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The headline of the article in my copy of the DNA newspaper for May 29 was crisp. It said it in a manner that left no scope for doubt. ” If you want to live longer, get off your butt.” I read this article and was struck by the quote attributed to Dr. Anup Kanodia of the Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Centre. Dr. Kanodia says, ” Sitting is the new smoking.”

I went on to read the original article in the LA Times. It mentions:

  • A study published in the journal Diabetologia in November 2012 analyzed the results of 18 studies with a total of nearly 800,000 participants. When comparing people who spent the most time sitting with those who spent the least time, researchers found increases in the risks of diabetes (112%), cardiovascular events (147%), death from cardiovascular causes (90%) and death from all causes (49%).
  • As evidence, he ( Dr. Kanodia) cites an Australian study published in October 2012 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine that compared the two pastimes. Every hour of TV that people watch, presumably while sitting, cuts about 22 minutes from their life span, the study’s authors calculated. By contrast, it’s estimated that smokers shorten their lives by about 11 minutes per cigarette.

I am no longer working in an office and haven’t been for quite sometime. But yes, this has come as a wake up call to me as I sit for long periods of time being an author. I do all my writing work banging away at the keyboard ( as I do now) in a sitting posture.

Based on what I read, this is what I plan to do:

  • Walk around even it is for a few minutes after every 25-30 minutes. I shall avoid working for long stretches. If required, I might fix an on-line alarm which tells me that I have been sitting for 30 minutes at a stretch.
  • Sit to write more frequently in a day for shorter periods of time rather than  sit for too long a couple of times per day.

This has come in time for me, as it might for you. Remember what Dr. Kanodia says,” Sitting is the new smoking.” By co-incidence, today happens to be World No Tobacco Day. See this from the World Health Organization on the dangers of tobacco.

I got out of the smoking trap on July 4, 2003 after having been a smoker for more than 35 years. I don’t want now to fall into the sitting trap.