Sit me deadly

According to Owen, Bauman, and Brown

Research on physical activity and health has pointed clearly to increasing the time that adults spend doing moderate to vigorous intensity activities: 30 minutes a day is generally recommended. However, recent evidence underlines the importance of also focusing on sedentary behaviours—the high volumes of time that adults spend sitting in their remaining “non-exercise” waking hours. We provide a brief overview of recent evidence for the distinct relationships between ‘too much sitting’ and biomarkers of metabolic health and, thus, with increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other prevalent chronic health problems. Particular concerns for this new field include the challenges of changing sedentary behaviours in the context of ubiquitous environmental and social drivers of sitting time; examining the effects of interventions for reducing or breaking-up sitting time and identifying the most relevant implications for clinical and public health practice.

Sitting is Killing You

According to Maria Cheng

While health officials have issued guidelines recommending minimum amounts of physical activity, they haven’t suggested people try to limit how much time they spend in a seated position.

“After four hours of sitting, the body starts to send harmful signals,” Ekblom-Bak said. She explained that genes regulating the amount of glucose and fat in the body start to shut down.


Still, in a study published last year that tracked more than 17,000 Canadians for about a dozen years, researchers found people who sat more had a higher death risk, independently of whether or not they exercised.


“People should keep exercising because that has a lot of benefits,” Ekblom-Bak said. “But when they’re in the office, they should try to interrupt sitting as often as possible,” she said. “Don’t just send your colleague an e-mail. Walk over and talk to him. Standing up.”

The last comment seems like from another century though. Yes, it would be convenient if all my colleagues were within walking distance, or even within driving distance, but it’s not going to happen. Plus it misses a main purpose of email, which is to communicate in a way that can be queued and does not interrupt concentration.

See also “Amount of time spent on a project isn’t what counts — it’s the amount of uninterrupted time“.

Don't take a seat


1 Comment

  1. Correlation causes claims of causation – 53% of studies that show a correlation are reported as proving causation. In fact, chairs have been around relieving human misery for millenia and only occasionally are they the direct cause of death, electric chairs notwithstanding.

    Rather than pretend that you are what’s left over after you sweat it all off, let’s just admit that we are what we eat and that our metabolisms might just not be fully adapted to the modern hybrid strains of wheat and corn that have come to dominate industrial agriculture in the last 50-70 years (yes, they are genetically more distant from aboriginal wheat than we are from chimpanzees!)

    Have a rich fatty slice of well-aged Prime Rib, skip the potato, bread, and dessert, and sleep it off in a
    cozy Lazy Boy watching the highly paid athletes injure themselves doing this exercise stuff. You will
    outlive them all like the cunning top of the food chain you were meant to be.


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