I heard the phrase ‘sitting is the new smoking’ for the first time at my morning exercise class at the gym this week. Our instructor said we should never sit for longer than 10 minutes at a time. Smoking a cigarette takes 11 minutes off your life. Sitting for an hour watching television can reduce your life by 22 minutes. It’s twice as bad as smoking. One of my gym classmates said at her office employees have desks that give them the option of standing while they are working.
Last weekend my son was telling me about a workshop he conducted where he had pairs of participants go for a walk outside instead of sitting inside, as they were discussing an assigned topic. Many reported that the physical activity had enhanced the discussion.
We worked in Hong Kong for six years and people were in much better shape there than in North America. We were in much better shape too while we were living there and I wonder if it was because we did so much more standing. Trains and buses were so crowded we often stood on them. We stood in line waiting for cabs, to use the library, to get on the ferry and use the bank. Even public toilets weren’t designed for sitting but standing or squatting.
It makes me wonder if in the future……….
school classrooms won’t have chairs and children will stand to learn
we will stand in theatres when we are watching movies
churches will get rid of their pews and we will stand to worship
highways will be dotted with special stations where we can get out and exercise and flex our muscles every 50 kilometers or so
bars and restaurants will offer lots more of those high tables so we can stand while we eat and drink