A Chair for your Derrière? Take a Stand!

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Do you sit too much?

In an editorial published in the January 2010 publication of the British Journal of Sports Medicine, Elin Ekblom-Bak of the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences said that authorities need to highlight the dangers of sitting. “After four hours of sitting, the body starts to send harmful signals because the genes that regulate the amount of glucose and fat in the body start to shut down.”

Tim Armstrong, a physical activity expert at the World Health Organization said that people who exercise every day—but still spend a lot of time sitting—might get more benefit if that exercise were spread across the day, rather than in a single session.

A new Australian study by Melbourne-based Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, in conjunction with health insurer Medibank Private, has alarming findings about the simple act of sitting down: It’s dangerous, particularly at work and watching TV.

The study was published in the American Heart Association Rapid Access Journal Report in January of this year. They said that the theory of sedentary lifestyle being bad for you isn’t new, but that the findings in this study are alarming.

Australian researchers tracked the lifestyle habits of 8,800 adults and found that each hour spent in front of the television daily was associated with:

An 11 percent increased risk of death from all causes.

A 9 percent increased risk of cancer death.

An 18 percent increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD)-related death.

Compared with people who watched less than two hours of television daily, those who watched more than four hours a day had a 46 percent higher risk of death from all causes and an 80 percent increased risk for CVD-related death.

This association held regardless of other independent and common cardiovascular disease risk factors, including smoking, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, unhealthy diet, excessive waist circumference, and leisure-time exercises.

Len stands—all day. There are stand-up desks. And there are pub tables. As you can see in the final photo, Len’s preference is the latter. A good choice, as he burns an extra several hundred calories per day just by taking a stand!

If you’d like to find out how many calories you burn per day doing certain activities—including standing—simply follow this LINK to the AOL Health page and use their “Calories Burned” feature.

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan

Copyright © 2010 Laurie Buchanan — All Rights Reserved. 

25 thoughts on “A Chair for your Derrière? Take a Stand!

  1. Hi Laurie,

    Good read and makes me think that we need to get educated about healthy standing (posture, feet, shoes, legs, foundation) so that it is joyful and not a chore that makes us think about taking the load off.

    “Standing by”,

  2. Laurie,

    For powerful information that I have not read or seen before. Once upon a time I stood more than I sat, but these days sitting is a way of life in some ways. Yet as I see from Lens choice, we all have choices.
    Of course my sitting is broken by walking the dogs through the woods three four times a day for at least 20 mins, or more, depending on weather and photographic opportunities.
    Usually I still don’t mind standing, or walking about when doing things, I can go to a concert to photograph and stand and move about for the 1 1/2 or so that the performance on going. Or a Photography walk around the city or other sites.
    So I guess I don’t sit as much as I think!

    I am Love, Jeff

    • Jeff – After you’ve talked it out, it looks like you really don’t sit as much as you thought. Whoohoo! (Thank heaven for dogs … they get us up and out on a regular basis, whether we like it, or not).

  3. Hi, Laurie, I find that I do more sitting than I consider necessary or helpful these days. I have nearly always been a full-steam ahead type person and I truly believe that sitting has made me grouchy, irritable, and lazy. As a florist and and design consultant, I found sitting to be confining and unproductive. Moving seems to push your adrenalin and energy forward while sitting limits visual and mental viewpoints. You know I have been looking for a new chair for my drafting table, perhaps I should just sit on the floor instead when I need a break, it should only take a minute or two to become bored examining the the underpinnings of the table and the cobwebs lacing them together. Then, “POP”! Up I would come, to get back to work!

    • Sandi – Your comment about sitting on the floor and examing the underside of the table made me laugh. I’ve seen over in the Gaia Community that you did, after all, find the perfect chair, and at a bargain, to boot!

  4. Oh boy did you catch me on this one!!!
    Because I feel like we have all joined into a very close group here due to your reaching out and blogging, I also read everyone else’s blogs as well. So I’m thinking this is a safe place for me to let you know what’s happening with me.
    I have been nursing an injury for about a year and during that time have done nothing but sit,sit,sit. I’m better now and ready to move.
    It caught up with me big time.
    My lab tests came back and I am now pre-diabetic, pre-cholesterol, insulin resistant/ metabolic syndrome, hypertension, thyroid. oh and about 75lbs overweight.
    I am now seeing a nutrientist and reading Dr Weil “Ultimate Health, 8 week program” I also went to a holistic Dr. who did my blood workup and he found yeast and fungus in my plasma and irregular red blood cells. For the most part they all came up with the same diagnose, and that made me feel good.
    That’s it, that was last week.
    This week I’m going in for a second image on my left breast.
    All this could have been missed if I exercised everyday, just a little something each day.
    of course better eating habits are equally important and breathing correctly.
    So you see, everything you have brought up to us in your Energy Med. 101 has been useful and timely for me.
    Yes, stop sitting around that’s good advice.

