|AARP Bulletin Jan-Feb 2012|
I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the AARP Bulletin headline proclaiming, "Sitting Is The New Smoking." Elizabeth Pope's article details the many risks that plague even "active couch potatoes."
According to Ms. Pope, "Mounting evidence suggests that sitting for long periods increases the risk of obesity, diabetes, cancer and early death, even for people who exercise daily. Prolonged sitting appears to have powerful metabolic consequences, disrupting processes that break down fats and sugars in the blood. " Unfortunately, this could potentially lead to heart disease.
As a preventative, the author lists some helpful suggestions to keep us on our toes, "Put your computer on a plastic milk crate on the desk and work standing up. Set your computer to remind you to stand up and stretch every 30 minutes. Use the bathroom down a flight of stairs." She also includes other examples, but the timer just went off, so I'm taking a brisk walk downstairs to the refrigerator.
Not long ago, articles were being written about the dangers of prolonged standing equating it with everything from varicose veins, foot, leg, and back pain to stressful pregnancies. Now sitting is the new standing, but comparing it to smoking is going a tad too far. You can quit smoking or never start it in the first place, but how can you quit sitting cold turkey?
Instead of drive-in theaters which are already becoming obsolete, will there be stand-in theaters with stadium standing? Since some airlines are already charging for bags, as well as, bag lunches, will flights evolve into standing room only with additional charges for seats?
As far as working on the computer in a standing position, if it's not properly aligned it could induce other ailments like back, neck, arm, wrist, and shoulder injuries. Ms. Pope also cites a woman who "..bought a desk equipped to fit over a treadmill and now logs 30 to 35 miles a week walking at 1.4 miles per hour." That sounds great now, but her joints may pay for it later.
Like everything in life, the key is moderation. Sit, stand, fetch, roll-over, and repeat with the occasional jumping up for treats. We just have to keep on moving in sensible shoes, though it's often difficult to find four matching ones.