I was sitting comfortably in my office chair at home when I came across an article from The New York Times Magazine about my ass. Well, not my ass per se, but asses generally, and more specifically how sitting on them too long may defy even the most strict exercise regimens. The Mayo Clinic played home to a recent study by Dr. James Levine, which looked at the relation of activity or inactivity at its most basic level to metabloic rate and weight fluctuations.
It turns out that sitting for too long reduces—and apparently may eliminate—electrical activity in muscles until a person resumes activity (i.e. goes for a walk). As you can imagine, this works biblical-scale plagues upon your metabolism. I’m not going to depress you with the correlation between hours spent sitting and life span, but let’s just say it doesn’t go in the direction you’d hope. And while I’d advise you not to sweat the small stuff, it appears that the small stuff may be your only hope.
Dr. Levine suggests that a multitude of small movements throughout the day may help mitigate the effects of sitting at a computer at length. The guy even invented a treadmill desk. (I’m not kidding: behold the Walkstation.) I remember that one of my first post-college jobs was at a marketing agency. I was bored and sedentary so I started working with my keyboard atop my monitor, standing at my desk.
I got weird looks, but I felt more engaged and got more done. I haven’t done that at any job since, and let’s not kid ourselves: it’s probably not a widely accepted work posture for the office. But it just goes to show you that I’m way ahead of the Mayo Clinic and The New York Times.
Image credit: Lars Ploughmann