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The negative effects of extended sitting
Old 04-28-2012, 07:53 AM   #1
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The negative effects of extended sitting

Interesting article this morning in the NYT about the negative effects of extended sitting. Even people that exercised regularly suffered high rates of premature death when they spent extended time sitting over long periods. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/29/su...r=1&ref=health

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To see the results of such inactivity, scientists with the National Cancer Institute spent eight years following almost 250,000 American adults. The participants answered detailed questions about how much time they spent commuting, watching TV, sitting before a computer and exercising, as well as about their general health. At the start of the study, none suffered from heart disease, cancer or diabetes.

But after eight years, many were ill and quite a few had died. The sick and deceased were also in most cases sedentary. Those who watched TV for seven or more hours a day proved to have a much higher risk of premature death than those who sat in front of the television less often. (Television viewing is a widely used measure of sedentary time.)

Exercise only slightly lessened the health risks of sitting. People in the study who exercised for seven hours or more a week but spent at least seven hours a day in front of the television were more likely to die prematurely than the small group who worked out seven hours a week and watched less than an hour of TV a day.
Just getting up and walking about for a few minutes each hour or two is apparently enough to offset many of the negative health consequences of sitting.
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Old 04-28-2012, 08:28 AM   #2
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Thank you for sharing that. I use a workbreak timer (most of my work day is spent sitting and staring intently at my computer monitors), but I override it when I am really focused. The "standing burns hundreds of more calories than sitting" was a sweet inducement. Of course, "just standing" can lead to other issues (especially with my bunion foot), but I will try to be more diligent and report back.
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Old 04-28-2012, 08:46 AM   #3
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Just getting up and walking about for a few minutes each hour or two is apparently enough to offset many of the negative health consequences of sitting.
My restlessness may finally pay off!
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Old 04-28-2012, 09:40 AM   #4
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My restlessness may finally pay off!
+1, me too.

BTW, I was planning on skipping my walk today cause it's raining here. After this thread, I'm going to walk after all, curses...
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Old 04-28-2012, 09:49 AM   #5
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I agree that sitting a lot is probably bad. Sometimes I think that the main benefit of long (4+ hours) bike rides is that they simply eliminate more sitting time.

But here's my broken-record comment on the 250,000 subject study. The implication is:

Sitting More Causes You to be Unhealthy

but it is just as easily be interpreted as

Being Unhealthy Causes You to Sit More

IOW, the study says nothing about what causes what.


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Old 04-28-2012, 10:52 AM   #6
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Were the folks sitting 7 hours a day dying of bedsores? And can a person recover? I sat a lot during my corporate phase, and I hope being active now will undo the damage.
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Old 04-28-2012, 11:03 AM   #7
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I bought a Fitbit a few months ago and it is a real eye opener to compare days that I just work at the computer and days where I have to run around (to Costco etc) which are similar to days that I actually exercise! A sedentary day (I work at home) can be around 2000 steps compared to exercise days at 5000 steps - compared to hiking in Bryce Canyon last week (15,000 steps!). I am now much more conscious of what I need to do each day and am striving for 5000 a day now minimum.

The Fitbit wirelessly uploads your data to the cloud whenever you are within 20 ft of your computer, so you can see an activity chart. Check it out on Amazon ($99).
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Old 04-28-2012, 11:16 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
I agree that sitting a lot is probably bad. Sometimes I think that the main benefit of long (4+ hours) bike rides is that they simply eliminate more sitting time.

But here's my broken-record comment on the 250,000 subject study. The implication is:

Sitting More Causes You to be Unhealthy

but it is just as easily be interpreted as

Being Unhealthy Causes You to Sit More

IOW, the study says nothing about what causes what.


Well, they did not rule out the television programming as a cause of premature death, so the study is potentially incomplete. Even when I watch a little TV I sometimes feel like my head is going to explode, so that could be it.

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But after eight years, many were ill and quite a few had died. The sick and deceased were also in most cases sedentary. Those who watched TV for seven or more hours a day proved to have a much higher risk of premature death than those who sat in front of the television less often. (Television viewing is a widely used measure of sedentary time.)
Still, their health before the study began was taken into consideration, and other studies referenced in the article point to measured differences between those with extended sitting time and others with more frequent activity.
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Old 04-28-2012, 11:41 AM   #9
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After just 8 years, and they went from decent health to " many were ill and quite a few had died".