    • Jean, just a word, I was hospitalized for heart attack-failure at the end of April, my busiest season in the year except Christmas. I went straight back to work the next week ( Mother’s Day was looming) and did myself no favors whatsoever. I had no reserves on hand and so depleted what little energy I had left. I became terribly fatigued, quit cooking and eating for the most part, and to be honest, just didn’t give a big rat’s rear-end. I discovered that I had once again defined myself by what I “did”. When I had small children I was a “Mom”, when I was married I was a “wife” , on the job I am a garden designer-florist. So now that I have drastically reduced the hours I spent working, I am once again looking for my “title”. I read that newly retired people sometimes have a problem with no longer having a job description and quite frankly, have lost the focus of their days. So they are reminded, “you are not what you did, you are who you are, don’t lose sight of the Original.” So as I rest and heal, I’m trying a new perspective, much like I try on hats, I will just be Sandi for a while and see how that fits. And Sandi now needs to get up and move around a bit more before she rusts.

      • Sandi,
        Thank you for your words. You have been through a lot.
        Its hard to remember to just be who you are and know that thats enough.
        It sounds like you are now listening to your body and doing what is good for yourself.
        Just a quick note, the second image on my breast ended up not being anything to worry about.

  5. I must confess to spending many hours in a chair, and have done most of my life. For the last 25 years Apart from tramping holidays and days on the golf course, I would probably have averaged 12 hours a day in a chair – some days 23 1/2hrs.

    For the last year I have my zero gravity chair, which is luxurious.
    I now have a little application that reminds me to get up and stretch and move every hour.

    • Ted – It’s just after 1:00 in the morning for you on Wednesday, as I type this reply at just after 9:00 in the morning for me on Tuesday. Yowza! — I’m sure glad I’m not your buns, that’s an awful lot of sitting. I used to have a Lafuma zero gravity chair from France. Unfortunately, the weight of one of my extremely heavy clients (400+ pounds) broke it. After that, I switched to a “boss” table with a wedge-system that can handle 600 pounds of working weight. I like the sound of your application that reminds you to get up and stretch — that’s a great idea!

  6. I love the ball!!!!

    Is that a new kind of therapy or do you need an adjustment after that!

    I too do my fair share of sitting, modtly at my des at work or in the car…..Love getting out to walk the dog…..Enjoy it very much…….

    Take care and let me know when you have a chair sale…..


    • Kim – We had fun setting that shot up. We finally had to put the dogs outside because they wanted to be in on it too (Mom’s on the floor — let’s lick her to death).

      We didn’t ride this morning. However, we just returned from a wonderful adventure scouting for a potential ride down along the Fox River, heading toward the Elgin area. Now that we’ve got it fairly well scoped out, it’s a ride we’ll do in the near future.

  7. Laurie I never knew about the importance of standing… I just happen to have a hard time sitting still.

    Watching a movie with me is always good for at least three breaks… to run to the washroom, get a glass of water or fetch my sweater.

    Even reading I am hanging off the chair, couch or bed in strange angles. My computer chair is a ball chair. I used to just have just the ball but when it was warn out I never found another one I liked to replace it. I paint standing up… and photography is kind of like tai chai or yoga because your are always stretching down into odd positions to get that perfect shot.

    The most overwhelming sense of too much setting is when I have been on flights that are more than an hour long. So hard to do!

    But I never realized that my body was telling me what it needed to do to stay healthy. I always thought I was just frigidity and easily distracted… well maybe that too:)

    • Terrill – I’m pretty darned confident that you’re not figidity and/or easily distracted. You’re just listening to your body’s own good medicine. I grew up being called a “wiggle wart” because I was (and still am) always on the move. I have a lot of energy and need a way to expend it — sitting is NOT the best way to accomplish that. I like enjoyed the way you describe photography as being similar to tai chi or yoga. I never thought of it like that, but I can see it clearly now. Excellent word picture!

  8. Hi, Laurie — in my office at work, I have a small freestanding podium so I can stand when I need to review documents. A chiropractor recommended that I stand more often when my hips started giving me trouble a couple of years ago. Evidently, women’s hips especially start to collapse inward when they sit too long too often.

    • Barbara – A few weeks ago when I had a breast thermogram the technician used a freestanding podium to type her notes — it was small and I liked it alot because it wouldn’t allow anyone to accumulate any clutter or create a mess. Very streamlined and efficient.

  9. Pingback: Squishy Buns – My Favorite Writing Tool « Speaking from the Heart

  10. Who knew that reading your blog would be so good for one’s tush? Between squishy buns and this, you are definitely an asset to those of us who spend way too much time on uncomfortable seats 🙂

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