I sit a lot. Most days, I sit at my computer between 4 and 5 1/2 hours, writing, researching, and taking care of business. I also sit in my day job, whether it’s office work, driving, or in the clients’ homes. I sit to knit; I sit to sew; I sometimes sit to read, though since I often read the last thing before going to sleep, I also recline to read.
There is a new study out of Australia that says sitting is bad, period. [Here's a link to the abstract. The full article is available as pay-per-read.]
For over 6 years the researchers followed the daily television viewing habits of 8,800 adults as part of the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study. They weren’t looking for the effects of television, but for the effects of sitting.
Bottom line: every 1 hour per day spent sitting in front of a television pushed the cardiovascular death rate up.
So maybe people who were already in poor health or who were old spent more time in front of the TV because they didn’t feel well enough to do anything else? Nope, the study participants were healthy. Some of them were as young as 25 years old at the start of the study.
People eat, drink, and smoke while watching television. Maybe it was the high salt/high fat snack foods, the beer, and the cigarettes that accounted for the difference. Sorry, when those factors were adjusted for, as were age, sex, waist circumference and exercise, the numbers stayed the same.
Human beings evolved an upright posture in order to stand, to walk, to run, but not to sit for long periods.
So if I’m already working on all of that other good stuff: healthy diet, regular exercise, stress reduction, etc., what am I going to do about sitting. Can I write and run a business standing up?
I had an acquaintance who did run his business standing up. He had a bad back and couldn’t sit, so he had a desk made that allowed him to work in a standing position. I don’t think I’m quite ready for that.
I’m also not the kind of person who can dictate my next book as I jog down the sidewalk.
I had a brief thought of taping a laptop to a treadmill and running while I typed, but no, I don’t think so.
The only thing I’ve come up with so far is the simple recommendation that’s been around at least since I took typing. We won’t go into how many decades ago that was. Even back then the typing instructor made us get up and walk around the classroom after 50 minutes of typing. I don’t know if 50 minutes sitting and 10 minutes standing will do any good, but at least that’s where I think I can start.
So put on your thinking caps. How do we reduce sitting and still write? All suggestions welcome, none are too outlandish to consider. Lets invent a way out of the sitting trap.
For the quote of the week, this week, I am quoting myself:
Writing is a marathon. Warm up, write, cool down. Eat right. Drinks water. Exercise for stamina, balance, and staying power. Stand up and be counted!
~Sharon Wildwind, mystery writer
P.S. Back at the beginning of December I posted a blog about all the art work I'd done in November. Included was a very sad- looking photo of an attempt to create an alternative out-box out of paper mache. I persevered and succeeded, though not with paper-mache. I used art board, ink, and acrylic paints instead. Here it is. It's an homage to all of us who always seem to be right up against a deadline. Oh, yes, and I did it standing at my art table. I'm giving myself bonus points for that.