Really?
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Old 04-28-2012, 03:52 PM   #10
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Well, they did not rule out the television programming as a cause of premature death.
Death by Kardashian.
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Old 04-28-2012, 04:25 PM   #11
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It's hard for me to understand how anyone other than a nursing home occupant could find 7 hours a day to watch tv. Workers-9 hours working, 1-1.5 hours commuting, 1hour meal prep, 1 hour cleanup and house chores, 1+ hours eating not at work, 8 hours sleeping, 1 hour personal hygiene, 1 hour shopping and food marketing, 1 hour work related home duties, helping kids with homework, etc-, 1/2 hr average PTA, civic responsibilities etc, 1/2 hour social life, 10.3 minutes making love or whatever needs one has in that area, so I get almost 26 hours and no one has played ball with their kids, or taken them to a soccer practice, or read a book, or engaged ina hobby, or gone out to dinner or for apizza with the kids, or made love longer than 10.3 minutes? These people must be in a hursing home. Except even people in a nursing home might spend mrore time messing around than that

Ha
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Old 04-28-2012, 05:03 PM   #12
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That is funny And you left out 2 hours a day surfing the Internet at home, so it's really 28 hours per day - though I suspect a lot of folks on the forum do their surfing at work.

I don't have Internet access where I work, but spend my whole work day in front of a computer anyway, except for time spent sitting in meetings. To counter the horrid effects of all that sitting, I work out before work, take a long walk at lunch time, and fortunately my building complex is quite large, so walking back and forth to meetings can add up to a mile or more a day. (As measured by pedometer!)

Long plane trips are the worst. One can almost feel one's vitality draining away.

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Originally Posted by haha View Post
It's hard for me to understand how anyone other than a nursing home occupant could find 7 hours a day to watch tv. Workers-9 hours working, 1-1.5 hours commuting, 1hour meal prep, 1 hour cleanup and house chores, 1+ hours eating not at work, 8 hours sleeping, 1 hour personal hygiene, 1 hour shopping and food marketing, 1 hour work related home duties, helping kids with homework, etc-, 1/2 hr average PTA, civic responsibilities etc, 1/2 hour social life, 10.3 minutes making love or whatever needs one has in that area, so I get almost 26 hours and no one has played ball with their kids, or taken them to a soccer practice, or read a book, or engaged ina hobby, or gone out to dinner or for apizza with the kids, or made love longer than 10.3 minutes? These people must be in a hursing home. Except even people in a nursing home might spend mrore time messing around than that

Ha
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Old 04-28-2012, 05:11 PM   #13
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It's hard for me to understand how anyone other than a nursing home occupant could find 7 hours a day to watch tv.
Ha
I agree, ha. I don't think I could watch tv for more than an hour per day, and even that much drives me crazy (mostly the repetitive, dumb commercials, but I also just get restless after sitting that long). The only time I ever sit in front of the tv for longer than that is to watch a movie, and that's not very often.

I try to get up and move around frequently. My dog needs to be walked twice a day (he reminds me, if I forget), and that is a good thing for both of us. When I'm on the computer, I almost always get up and move around at least every 20 minutes or so.....even just to walk around the house a bit. I have a big garden, so I'm out there doing something on a regular basis also.

I have/had a few friends who regularly sit for hours and hours at a time (some watch tv, others spend that long reading/writing). It does seem like their health has declined faster than other friends who are more active.
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Old 04-28-2012, 08:10 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by haha View Post
It's hard for me to understand how anyone other than a nursing home occupant could find 7 hours a day to watch tv. Workers-9 hours working, 1-1.5 hours commuting, 1hour meal prep, 1 hour cleanup and house chores, 1+ hours eating not at work, 8 hours sleeping, 1 hour personal hygiene, 1 hour shopping and food marketing, 1 hour work related home duties, helping kids with homework, etc-, 1/2 hr average PTA, civic responsibilities etc, 1/2 hour social life, 10.3 minutes making love or whatever needs one has in that area, so I get almost 26 hours and no one has played ball with their kids, or taken them to a soccer practice, or read a book, or engaged ina hobby, or gone out to dinner or for apizza with the kids, or made love longer than 10.3 minutes? These people must be in a hursing home. Except even people in a nursing home might spend mrore time messing around than that

Ha
Here is my more cynical estimate for someone who watches this much TV:

Sleeping 6.5 hrs
Meal Prep (TV Dinners+microwave popcorn or take-out, prepared foods, breakfast & lunch is at McDonalds): 15 minutes
Eating (Done in front of the TV): 45 minutes
Work and commute: 9 hours
Social life: 0
Helping kids with homework: 0
Household chores: 15 minutes (that's the housecleaner's job)
Personal Hygiene: 15 minutes
Making Love: 1 minute, 37 seconds

This leaves almost 8 hours for TV (Remember, they watch TV during dinner).
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Old 04-28-2012, 10:36 PM   #15
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My back actually starts hurting and I feel uncomfortable after sitting for an hour or two. I wish social graces didn't prevent one from suddenly standing up in the middle of dinner and saying "my back hurts; I'll just stand up for a while while you all continue to sit. I'll still talk with everyone. Okay?"

