Popular culture’s black-hat villain smoking a cigarette was also probably sitting down.
If you haven’t already heard, you’re about to be enlightened: “Sitting is the new smoking.”
That declaration comes from Dr. James Levine, director of the Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative and inventor of the treadmill desk, and it’s echoed by all kinds of experts. So much so that Better Homes & Gardens’ suggested New Year’s resolution to not sit so much be realized with a get-up timer (who knew people made such resolutions? Better Homes & Gardens, that’s who).
Yes, we live in a world where we buy automatic dishwashers and riding lawn mowers and then we invest in health club memberships to get more exercise. And now we have to be reminded to stand up because sitting too much will kill us. Click here for all the ways sitting too much is shortening your life but here’s the Cliff Notes version: Cancer, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, depression and more.
I looked down on so-called chronic sitters because, I thought, I stand up plenty. I won’t be one of Pixar’s blobby “Wall-E” humans watching TV from dawn to dusk and moving with a hover-round, no sirree! I own a two-story house, which forces me to take the stairs regularly. My laundry room is not on the same floor as the bedroom closets. I run a couple times a week. I walk the dog, goll darnit! We don’t even own a riding lawn mower!
But it turns out my arrogant I-don’t-sit-too-much attitude was based in fiction.
I’m too sedentary, too.
According to the folks who know, we should be getting out of our seats at least once an hour. I got an iWatch for my birthday, and one of the functions automatically loaded on the watch is the Apple Activity app, which dutifully reminds me to stand up once an hour by gently tapping my wrist and then it records my results (it also records how many calories I burn a day by moving and how many minutes a day I exercise).
Since Dec. 23, I’ve achieved the goal to stand at least once an hour 12 times a day exactly six days. That’s six out of 27 days or less than 25 percent of the time.
What an eye-opener.
Well, the good news is that now I have a standard to beat. The competitor in me can reach (quite literally) for better stats.
And even if you don’t have an iWatch, you can download the Stand Up! app on iTunes and Google Play for the daily reminders, minus the gentle wrist tap. You have Better Homes & Gardens to thank for that tip.