Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Sitting So Much Is Shortening Your Life. So Get Off Your Ass?

Posted By on Wed, Oct 17, 2012 at 1:54 PM

The Simpsons seem to be doing just fine health-wise in spite of all the times they spend on thier asses.
  • The Simpsons seem to be doing just fine health-wise in spite of all the times they spend on thier asses.

I guess? I mean, I don't know how important a really long life is to you. Personally, I tend to change my mind a lot on that topic, but I guess I wouldn't want to do anything out of the way to promote an early death for myself. Like sitting apparently. Sitting is now one of those things that's really bad for you. Like not sleeping enough or smoking or heavy drinking or bath salts or reading Donald Trump's tweets. Sitting will also hasten your untimely demise. I mean, in fairness, reading Donald Trump's tweets will only make you want to end your own life as quickly as possible, but you get the picture.

The New York Times reported on two new studies that demonstrate how dangerous it is for your longevity to spend too much time sitting. One study correlates the act of sitting and watching tv with life expectancy and the results are pretty dismal. Apparently, "every single hour of television watched after the age of 25 reduces the viewer’s life expectancy by 21.8 minutes." But what does that mean long-term? How much of my life am I wasting? Well, this means that "an adult who spends an average of six hours a day watching TV over the course of a lifetime can expect to live 4.8 years fewer than a person who does not watch TV."

Well, you might be smugly saying to yourself as I did, I barely watch any TV, I don't even watch 6 hours a week, let alone 6 hours a day. Guess what? It doesn't matter. Because you're probably still sitting on your ass in front of a computer. I am anyway. And for a hell of a lot longer than 6 hours a day. So, I guess I'm scheduled to die right about now.

Can you avoid this fate? Sort of! The studies showed that exercise is not enough when you're such a lazy couch potato, but that exercise in conjunction with just not watching as much TV helps a lot. Dr. Emma Wilmot, "a research fellow at the University of Leicester in England" had this advice for people looking to get healthy and love longer or whatever: "[L]ook to the rest of your day...[put] the garbage bin on the other side of the office, [stand] during coffee breaks and telephone calls, [have] standing meetings, [stand] on the bus.”

Or just accept the fact that we're all going to die anyway and put your feet up and enjoy Season Two of "Homeland." That might just be the choice I choose. I'll choose my choice all right. I'll choose it well.

Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen

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Kristin Iversen

Kristin Iversen

Bio:
Kristin Iversen is the Managing Editor at Brooklyn Magazine and the L Magazine. She has been described as "a hipster buzzword made flesh." This seems pretty accurate.

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