Vernon and/or Monticello? Guess those 2 forefathers didn't get that message either. Their beds were short and they slept sitting nearly upright, which is where I derived my solution to my neck problem.

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#25
In reply to #19

Re: Is Sitting Killing Us All?

02/15/2017 4:49 PM

I am sorry to read this. While not knowing the nature of your neck troubles, I offer...

There is a condition that many electricians suffer from called "electrician's neck" which comes from doing a lot of work with both hands held overhead while working in a junction box. Apparently, this hand position allows the vertebrae to move. I suffered for years with this issue off and on. "ChiroQuacks" only made it worse.

What worked for me is a series of simple exercises (I do them religiously every morning in the shower), I think I have the sheet from the doc that details them. I can try and find it if you want.

When that does not do the trick, I have found, believe it or not, that the Dr.Ho TENS unit advertised on the boob tube works wonders. Give it a shot.

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#26
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Re: Is Sitting Killing Us All?

02/15/2017 5:20 PM

Thank you for your concern.

It is a PPE accumulative injury. We were required to wear hard hats when I was a well logging engineer, (used borehole tools to analyze potential oil reservoirs) although the engineer seldom was anywhere near an object overhead, unless you count the stars in the sky. This job required the engineer to run from the logging compartment on the hoist truck to the cat walk on the rig and back multiple times per job, because only the engineer was allowed to insert the gamma ray and the neutron sources, and my company was too cheap to hire enough assistants to assemble the 1000 pound plus string of 4 or 5 borehole tools. Two people were taxed to do this assembly in the usual 8" of site mud. The hard hat was often forgotten about in the haste to return to the logging compartment, and I know I smacked the hard hat into the compartment door frame top at least 3 times every month or more in my career. I now have degenerated vertebrae thanks to the hard hat, which I never had anything hit, except the door frame, in my entire career. They do a fine job of pinching nerves to my shoulders and arms when lying prone.

This is minor - I could tell you about what the electrical cleaner did to me, but that is another story.

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#20

Re: Is Sitting Killing Us All?

02/14/2017 12:16 PM

I agree that people should be more active. I can also understand the correlation between daily time sitting and lifespan. However, I wonder which is cause and which is effect. Healthy, active people are more active than unhealthy people. Did being active make them healthy or can only healthy people be that active? Telling the late Christopher Reeve that he should get out of his wheelchair would be at best a poor joke. Don't forget that his former active life put him in that wheelchair.

My warped mind also finds the linguistic faux pas "for every one hour spent sitting and watching television, 22 minutes are deducted from our lives" amusing. If my life is reduced by only 22 minutes for every hour of television then I'll gladly accept the remaining 38 minutes.

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#21
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Re: Is Sitting Killing Us All?

02/14/2017 12:24 PM

I believe Euell Gibbons would like to weigh in on this,.... Euell.

In all seriousness, there are many factors, such as a person's metabolism...

  • I know people who smoke cigars every day of their lives.
  • People who downed a fifth of whiskey, word has every day.
  • People who were very inactive,... but they talked rather actively.

who lived well in their 90's.

While others who were active, led a clean life, and ate healthy expired before they reached 50.

Not that that's recommended; if these same people lived differently, I'm sure that could affect their quality of life and its expectancy.

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#23
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Re: Is Sitting Killing Us All?

02/14/2017 7:26 PM

Secrets to a long life by 109 year old man....

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#24
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Re: Is Sitting Killing Us All?

02/15/2017 11:52 AM

What a great video--Thank you!

I remember seeing an gentleman who had turned 100, being interviewed by a cub reporter for our local TV station. When he asked the gentleman what the secret of his longevity was, he said it was his memory. He had the reporter sucked in by now. When asked about how memory helped him live so long, he replied" Don't forget to breathe!!" And he cracked up with his own joke.

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#22

Re: Is Sitting Killing Us All?

02/14/2017 6:48 PM

Maybe this is more realistic....

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#27

Re: Is Sitting Killing Us All?

02/23/2017 4:49 PM

There is a locally produced TV show called "Sit and be Fit." One time I was alone in a waiting room and found myself following along with the program. https://www.youtube.com/user/SitandBeFitTVSHOW

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#28

Re: Is Sitting Killing Us All?

02/23/2017 4:55 PM

When I saw this book at the library I thought it was just another self help book. It's so much more. http://www.worldcat.org/title/9-steps-to-keep-the-doctor-away-simple-actions-to-shift-your-body-and-mind-to-optimum-health-for-greater-longevity/oclc/528410925&referer=brief_results

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