05 November 2010

The Washington Post on standing. And revolution?

Mark Ramirez, a senior executive at AOL, does it. "It feels more natural. I wouldn't go back to sitting."

Kate Kirkpatrick, an executive at Gensler, does it. "I don't get that need-to-take-a-nap feeling in the middle of the day anymore. My body feels more healthy. More alert. The tightness you get in your neck from sitting all day, that's gone, too. I'm just more comfortable now."

Accountants do it. Programmers, bureaucrats, telemarketers do it. Even former defense secretary Donald Rumsfield does it.

Do what, you ask?
Stand. And they love it.

Just when I thought I was reading an article about people who used to be confined to wheelchairs but are now standing, I realized that the article was about standing, at work. It was an article about a new elevated desk and the company that makes them, GeekDesk. Yes, you too can stand at work with a new $800 desk which is elevated using electric motors.

You can,  if you can stand.

But as I was about to move on to the next article, I decided to keep reading, and I'm happy I did. I found some really interesting reasons why getting out of my chair is so important. I may even have found some insight on how to accomplish this.

James Levine, an endocrinologist at the famous Mayo Clinic and the author of "Your Chair: Comfortable but Deadly", gives us more details that back up his claim that, "we were built to stand."

  • When we sit, important biological functions take a nap.
  • An enzyme that vacuums dangerous fat out of the bloodstream works properly only when the body is upright.
  • Standing prevents heart disease, burns calories, increases the way insulin lowers glucose, and produces good cholesterol.
So I did learn why sitting all day is, what a leading researcher on inactivity Marc Hamilton calls it, hazardous and dangerous. Hamilton even goes so far as to call the sitting problem, "the new smoking". 

I've joked that if I stand again (no, not if, when I stand again) I'll even throw away all the chairs in my house. But how do I get out of my chair? That's the important point.

It wasn't until I got to the last sentence of the final paragraph that James Levine, like a new Lenin, gave the answer on how we'll all be able to get out of our chairs. 

"Sitters of the world unite. It is time to rise up now."

All quotes are from the 17 October 2010 edition of the Washington Post article, "Those with a desk job, please stand up"

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