Rise-up Couch Potato!

CatCouchI never worry about action, but only inaction.” Winston Churchill

The Nov 2014 issue of Scientific American published information that could lengthen and improve your life.  An article called “Killer Chairs,”  by endocrinologist, James Levine, presents research to show that sitters have a 50 percent greater likelihood of dying.  If you want to live a healthier and longer life, stand up!

The article explains how eighteen studies over 16 years, covering 800,000 people, revealed that Americans sit for 13 hours on average every day.  People who sat for more than 4 hours per day while watching television had a 46% increase in deaths from any cause compared to people who sat in front of the TV for less than two hours.  Researchers determined that sitting for more than half the day doubles the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular problems.

Levine comments, “Those in agricultural communities sit for only 3 hours a day, whereas office workers can sit for 15 hours a day.” In contrast he points out how, “Agricultural work burns 2,000 calories more a day than many office jobs.”  He suggests breaking free of “chair-based isolation” in the office by standing or walking, instead of sitting.

The article goes on to describe a number of solutions including how: “A firm in Iowa discouraged workers from sending e-mail to their colleagues nearby by creating e-mail-free work zones“;  Cell phones allow us to walk while talking;  A variety of popular activity-sensing gadgets are readily available to measure how often people move;  New video games encourage physical competitions.  The list goes on.

Levine envisions shifting from a motionless world to re-imagined cities that encourage movement, and discourage car-based travel.  He reminds us of the many benefits of activity which include better health, improved air quality, lower medical expenses, and increased cost savings in general.

 Perhaps it’s time for us couch potatoes to rise-up and get off that killer couch!