I stand about 2/3rds of the time at work at my adjustable desk. If I'm on a diet or sleep-deprived, I find it much harder to keep up that proportion; but otherwise, I actually feel it is MORE comfortable for me than sitting all day like my co-workers. If someone forced me to sit all day at work I would consider it a form of torture, not a generous indulgence.
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Old 04-29-2012, 12:27 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
I agree that sitting a lot is probably bad. Sometimes I think that the main benefit of long (4+ hours) bike rides is that they simply eliminate more sitting time.

But here's my broken-record comment on the 250,000 subject study. The implication is:

Sitting More Causes You to be Unhealthy

but it is just as easily be interpreted as

Being Unhealthy Causes You to Sit More

IOW, the study says nothing about what causes what.


Hey, these studies can't be sensationalized is you start applying logic and reason (or actually read them). Knock it off!
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Old 04-29-2012, 12:34 PM   #17
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I'm glad you brought this up MichaelB, as it's been on my mind recently. I spend a great deal of time at home sitting at my desk on my ham radio and computer. I don't like sitting for long periods, and often get up to walk around, fix coffee, check the mail - any excuse to get up and walk around.

After you posted this, I remembered how, for the majority of my working life, my desks and workbenches were at standing height. A high stool was provided, but often I stood up to work. I loved it, as I could move around the room much more easily. It just felt a lot healthier overall. So now you have me thinking about a high workbench at home, a standing desk, or something similar. The Victorians were onto something. I believe they were quite popular in the 19th century:

Standing Desk: Its Benefits and History | The Art of Manliness
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Old 04-29-2012, 01:07 PM   #18
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I'm glad you brought this up MichaelB, as it's been on my mind recently. I spend a great deal of time at home sitting at my desk on my ham radio and computer. I don't like sitting for long periods, and often get up to walk around, fix coffee, check the mail - any excuse to get up and walk around.

After you posted this, I remembered how, for the majority of my working life, my desks and workbenches were at standing height. A high stool was provided, but often I stood up to work. I loved it, as I could move around the room much more easily. It just felt a lot healthier overall. So now you have me thinking about a high workbench at home, a standing desk, or something similar. The Victorians were onto something. I believe they were quite popular in the 19th century:

Standing Desk: Its Benefits and History | The Art of Manliness
Very intersting article! Thanks for posting it. Also, cool site.

I have been wanting a stand-up desk for some time, but I haven't been able to find one that I can look at, check for height, etc., and I haven't seen one on Craig's list. The ironing board brought me memories. I used an ironing board for about a year, between having my back hurt in a wreck and briefly moving in with my ex while I hunted for an apartment in town. I really liked it, but don't want to create an eyesore right in the middle of my front room, which is where I have my setup. Something else that may work almost as well is sitting on a partially inflated exercise ball. If I used a laptop I could use it at the bar between my kitchen and the lr, but so far I like a PC better. So I'll come up with something soon. I have my TV and my computer and my audio equipment in one corner, from where I can see both screens, stream to the TV or use it as a second monitor, look out the windows to west or north, easily reach the kitchen if I am cooking. I just need to fit a stand-up desk into this system.

Ha
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Old 04-29-2012, 01:28 PM   #19
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When I was working, I used to stand all day at my lab bench and very rarely used my desk (the computer was set on the bench too, so I used it while standing). Now that I am retired, I still spend little time sitting at my desk (I am not used to it I guess). I have a very comfortable desk chair but I can't remain seated for too long.
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Old 04-29-2012, 02:11 PM   #20
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I spent 8 years doing only computer programming (age 21-29) and then 18 years (age 30-48) doing all sorts of technical tasks on a computer and thankfully got to stand up and move around when I w*rked in and managed an optics laboratory.
The less time I was allowed to be in the lab (standing and moving), the more my upper body began to hurt. At first it was aching in a few spots, then it progressed to mild pain, then to chronic medium pain all over.
Add in carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, DeQuervain's stenosing something-or-other, deep muscle knots in the scapular region of my back, neck strain, etc etc. It was not a fun time to be me.
In other words, I was the poster child for Repetitivie Strain Injury, as a result of holding static positions while under mental stress at the computer for hours on end.
I did physical therapy, I did stretches, I walked around the building, I changed my desktop ergonomics...but every bit of progress got erased by yet more time in the chair.
The good news...five years after FIRE, these upper body issues have been almost completely resolved. I am moving more, I am exercising, I feel fabulous. I still get a few problems, but getting up and moving straightens them right out.
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